INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Individual privacy and public safety faced off Monday
at an Indiana legislative hearing, as a committee gave its support to an
effort aimed at protecting residents from invasion by surveillance drones,
GPS trackers and unwarranted cellphone searches.
privacy rights have become a public concern following revelations that the
National Security Agency had been routinely monitoring U.S. citizens'
phone records and Internet use.
Committee on Courts and Criminal Procedure voted 6-1 to advance the bill
to the full House.
Rep. Eric Koch
(cook) of Bedford said the measure generally would require police to
obtain search warrants or otherwise justify electronic surveillance
methods, including unmanned aircraft.
Some of the
harshest criticism came for police use of GPS devices to track vehicles.
Critics said police already can track vehicles simply by following them,
but others saw the use of GPS as ripe for abuse.
"You could get to
the point where you're just tracking everyone's car just for the fun of
it," Koch said.
But Rep. Kevin
Mahan, R-Hartford City, questioned the need for regulation if it simply
codified current police procedure, which limits GPS use to investigations,
pressing need like hostage situations or terrorism.
"If it's already
going on currently, why do we need to put it in the bill?" Mahan said.
Rhoads, R-Corydon said putting the guidelines into law might save
investigators lengthy court fights over evidence.
The proposal also
would restrict police officers' extraction of personal data from
cellphones and the placement of cameras or other electronic surveillance
equipment on private property without the owner's consent — in cases where
people want their homes monitored following burglaries or other crimes.
Critics said the
cell phone restriction could complicate enforcement of Indiana's law
against texting while driving, while others said the provision was meant
to prevent fishing expeditions.