These three articles caught my eye this week:
1. New bill in Lansing would allow police to obtain your cell phone location without a warrant
2. Michigan State Police want to use drones...but only for emergencies
3. The feds have a database and are tracking millions of vehicles, including Michigan vehicles, via "federal, state and local" license plate readers
The first article talks about a bill reintroduced by Rep. Kurt Heise. It would force cell phone companies to give law enforcement the location of a cell phone without a warrant in so-called emergencies. Who gets to define when an emergency occurs? The law enforcement agency. And the penalties for misuse - none. And as one legislator mentioned on a Facebook post of mine this week, "It is completely unnecessary, since the phone companies, after the unfortunate case of Kelsey whom the law is named for, readily give out this information upon request to law enforcement in emergency situations such as missing or abducted persons."
The second article has the state police wanting to use drones with cameras throughout Michigan...but only for "emergencies". The article indicates that they may be the first state police department in the nation to be given permission by the FAA to use drones throughout its state. Who did the state police NOT go to get permission? From Michigan citizens, via the legislature. As a matter of fact, law enforcement fought my efforts last session in the Michigan House to put reasonable restrictions on the use of government drones - to only allow their use in cases of imminent danger (eg. barricaded gunman...car crashes) and when they have a warrant. It also would have put guidelines for retention of data collected, require reporting and impose penalties for misuse. It did get a hearing by Rep. Heise's committee (and he was even a co-sponsor), but didn't get out of committee. It was clear from meetings I had with law enforcement that they wanted nothing less than unfettered use of drones.