HELENA, Mont. (Feb. 7, 2017) – Yesterday, the Montana House passed a bill that would require police to get a warrant in order to obtain electronic communication information from service providers in most cases. Passage of the legislation would not only increase privacy protections in the state, it would also hinder one practical aspect of federal surveillance programs.

Rep. Daniel Zolnikov introduced House Bill 148 (HB148) on Jan. 2. Under the proposed law, a government entity could only require electronic communication service providers to disclose the contents of electronic communications stored, held, or maintained by that service pursuant to a warrant. The law would not prohibit electronic communications providers from voluntarily disclosing information where authorized under law. It would also allow police to obtain electronic communications content subject to a subpoena authorized under the laws of the state.

HB148 defines “contents” as “any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of a communication.”

Evidence obtained in violation of the law would be inadmissible in court, and it could not be used as the basis for obtaining an affidavit, court order, nor a warrant.

The House passed HB148 by a 98-1 vote.

PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION

By making information obtained in violation of the law inadmissible in court, passage of HB148 would effectively stop one practical effect of NSA spying in Montana.

Reuters revealed the extent of such NSA data sharing with state and local law enforcement in an August 2013 article. According to documents obtained by the news agency, the NSA passes information to police through a formerly secret DEA unit known Special Operations Divisions and the cases “rarely involve national security issues.” Almost all of the information involves regular criminal investigations, not terror-related investigations.

After the SOD passes along this information, it then works with state and local law enforcement to “create” an investigation, working backward to obscure the origin of the evidence. For instance, the SOD might instruct local police to obtain a warrant to collect information they already have via information sharing. It creates the illusion that the investigation and prosecution proceeded in a constitutionally permissible way

In other words, not only does the NSA collect and store this data, using it to build profiles, the agency encourages state and local law enforcement to violate the Fourth Amendment by making use of this information in their day-to-day investigations.

This is “the most threatening situation to our constitutional republic since the Civil War,” Binney said.

UP NEXT

HB148 will move to the Senate for further consideration.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

LEARN MORE

01

Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles

02

Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog

03

State of the Nullification Movement

108 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report

01

Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty

02

Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today

TENTHER ESSENTIALS

Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!

JOIN TAC

01

The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment

03

Nullification

Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.

nullification