Digital Privacy Protected from Warrantless Access

The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today welcomed news that Governor Jerry Brown had signed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (SB 178) into law marking a landmark victory for privacy and civil rights groups. The bill, introduced by Senators Mark Leno and Joel Anderson, will protect against warrantless government access to mobile devices, sensitive emails, text messages, digital documents, metadata, and location information. It will also provide proper transparency and oversight along with appropriate exceptions for public safety.

SB 178 received bipartisan support from the state legislature and was backed by more than a dozen technology businesses such as Apple, Facebook, and Google along with civil rights groups such as CAIR-CA, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Color of Change. The Governor received over 48,000 signatures and letters from Californians and coalition members calling for the passage of SB 178.

Nearly 500 California Muslims from across the state advocated for SB 178 during CAIR-CA’s annual Muslim Day at the Capitol in April.

“This is an important win for all Californians. SB 178 will ensure that our digital communications are protected from warranted surveillance,” said CAIR-SFBA Government Relations Coordinator Sameena Usman.

Earlier this week, the Governor also signed the Equal Pay Act (SB 358) and the Preventing Racial and Identity Profiling Law (AB 953), which CAIR-CA also advocated for.

“These laws will move California forward, to be a more just and equitable place for all of its residents,” said Usman.