California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) - SB 178

Author: Senators Mark Leno (D) and Joel Anderson (R)

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Updated April 2018

About CalECPA

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. 

Learn more

A Victory for Digital Privacy: AB 165 Halted in California Assembly (April 14, 2017)

In Landmark Victory for Digital Privacy, Gov. Brown Signs California Electronic Communications Privacy Act into Law (Oct. 8, 2015)

Scholar Support Letter (Sep. 12, 2015)

CA Poll: Voters Concerned About Digital Privacy, Support Efforts to Increase Protections from Warrantless Searches (Sep. 2, 2015)

Tech Industry Stands with Sen. Leno to Modernize Digital Privacy Protections (Feb. 9, 2015)

It's Time to Protect Digital Privacy in California (Feb. 8, 2015)

SB 178 fact sheet

SB 178 bill language

#MySchoolMyRights: Student Cell Phone Privacy


CalECPA was supported by the state’s leading technology companies and organizations

  • Adobe Inc.
  • Airbnb
  • 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
  • ConnectSafely
  • Consumer Action 
  • Consumer Federation
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Dropbox 
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation 
  • Engine
  • Facebook 
  • Foursquare
  • Google
  • Internet Archive
  • Legal Services for Prisoners With Children
  • LinkedIn
  • Media Alliance
  • Microsoft
  • Mozilla
  • NameCheap
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
  • National Center for Youth Law
  • New America: Open Technology Institute 
  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
  • reddit
  • Restore the 4th
  • San Diego Police Officers Association
  • Small Business California
  • Tech Freedom
  • TechNet
  • The Internet Association 
  • The Utility Reform Network (TURN)
  • Twitter



CalECPA passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee


CalECPA passed out of the California Senate.