Proposed State Laws Throw Road Blocks in Front of NSA Surveillance Efforts

Several states (or at least a handful of state lawmakers) have decided to fight against the federal government's surveillance activities in their own way. In California, two state senators have introduced a bill in Sacramento that would forbid state agencies from cooperating with the National Security Agency to collect "any electronic data or metadata… not based on a warrant." The bill sponsored by state senators Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), is the first state-level proposal to compel non-cooperation with the federal agency.

"The National Security Agency’s massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom," said Lieu, who introduced Senate Bill 828 on the first day of his state's 2014 legislative session.

The bill would also ban corporations that do business with the state from offering such assistance. This is counter to federal anti-terrorism laws that force companies to provide bulk metadata, but this bill could potentially put companies in violation of orders from the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

In an interview with Computerworld, Lieu compared the bill to the Trust Act (which took effect in California on January 1), which prevents state and local law enforcement from complying with federal requests to hold immigrants accused of minor crimes, so that they can be deported. Finally, the bill bans the NSA from opening a facility in the state of California.

Other activities in other states seek to curtail the NSA's powers at the state level – or to at least make it harder for them to conduct business. Activist group The Tenth Amendment Center is backing passage of a model law it calls the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which would bar supplying water to the NSA's $1.5 billion computing center in Bluffdale, Utah. At least one Utah lawmaker has agreed to support the bill, according to a Tenth Amendment Center later this year.

"No water = overheating supercomputers = no data center," notes the Tenth Amendment Center on its website. "Water, electricity, trash collection, road upkeep and the like. None of these could be provided for by any state or local agency."

Conor Boyack, president of the libertarian Libertas Institute, also suggested that Utah residents deny water to the NSA facility in a November 15 column in the Salt Lake City Tribune. Another proposal pushed by the Tenth Amendment Center that would bar the NSA from recruiting at public universities.

Finally in Arizona, state senator Kelli Ward (R-Havasu City) recently told the Arizona Republic newspaper that she will be introducing a bill that contains a no-utilities provisions and the university recruitment provisions when the Arizona legislative session begins on January 13.

Source: Ars Technica

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