Senate Looks To Block Use Of Electronic Data Obtained Without Warrant

February 04, 2014

An Arizona Senate panel has voted to block state and local police from using certain information they get from federal agents, even though that could possibly lead to people dying in a terrorist attack.

Under the measure, public employees would be prevented from helping federal agencies collect things like phone and email records from state residents, unless it’s the result of a search warrant. It would make it illegal to use information obtained by a federal agent without a search warrant.

Lyle Mann, of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board says that makes him uncomfortable.

“An officer could be given information, important information, a shooting, a terrorist attack, whatever it is you want to talk about, but they cannot confirm that the information came from a warrant-covered source,” Mann said. “But if they do nothing with the information, something bad is going to happen.”

But Sen. Kelli Ward said while she understands the concerns, she doesn’t want to start what she calls a slippery slope of eroding individual rights, saying we can’t sacrifice our liberty in the name of security.

“I don't think we should be giving up liberties, especially liberties that are guaranteed to us in our Constitution under our Fourth Amendment rights in the interest of security, even if it is terrorism or child pornography,” Ward said.

Ward does say, however, she’s willing to consider changes when the bill gets to the full Senate.