One California state senator has a fairly simple idea: what if a city or county government had to affirmatively and publicly approve any acquisition or use of a stingray? A new bill pushing for just that cleared its first committee hurdle in California on Wednesday, as Senate Bill 741 passed the state’s Senate Committee on Governance and Finance by a vote of seven to zero.
SB 741’s language is pretty straightforward, as authored by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo):
No local agency may acquire or use cellular communications interception technology unless approved by its legislative body by adoption of a resolution or ordinance authorizing that acquisition or use.
The legislative body of a local agency shall not approve a resolution or ordinance authorizing the acquisition or use of cellular communications interception technology, unless the resolution or ordinance is adopted at a regularly scheduled public meeting of the legislative body at which members of the public are afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment upon the proposed resolution or ordinance. The resolution or ordinance shall set forth the policies of the local agency as to the circumstances when cellular communications interception technology may be employed, and usage and privacy policies, which shall include, but need not be limited to, how data obtained through use of the technology is to be used, protected from unauthorized disclosure, and disposed of once it is no longer needed.
If the local agency maintains an Internet website, the cellular communications interception technology usage and privacy policies shall be posted conspicuously on that site.
The bill is related to another bit of proposed stingray legislation also in the early stages of the lawmaking process—SB 178 would go so far as to impose a warrant requirement for stingray use.
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