November 28, 2014

Electronic privacy amendment backers say it could have national implications

One of the sponsors of the proposed internet security amendment to the state Constitution says the nation will be watching how Missourians vote on it.

Representative Paul Curtman (picture courtesy, Missouri House of Representatives)

Representative Paul Curtman (picture courtesy, Missouri House of Representatives)

Constitutional Amendment 9 (SJR 27) was passed out of the state legislature, and would extend the protections of the 4th Amendment against unwarranted searches and seizures to electronic communications – things like e-mails, social media posts, texts and call logs from cell phones.

Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) says it represents the first chance for the public to express its feelings about electronic surveillance.

“The government’s use of big data to monitor and record the private digital lives of Americans, I believe it’s a pervasive threat to our freedom,” says Curtman. “We’ve seen this debate brought up ever since (Edward) Snowden came out with his revelations. Regardless what somebody might think about Snowden one thing is for sure … there is definitely a legal question here as to whether the government is violating what Americans believe is a protected right of privacy.”

Edward Snowden is a former federal government computer system administrator who made public details of classified surveillance programs conducted by the U.S. government.

Curtman says federal officials should be paying attention to the outcome of Constitutional Amendment 9.

“If the people of Missouri are concerned enough about this issue that they’re willing to adjust our Constitution to make sure that they further secure their own rights of electronic privacy and communications, the rest of the country should take note of that,” says Curtman.