A proposed house bill would require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant to use any device that intercepts communication from wireless devices. This includes: cell phones, tablets and laptops. Currently, it is against the law to gather wired communication such as landlines without a warrant.
The Special Committee on Homeland Security held a public hearing on the bill Thursday morning.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Keith Frederick, R-Rolla, also sets up parameters as to how wireless communication can be gathered. This includes the requirement to delete data gathered from any party not specified in a warrant.
Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Washington, expressed his support for the bill.
"There’s all kinds of innovation in the military and law enforcement and sometimes that innovation is used to go further than what previously courts, the public or the legislature knew was even available,” Curtman said.
A majority of the discussion was spent on one specific line that provides an exception to the law, if officials receive consent from the “owner or possessor” of the device. The committee recommended removing the word possessor, since it gives a less clear definition of who Is authorized to hand over a device.
The same bill was introduced last year and passed the Senate, but was not passed in time before the session ended.