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    Bipartisan Coalition Works to Increase Privacy Protections

    Press Release

    Rep. Jennifer Williamson

    State  Representative, District 36

    For Immediate Release

    February 16, 2015

    Bipartisan Coalition Proposes Legislation to Increase Privacy Protections in Digital Age

    Salem, Oregon – Senator Chip Shields (D-Portland), Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles), and Representative Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) introduced a package of bills to update Oregon’s lagging privacy laws and bring them in-line with the modern digital age. The bills are the result of a bi-partisan, bi-cameral effort along with the ACLU of Oregon to develop a package of common sense and privacy protection proposals for the 2015 session.

    “As technology and surveillance capabilities advance at whirlwind speeds, laws protecting Oregonians’ right to privacy have failed to keep up,” says David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon.

    “Data that used to take rooms full of file cabinets to store can now be carried around on an ultra slim laptop or pulled down from the cloud on a smart phone,” says Rep. Williamson. “These advances have prompted critical, privacy-related questions that we as lawmakers can no longer afford to ignore.”

    The proposed legislation includes a requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant prior to accessing certain electronic communications and cell phone location information, as well as data stored on a cell phone itself. The coalition reached out to law enforcement groups while creating this legislation and incorporated numerous law enforcement suggestions.

    “The increasing use of mass data collection and surveillance technology poses very real threats to our privacy and constitutional rights,” says Sen. Knopp. “We look forward to working with both law enforcement and privacy advocates to pass legislation that responsibly balances privacy and public safety.”

    Additional proposals would create consistent statewide guidelines for the use of automatic license plate readers by law enforcement and a new legislative oversight committee to track and make recommendations regarding government surveillance technology.

    “State legislatures across the country have either passed or are currently considering legislation to address the collection, aggregation, and dissemination of information about ordinary citizens,” says Sen. Shields. “It is critical that our online activities receive the same protections as our offline activities.”

     

    “Surveillance technology is advancing so quickly that this conversation is already overdue,” says Rep. Huffman. “Along with a broad group of stakeholders, we look forward to addressing this complex, but incredibly important issue during the 2015 session.”

    Links to the privacy bills:

    Senate Bill 639

    Senate Bill 640

    Senate Bill 641

    For more information, contact Rep. Williamson’s office at 503-986-1436 or Rep.JenniferWilliamson@state.or.us

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