Weekly Legislative Roundup

With NSA news dominating privacy discussion in the mainstream media, it may be that a number of legislative developments flew under the radar this week. Make sure to read through last week’s Tracker updates on Rhode Island efforts to loosen patient confidentiality, California efforts to ban “revenge porn” and an Oregon bill that would bar law enforcement from using drones without a warrant.

Speaking of Oregon, HB 2386 A, “Relating to radio frequency identification devices; and declaring an emergency,” is currently awaiting Governor John Kitzhaber’s signature. The law, if signed, would require students or parents of students to be notified if RFID devices are to be used to track students in any way. Further, the law would allow students or parents of students to opt out of wearing or carrying any item using RFID technology.

The State Board of Education is tasked by the law to create standards for all local school boards that incorporate these mandates. No school district may employ the use of RFID technology without notifying the State Board first, until the standards are in place.

Will ACLU suit break new legal ground

According to a Politico article this week, the ACLU’s lawsuit targeting government surveillance programs, as revealed by The Guardian and other outlets over the past two weeks, is “aimed at the Supreme Court, where it would pose a challenge to a 1979 ruling that found no expectation of privacy when sharing information with a third party and would build on some of the doubts the court expressed in 2012 about that decision’s relevance in the current technological era.”

While more than one expert weighs in with doubts about the chances of the ACLU actually winning the suit, they also note that the discovery process in the case could bring to light documents that “could force the high court to reevaluate its interpretations of privacy law.”