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Spilka on strengthening privacy rights
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By Rick Holmes
July 8, 2013 11:15 a.m.



In my column Sunday, I tried to provide something of an overview of the race to succeed Ed Markey in the House.  While I know Karen Spilka better than the other four Democrats and one Republican in the race, I plan to give them all a fair hearing.

But speaking of Spilka, she sent me an oped, a bit late for print, but now posted online, about four of the 200 odd bills the Joint Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to plow through at a hearing Tuesday.  Racing through 200 bills at a single sitting is, of course, something of a legislative sham, since the only ones with a prayer of advancing have already been chosen by the leadership.  The rest will probably die unwitnessed, without even a mention in the newspapers.

I hope one of Spilka’s bills won’t fall into the category of unmentioned and unmourned.

The Electronic Privacy Act, written with assistance from the Mass. ACLU, she writes, “requires  law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant before searching cell phone and internet records. Our state has a long and proud history of vigorously defending privacy rights – our personal information should not be subjected to warrantless searches. My bill updates established search warrant procedures for the digital era, ensuring that the government cannot access our electronic personal data without probable cause.”

It’s good to see at least one candidate with her eyes on Washington who is already working to strengthen the 4th Amendment, which has been grievously wounded by technological advances and compromises made in the name of fighting terrorism.

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