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tumbdrive, data. Photo: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

CALIFORNIA CONTINUED ITS long-standing tradition for forward-thinking privacy laws today when Governor Jerry Brown signed a sweeping law protecting digital privacy rights.

The landmark Electronic Communications Privacy Act bars any state law enforcement agency or other investigative entity from compelling a business to turn over any metadata or digital communications—including emails, texts, documents stored in the cloud—without a warrant. It also requires a warrant to track the location of electronic devices like mobile phones, or to search them.

The legislation, which easily passed the Legislature last month, is the most comprehensive in the country, says the ACLU.

“This is a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director at the ACLU of California, said in a statment. “We hope this is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting our digital privacy rights.”

Five other states have warrant protection for content, and nine others have warrant protection for GPS location tracking. But California is the first to enact a comprehensive law protecting location data, content, metadata and device searches, Ozer told WIRED.

“This is really a comprehensive update for the modern digital age,” she said.

State senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) wrote the legislation earlier this year to give digital data the same kinds of protection that non-digital communications have.

“For what logical reason should a handwritten letter stored in a desk drawer enjoy more protection from warrantless government surveillance than an email sent to a colleague or a text message to a loved one?” Leno said earlier this year. “This is nonsensical and violates the right to liberty and privacy that every Californian expects under the constitution.”

The bill enjoyed widespread support among civil libertarians like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which have headquarters in California. It also had huge bipartisan support among state lawmakers.

“For too long, California’s digital privacy laws have been stuck in the Dark Ages, leaving our personal emails, text messages, photos and smartphones increasingly vulnerable to warrantless searches,” Leno said in a statement today. “That ends today with the Governor’s signature of CalECPA, a carefully crafted law that protects personal information of all Californians. The bill also ensures that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to continue to fight crime in the digital age.”

The law applies only to California law enforcement entities; law enforcement agencies in other states would be compelled by the laws in their jurisdictions, which is why Ozer and others say it’s important to get similar comprehensive laws passed elsewhere.

The law places California not only at the forefront of protecting digital privacy among states, it outpaces even the federal government, where such efforts have stalled.

Civil libertarians and others have long lobbied federal lawmakers to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to offer such protection nationwide. An amendment to that law has been wending through Capitol Hill, where it has 300 co-sponsors. But the proposal is less comprehensive than the law Brown signed, and would merely focus on digital content. Currently, the federal ECPA requires a warrant for stored content that is newer than 180 days; the amendment would extend the warrant requirement to all digital content regardless of age.

California has long led the way in privacy protection. Voters amended the state constitution in the 1970s to provide explicit privacy rights far more robust than those guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. But while the state amendment ensured a right to privacy for all Californians, lawmakers couldn’t envision the technological advances that would come in the decades to follow. The law that Brown signed today closes surveillance loopholes left by that amendment and “codifies what was intended by that privacy right,” Ozer says.

“We certainly hope that this bill is a clarion call [for the federal amendment],” she told WIRED. “This is not only a comprehensive update for all Californians, but hopefully is a model for making sure that all Americans have this kind of digital privacy protection.”

Image005-7-300x169When you get into an accident with a large commercial truck or semi-truck, there’s a high chance that you’ll get injured or worse, lose your life. Very few people have ever escaped accidents involving trucks unscathed.

Kaleb Whitby is one lucky guy who escaped from one of the most horrific accidents in January 2015. His car was pinned between the trailers of two semi-trucks in a 26-car pileup on interstate 84 in Oregon. The crash only left two things intact; the marred shell surrounding Whitby’s seat and Whitby. He survived with a bruise on his left eyebrow and a few scratches on his right hand.

You might not have been as lucky as Whitby and you might be looking to file a truck accident injury lawsuit in Plymouth. The good news is you might have a case and the bad news is truck accident injury lawsuits are complicated and require different legal considerations than a typical car accident.

This means that you need to hire a Plymouth truck accident attorney to help you with your case. Here’s what they will help you with:

They’ll Use the Law to Help You

The trucking industry has a number of laws and regulations that only apply to it. For instance, there are laws that regulate truck maintenance, maximum truck weight, driver test requirements and commercial driver’s licenses. The trucking company or the truck driver’s liability in the accident will be affected by these laws.

Identifying Potential Defendants

Being involved in a commercial trucking accident means more than one person can be held legally liable for your injuries. Insurance companies, the driver’s employer, the trucking company and even the driver can be held accountable for the accident. While you might overlook some of the responsible parties, your accident truck attorney will be able to identify the parties responsible for your accident.

2195721_s-300x217A law proposed by state Senator Lisa Boscola would impose fines on truck drivers who do not clear ice and snow from their vehicles before driving.In the winter, it’s common to see chunks of ice and snow flying off the tops of large trucks as they go barreling down the highway. For drivers traveling behind these trucks, frozen projectiles can hit their windshields and obstruct their vision, or even cause damage. Or, drivers might swerve to avoid being hit, and get into an accident. The proposed bill has been re-introduced with safety in mind. In 2005, a woman from Jim Thorpe, PA, was killed when a chunk of ice dislodged and flew into her windshield.

Under the current law, truck drivers are only penalized if someone gets seriously injured or killed. Fines range from $200-$1,000 for each offense. Boscola’s law would fine truckers $25-$75 for any uncleared snow that creates a hazard, aiming to prevent these injuries before they occur.

Laws like this one are already in place in New Jersey and Connecticut.

While this law would arguably improve highway safety, some say it is “unnecessary and unsafe.” Many truck drivers have a major concern about how they are to keep their vehicles cleared off. Put simply, clearing ice and snow from a tractor trailer isn’t the same as walking outside and brushing off your car in the morning. Understandably, truckers, especially those who are older, worry about climbing onto the icy roof of a trailer more than 20 feet off the ground. The roofs of some trailers are not built to support human weight.

But Boscola says that this is an outdated excuse. As an alternative, she proposes that Pennsylvania rest stops and weigh stations install machines that would scrape snow from the tops of large trailers so that truck drivers would not have to do it manually. Some companies, like the Coca Cola Bottling Company in the Lehigh Valley, have already put these snow-scraping systems in place. some But then, of course, there is a debate about whether the state or the trucking companies should be responsible for their installation. Senator Boscola has said that she would be willing to allocate state funds toward this end, but would rather see the trucking companies step up and claim responsibility for the safety of their operation.

As truck accident lawyers, we believe that highway safety must be the top priority for lawmakers and trucking companies alike. Snow and ice that accumulates on tractor trailers poses a danger to all other drivers, including other truckers, and should therefore be removed before the truck returns to the road. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a tractor trailer, or any kind of weather-related accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law for a FREE consultation. We can be reached at 844-525-4117.