Michigan Voters Approve Electronic Communications and Data Privacy Amendment Reply

Controlling the power of technology, and those who possess it, is just as important as controlling the power of the state. Traditional civil libertarianism has mostly been about curbing the power of the political government, the military, and organized religion. But corporations, banks, technology, media, and universities all parts of modern state systems.

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LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 3, 2020) – Today, Michigan voters easily passed a state constitutional amendment that elevates the privacy of a person’s electronic communications and data to the same level as “persons, houses, papers and possessions.”

The Michigan legislature put Proposal 20-2 on the ballot. It requires any Michigan government agency to obtain a search warrant in order to access a person’s electronic data or electronic communication. The amendment added the following highlighted words to Article I Sec. 11 of the state constitution.

Sec. 11. The person, houses, papers, and possessions, ELECTRONIC DATA, AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS of every person shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures. No warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things OR TO ACCESS ELECTRONIC DATA OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS shall issue without describing them, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to bar from evidence in any criminal proceeding any narcotic drug, firearm, bomb, explosive or any other dangerous weapon, seized by a peace officer outside the curtilage of any dwelling house in this state.

The ballot measure passed 88-12% – with 33% reporting at the time of publication.

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