- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Law enforcement agencies would have to get warrants approved by a judge before they could search private electronic communications under a bill moving through the California Legislature.

SB178 would require the warrants for emails, text messages and geographic location information stored on the Internet and on smartphones, tablets, laptops and other digital devices.

Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco says his bill modernizes California’s search warrant statute, which currently requires a warrant to search a suspect’s mail - but not their email.

The bill is supported by organizations representing business, law enforcement, civil rights groups and tech firms.

Leno says five states have laws protecting digital communications and nine states protect information on an individual’s location.

His measure passed on a 39-0 vote Wednesday and goes to the Assembly.

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