End Dragnet Warrants that Trap Innocent New Yorkers

Doing something as common place as searching for something on the internet can put us under suspicion by law enforcement officers using specific types of digital dragnet warrants known as reverse warrants.

To keep police from invading our privacy and going on invasive fishing expeditions, warrants are supposed to be narrowly targeted, specific, and based on probable cause. But reverse location and keyword warrants request the disclosure of multiple people’s private information simply because they were at a particular place during a specific time frame, or because they entered certain keywords into a search engine.

These warrants can’t be targeted or specific because, by definition, they give law enforcement the power to obtain private records about numerous unknown people. They can place hundreds or thousands of unsuspecting and innocent people in the crosshairs of law enforcement, threatening their rights to be free from unreasonable government searches.

Our participation in digital life should not automatically open us up to pervasive police spying. That’s exactly why we must outlaw dragnet warrants.

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The Reverse Location and Reverse Keyword Warrant Ban legislation (A84/S296) is supported by:

Access Now 
Brooklyn Defender Services
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Immigrant Defense Project (IDP)
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Make The Road
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA)
NYU Center for Race, Inequality, and the Law
Restore The Fourth
Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP)
The Legal Aid Society