Utah legislators voted unanimously to pass landmark legislation in support of a new privacy law that will protect private electronic data stored with third parties like Google or Facebook from free-range government access.
The bill stipulates that law enforcement will be required to obtain a warrant before accessing “certain electronic information or data.” There are legal exceptions to the warrant requirement in the bill— emergency situations or data which appear to be involved with committing a felony or certain misdemeanors.
Even in its current form the bill is a significant step away from the prevalent “third-party doctrine,” under which if you voluntarily provide information to a third party, the Fourth Amendment does not preclude the government from accessing it without a warrant. The bipartisan bill is expected to go to Governor Gary Herbert’s desk for final approval next week.
The US government’s ability to access information stored by third parties without strong limitations has been a point of contention in discussions with EU regulators in the context of the EU GDPR and cross border transfers.
Details from Wired magazine.