NASHVILLE – The State Senate voted on Monday night to prohibit law enforcement officers from searching or seizing a person’s cellular telephone data, unless there is a search warrant, the owner gives informed consent, it is abandoned or exigent circumstances exists to suspect criminal activity at the time of the seizure. Senate Bill 1757, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), would classify cellular telephones as sealed containers and prohibit the search and seizure during a routine traffic stop.
“Searching or seizing a person’s cell phone data without any judicial oversight is a major invasion of the privacy of our citizens,” said Senator Beavers. “This legislation requires a search warrant or consent from the person in possession of the phone, unless there are exigent circumstances.”
No cellular telephone data that is obtained in violation of the proposed law would be allowable in any court of law as evidence. The bill would become effective on July 1, 2014.
“We continue to see government intrusion on our personal rights and freedoms,” added Senator Beavers. “I am very pleased that the Senate has approved the bill.”
The bill now goes back to the House for approval of a Senate amendment before going to the Governor for his signature.