AB-165 Suuuucks

Dear Californian Readers,

There’s a sneaky little bill out there which represents yet another attempt by the gov’t / law enforcement / who the hell knows, to invade the privacy of US citizens. And I’m peevish.

By the way, if you’re not from CA or down with politics, please change the channel.

First, lemme give you the backstory.


This law is currently in effect. The California Electronic Communication Privacy Act (CalECPA — Cliff Notes here) ensures that all electronic data, wherever it’s stored, is subject to the same set of common-sense rules, like:

  • Requiring a warrant for criminal investigations (you know, like the 4th Amendment) and have to provide notice when a search is conducted. Duh.
  • Placing limits on retaining, using or disclosing information
  • Allowing individuals and companies/services, which have access to sensitive information, to challenge demands
  • Setting clear guidelines about actions and consequences

Seems reasonable, right? And did I mention that it had bipartisan support, which is no small feat in this climate.


Last month AB-165 was introduced and if passed, will negate part of CalECPA. Fun facts about this new bill:

  • AB 165 would nix CalECPA protections for anyone working “for or on the behalf of” public schools, plus the students
  • Kids and teachers could be subject to invasive searches without recourse and yes, that includes digital devices and communication
  • Kids could be searched without notice to their parents
  • Law enforcement is allowed to conduct criminal investigations without a warrant
  • How about restrictions on appropriate use or disclosure of any information that is obtained? Nope!
  • Because schools don’t have enough problems, they get to deal with irate parents and staff, plus lawyers and judges. OMG. If I was a school principal, I’d be looking for early retirement.
  • And call me a conspiracy nut, but I have to wonder if this bill is a foot in the door toward more unlawful surveillance. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I’m wrong!

Please to Contact your Rep

As Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Damn right, you electrified patriot!

So I’m contacting my representative to ask that this bill never becomes law. If you’d like to follow suit, I put some info together for you:

11th Congressional District — Richmond

Mark DeSaulnier

440 Civic Center Plaza 2nd Floor

Richmond, CA 94804

Phone: (510) 620–1000

12th Congressional District — San Francisco

Nancy Pelosi

90 7th Street

Suite 2–800

San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: (415) 556–4862

13th Congressional District — Oakland & East Bay

Barbara Lee

1301 Clay Street, Ste. 1000-N

Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: (510) 763–0370

14th Congressional District — San Mateo & San Francisco

Jackie Speier

155 Bovet Rd

Suite 780

San Mateo, CA 94402

Phone: (650) 342–0300

15th Congressional District — Castro Valley

Eric Swalwell

3615 Castro Valley Blvd

Castro Valley, CA 94546

Phone: (510) 370–3322

17th Congressional District — Santa Clara County

Ro Khanna

900 Lafayette Street

Suite 206

Santa Clara, CA 95050

Phone: 408–436–2720

18th Congressional District — Palo Alto

Anna Eshoo

698 Emerson Street

Palo Alto, California 94301

Phone: (650) 323–2984

19th Congressional District — San Jose

Zoe Lofgren

635 N 1st St B,

San Jose, CA 95112

Phone: (408) 271–8700

If you made it all the way through this post, my thanks to you. And may the geeks inherit the earth (such as it is!)