New California privacy laws require search warrants for digital information, Smart TV disclosures, and drone restrictions

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill recently sat down with San Diego's KPBS to discuss new privacy laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown in California.  The video interview is below, and here's a link to the longer form radio interview.  

The new privacy laws discussed include

1) SB 178 - California's Electronic Communications Privacy Act

This law requires government entities including law enforcement get search warrants for a broad variety digital information, including electronic communications and data on devices (including email, data on social media services, and information on cell phones). The law gives California one of the best digital privacy laws in the country.  There are exceptions for emergency circumstances, and social media services can still give out information voluntarily, but the new law provides clarity to both consumers and law enforcement.

2) AB 1116 - Smart TV disclosures for voice recognition features

In the wake of revelations about Samsung TV's that listen to your living room conversations, California is requiring Smart TV manufacturers to 1) clearly disclose any voice recognition features on a Smart TV, and 2) to not sell any voice recordings collected, or to use them for advertising purposes.  The key limitation on this law is that very narrowly focuses on Smart TV manufacturers. It doesn't cover video game consoles, DVR's, and many other types of devices that connect to a TV (ie Google Chromecast, Apple TV, etc).  In addition, any app that you install on the Smart TV that has a voice recognition feature is not covered by this law.   

3) AB 856 Drone invasions of privacy

This new law takes basic physical trespass law and makes sure that it extends to drones that take photos, sound recordings, video, etc. by invading the airspace of someones property.  Traditionally, physically trespassing on someone's property to take photos, sound recordings, video, etc of a personal or private nature is an invasion of privacy.  In addition, using a high powered telephoto lens or other technology from off the property has also been considered an invasion of privacy.  This law makes sure that using drones to take invasive photos, sound recordings, video that are highly personal and private is also a violation of privacy law.

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