PolitiCal

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs privacy, anti-spying bills

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills to protect privacy, stop 'revenge porn' and restrict spying

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed several bills that address concerns about spying and privacy, including new restrictions on the paparazzi, tighter laws against “revenge porn,’’ and a prohibition on the state from helping federal intelligence agencies collect phone records without warrants.

Brown's office said the 13 bills will “strengthen privacy and consumer protections.”

The acknowledgment by federal intelligence agencies that they have collected vast amounts of records on phone calls and Internet use by Americans spurred a bill prohibiting state agencies from cooperating with such searches unless there is a warrant.

“I commend Gov. Brown for recognizing that the National Security Agency’s massive and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a threat to our liberty and freedom,” said Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the author of SB 828.

Brown also signed an expansion of the state’s law against revenge porn, in which one person posts nude or sexually explicit photos of a former romantic partner on the Internet as retaliation for a breakup or other dispute.

One measure allows victims of revenge porn to seek damages in civil court. They would also be able to seek a restraining order to get the offending photos taken down from the Internet. "Rather than having to argue in court on the grounds of invasion of privacy, ... lawyers can now pursue relief by directly showing the images were sent without the consent of the victim,” said Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the author of AB 2643, in a statement.

Another bill signed Tuesday expands the revenge porn ban to nude photos commonly known as selfies, in which the person in the photo takes the picture. Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) introduced SB 1255.

The governor also signed three bills meant to rein in aggressive paparazzi tactics, including one barring the use of aerial drones to collect video, photos and audio from celebrities and others in a way that violates their privacy rights. AB 2306 by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) builds on existing state law against privacy invasion.

“As technology continues to advance and new robotic-like devices become more affordable for the general public, the possibility of an individual’s privacy being invaded substantially increases,” Chau said.

Assemblyman Richard Hershel Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced two bills, including AB 1356, which expands the legal definition of stalking to include lingering outside someone’s home without a legitimate purpose. AB 1256 makes it illegal for someone to block, intimidate or interfere with any person attempting to enter or exit a school, a hospital or another medical facility.

Both Bloom bills were opposed by the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., citing fears that they could interfere with news gathering.

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