California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) - SB 178
Updated May 2017
CalECPA is under attack. AB 165 rips away CalECPA’s crucial protections for the more than 6 million Californians who work at and attend our public schools. Under the proposed law, anyone acting “for or on the behalf of” a public school—whether that’s the police or school officials—could search through student, teacher, and possibly even parent digital data without any of CalECPA’s safeguards. AB 165 has been halted in the California Assembly for now but the fight to safeguard the protections won under CalECPA is not over.
With executive orders threatening millions of families, it’s more essential than ever that Californians of all ages and backgrounds can communicate and connect safely and privately about issues like immigration, religion, health, sexuality, gender and political and social protest. It is important for Californians to stay alert and make sure our legislators keep California families safe.
The ACLU of California has joined a diverse coalition to make sure legislators protect the privacy and safety of California’s students, teachers, and families and say NO to AB 165.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the landmark California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA, SB 178) went into effect.
CalECPA has been hailed as “the nation’s best privacy law.” Under CalECPA, no California government entity can search our phones and no police officer can search our online accounts without going to a judge, getting our consent, or showing it is an emergency.
A diverse coalition of the state’s leading technology companies, civil rights organizations and law enforcement banded together to push for the swift passage of this commonsense law that protects privacy, promotes innovation and supports public safety.
CalECPA had broad bipartisan support, jointly authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), Principal co-author Assemblymember Gatto (D-Glendale) and co- authored by Senators Canella, Gaines, Hertzberg, Hill, McGuire, Nielsen and Roth and Assemblymembers Chiu, Gordon, Maienschein, Obernolte, Quirk, Ting, and Weber.
CalECPA serves a model for the rest of the nation for updating privacy law for the modern digital world.
Full bill language, polling, fact sheets, and more information about CalECPA can be found in related content below.
A Victory for Digital Privacy: AB 165 Halted in California Assembly (April 14, 2017)
Scholar Support Letter (Sep. 12, 2015)
It's Time to Protect Digital Privacy in California (Feb. 8, 2015)
CalECPA was supported by the state’s leading technology companies and organizations
- Adobe Inc.
- American Civil Liberties Union of California
- American Library Association
- Apple Inc.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ)
- Bay Area Council
- California Newspaper Publishers Association
- California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ)
- California Chamber of Commerce
- California Public Defenders Association
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Center for Media Justice
- Centro Legal de la Raza
- Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform
- Color of Change
- Common Sense Media
- Consumer Action
- Consumer Federation
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Internet Archive
- Legal Services for Prisoners With Children
- Media Alliance
- National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
- National Center for Youth Law
- New America: Open Technology Institute
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
- Restore the 4th
- San Diego Police Officers Association
- Small Business California
- Tech Freedom
- The Internet Association
- The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
CalECPA passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee
CalECPA passed out of the California Senate.