Californian governor vetoes privacy law for phone snooping

A Californian governor has decided that his citizens are better off with the police being allowed to know what they are doing every second.

Jerry Brown vetoed SB 1434, an EFF- and ACLU-sponsored bill that would have required law enforcement to apply for a search warrant in order to obtain location tracking information.

After all, it is jolly inconvenient for coppers to have to ask a judge for a warrant to track their former girlfriends to find out who they are seeing now.

Brown actually has a bit of explaining to do. The bill passed through the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. Local newspapers thought it was a good idea and there was a lot of support for it.

As the EFF pointed out, Governor Brown instead decided to sell out privacy rights to law enforcement.

He did the same thing last year, killing a bill that would have required police to obtain a search warrant before searching an arrested individual’s mobile phone incident to arrest.

Brown said he knew that privacy laws needed to be updated, but he was not convinced that this bill strikes the right balance between the operational needs of law enforcement and individual expectations of privacy. In short it would make life too difficult for coppers who may want to track someone quickly.

It might also limit the Californian police’s ability to do contract work finding stolen Apple prototypes in their spare time.

There is some confusion about why Brown feels he needs to butter up the police. While some have hinted that it is something to do with powerful police unions, that does not really cut it. His long political career has been as a financial conservative but liberal in most other areas, so it is not clear how he comes on top by vetoing the bill.