States Enact Privacy, Anti-Drone Laws After Washington Fails to Act


State legislatures, facing public concern about the collection and trade of personal data, have rushed to propose a series of privacy laws, from limiting how schools can collect student data to deciding whether the police need a warrant to track cellphone locations, reports the New York Times. More than two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states as different as Oklahoma and California. News reports of widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency have led to more support for the bills, and some state legislators report feeling compelled to act because of the stalemate in Washington on legislation to strengthen privacy laws.

“Congress is obviously not interested in updating those things or protecting privacy,” said Jonathan Stickland, a Republican state representative in Texas. “If they're not going to do it, states have to do it.” Some bills extend to surveillance beyond the web. Eight states have passed laws this year limiting the use of drones, says the American Civil Liberties Union. Vermont has limited the use of data collected by license plate readers, which are used mostly by police to record images of license plates.

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