Michigan Voters Could Mandate Search Warrant for Electronic Data

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Michigan Voters Could Mandate Search Warrant for Electronic Data

With so much personal information being kept in electronic form, there are increasing concerns about how private that data is. On Election Day, Michigan voters will decide whether state police must get a warrant to access this electronic information.

 

If voters approve Proposal 2, it would add "electronic data" and "electronic communications" to the list of items that the state constitution says can only be searched by police if they get a search warrant. Currently, there is uncertainty about how protected electronic data is from police searches.

 

Both the federal Constitution and the Michigan constitution protect "persons, houses, papers and possessions" from warrantless searches. When written, there were no such things as electronic communications and electronic data. Advocates for this amendment argue that the state constitution needs to be updated to ensure that this constitutional protection is adequate for modern times. Opponents have noted that such protections could make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs. 

 

Both houses of the Michigan legislature voted to place this amendment on the ballot for voters to decide. The votes in each house were unanimous.

 

Do you think that police should get a warrant before accessing someone's electronic communications?

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