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Senate backs privacy protections for Amazon Echo, Google Home

The Senate unanimously supported a bill on Wednesday that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before collecting information stored on devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

The bill (SB 1256) explicitly prohibits the collection of location and communications data stored on electronic communication devices, including cellphones.

Bill sponsor Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, told members on the floor that the bill is an expansion of “Fourth Amendment protections” for devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Language from the bill reads: “The user of a portable electronic communication device has a reasonable and justifiable expectation of privacy in the information that these devices contain.”

Florida Politics reported earlier that Senate President Joe Negron praised the proposal because it addresses “current ambiguities” and protects Floridians from unconstitutional property searches.

The bill exempts the warrant requirement for data that is obtained for business purposes and is not “personally identifiable.” The legislation as a whole has drawn the backing of Facebook.

A similar House version (HB 1249) has not been scheduled for a floor hearing.

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Danny McAuliffe is a journalist for floridapolitics.com

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