Skip to main content

Should emails, texts be protected by the Constitution? Proposed bill says yes

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Is all your private data – such as emails and text messages – protected from a warrantless search?

The Minnesota legislature is tackling that very question with a new bill that, if passed, would amend the state's constitution.

It would clarify that personal data is protected by the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which forbids the unreasonable search and seizure of "persons, houses, papers, and effects."

The bill is providing some rare common ground on the state's political scene – it's backed by a number of Republicans, Democrats, and representatives from a diverse coalition of Minnesota activist groups, including the ACLU, the Tea Party and Occupy Minnesota, according to The UpTake.

Will it pass?

The website says the proposal will be taken up by the Government Operations Committee this Thursday. Click here to read the bill and check its status.

Despite the support, Star Tribune reports there could be an uphill battle in the state senate, where DFL Sen. Ron Latz – chairman of the Judiciary Committee, through which the bill would have to pass – refused to give the proposed legislation a hearing last month.

Latz, according to the paper, says data privacy questions have already been resolved by the courts.

But the bill's backers are continuing their push. At a press conference this morning (where many of the supporters were gathered), bill co-author Rep. Peggy Scott said she believes the amendment "would bring a 21st Century look at the Fourth Amendment to the constitution."

The Andover Republican suggested that if smartphones and tablets were around when the constitution was being written, the founding fathers “would have included a person’s technological communications" in the Fourth Amendment.

WCCO notes that if the bill is passed, Minnesota voters would have the final say on the constitutional change next year.

Next Up


Sheriff: Heifer shot and butchered on farmer's pasture near Aitkin

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.


Minneapolis murder suspect arrested in Wisconsin

The man has been wanted by police since the shooting happened in April.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Charges: Man kidnapped woman at gunpoint, forced her to withdraw $1,500

The 56-year-old suspect is accused of forcing the woman to the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis.

police lights

Police arrest suspect in Oakdale after 10-hour standoff

The standoff with police lasted over 10 hours Friday.

WHS_SHPO_Canoe 2_Recovery054

Oldest canoe ever found in Great Lakes region excavated in Wisconsin

The boat was recovered in Lake Mendota on Thursday.


5 Minnesota cities to visit for the best of fall colors

Time it right and you can make multiple trips across the fall.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 11.48.22 AM

Without hydrants, 8 fire departments fight blaze near Shakopee

The building and its contents are a total loss.


The long-awaited Chicken Guy never opened, so the MOA is suing

The restaurant never opened after it originally planned to in 2020.

Edina High School

After Homecoming brawl, non-Edina students barred from football games

The school district also implemented increased security measures for football games in response to the fight.

Screen Shot 2022-09-21 at 6.02.37 PM

Charges: Serial trespasser accused of making U of M bomb threat

Ahmed Mohamed Umar has been charged with one count of threats of violence with explosives or an incendiary device.