Ohio lawmakers hot for snooping power

Proposed law would give police immediate access to anyone's location and their private cell phone records
Tom Jackson
Jun 20, 2013

A bill that would make it easier for police to obtain cell phone locations zipped through the Senate on a 32-1 vote in April, but it has now slowed down in the Ohio House.

The Ohio House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee was poised to pass the bill Tuesday, sending it to the House floor for a vote.

But the chairman, Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, agreed to delay action until at least another week. 

His decision came after an official from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, Maurice Thompson, testified that it would allow police to obtain cell phone records without a warrant, even in non-emergency situations.

"We were just about ready to vote this bill out," Damschroder said. "This was the first time these guys showed up." 

Damschroder said he agreed to delay action to let members give the measure a closer look.

"I wanted to give the members on the committee and everybody a chance to look at the information this gentleman produced to see if it had any merit," Damschroder said.

Senate Bill 5, authored by state senators Edna Brown, a Toledo Democrat, and Gayle Manning, a North Ridgeville Republican, says cell phone providers will immediately provide the location of a cell phone customer if police are responding to the customer's emergency call, or if the police believe there is "imminent danger" of death or serious injury if the information isn't supplied right away.

The bill also says cell phone providers can set up a system to voluntarily give up the information, and can't be sued if they act in good faith with the law.

Thompson, director of the 1851 Center, says the non-emergency provisions — allowing for voluntary disclosure of the information — mean cell phone companies can make money selling cell phone information to police, even when no crime is alleged.

"The bill authorizes wireless service providers to break their voluntarily agreed-to contracts with Ohio customers, to whom they've promised privacy, and strips Ohioans of their right to enforce these contracts, or sue for damages," Thompson said in a release from the 1851 Center.

In the Senate's 32-1 vote, the only "No" was cast by state Sen. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood.

Skindell said Wednesday that national controversy over the fact that the National Security Agency apparently collects phone records for everyone in America has focused attention on the issue of privacy versus safety.

"We cannot just give up on our liberty to obtain absolute security," said Skindell, who ran for the Ohio Supreme Court in 2012 but lost to incumbent Terrence O'Donnell.

Skindell said the normal way to handle laws such as Senate Bill 5 is to have a general rule and then allow for exceptions.

Fixing the bill would mean requiring a warrant to obtain cell phone records, but allowing police an exception in a genuine emergency. After police invoke the exception, a court should review the matter and make sure the law was followed, Skindell said.

"They do that in other warrant situations," Skindell said.

Thompson said the 1851 Center also believes the bill should be amended to require police to obtain warrants to obtain cell phone information, with an exception for emergencies.



Licorice Schtick

Really don't understand how something this bad could get this many votes. Gotta be more to the story..

Licorice Schtick

Of course I'm against it. If you weren't so hostile to my viewpoints you don't like, you might be surprised about what we agree on. Libertarians and Liberals oppose this. Right wingers aligned with Libertarians would oppose this. It's cowards that like it. And the Bushist corporatists you pimp for that like it, because they have the money to exploit it while protecting themselves from abuse.

"What's the NSA got to do with this?" Uh... have you may noticed that the NSA has been in the news lately regarding alleged privacy abuses?

What's loony is blaming liberals for this.


Again: What's the NSA got to do with this?

The article is about state law not fed.

Loony libs? THAT would equate to the 99% of the OH Dem Senators who support this legislation.


But the NSA snooping would make it easier for those other agencies to find you when they want to do those things.


Just found out that the word Contango is a synonym for imaginary-conspiracy-each-day

Darwin's choice

Just found out that the name Coasterfan is a synonym for blowing smoke!

What's Obama's approval number today?

The Big Dog's back

Obama's Approval Rating Down After Photos Surface Of Him Eating Big Sandwich All Alone

The Big Dog's back

President Barack Obama's job approval rating slipped slightly to 49 percent in June despite controversies over National Security Agency surveillance and the IRS targeting of conservative groups, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Oh, and fewer Americans are using the word "socialist" now than in early 2009 as a one-word description for Obama, Pew found.
Obama's job approval was 51 percent in May, Pew said. And the proportion of Americans disapproving of the job he's doing stayed steady at 43 percent in both May and June.
While just 11 percent of Americans in 2012 said the economy was in excellent or good shape, that number has surged to 23 percent—the highest level since January 2008, Pew found. Thirty-five percent say the economy will get better one year from now, against 19 percent who say things will be worse. In March, more respondents said it would be worse (32 percent) than better (25 percent).

Darwin's choice

To quote you "bullspit"....

The Big Dog's back

I guess you and the rest of the right wingnuts can quit talking about approval ratings now.

Darwin's choice

Do you get all your information from "Pew"? Just the name of your source smells fishy! But, whatever lets you sleep at night! What does "Pew" say about the 47 million on welfare/assistance?

The Big Dog's back

rasmussen also said Romney was going to win.


"an official from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, Maurice Thompson, testified that it would allow police to obtain cell phone records without a warrant, even in non-emergency situations."

"The bill also says cell phone providers can set up a system to voluntarily give up the information, and can't be sued if they act in good faith with the law."

And the powers that be in Ohio try to take away more freedoms.

Really are you ...

Geese. This is all bad. Can't we all just get along. If you don't learn from the past, you will repeat the same mistakes in the future. This is WWII German propaganda at its best. Instead of informants turning people on people. Our own peace officers, police officers, would have the power to throw anyone in jail. Say you had an argument with your spouse, and you had text something out of anger. It is there in a text and it won't go away, it is a personal threat, off to jail. Garbage rolls downhill. What was exactly negotiated behind closed doors with the NSA that gives the State of Ohio the belief that this intrusion into our private lives as something that is acceptable. More charges maybe? Pulled over for a lane violation, O' drugs found, hey lets go through your cell phone. That could be good though, by indentifying users, dealers,and suppliers.


HOW IS IT the ELECTED MORONS didn't see the OBVIOUS PROBLEMS until ONE SANE PERSON showed up to point it out




Excellent comment!

It is one of many reasons why Ohio is a very corrupt state. Even the Ohio Supreme Court can't figure out Ohio's laws.



No, that is not my opinion but IS the opinion of a HUGE portion of the US who thinks that a majority vote or opinion polls can overturn the bill of rights. Most vote democrat also,


Those that are willing to sacrifice the freedoms and rights of themselves and others for the sake of safety and security do not deserve freedoms nor rights or safety nor security.


"I will tell you that our footprint is small." This from a guy with the **I regarding drone use on American soil. Trust your government? Ask a Red man.


"Trust your government? Ask a Red man."

Another excellent comment. Those treaties with the Native Americans were written on toilet paper.

Licorice Schtick

Tyranny of the majority. Protecting minorities is a liberal concept that everyone but fascists at some level at least gives lip service to. Freedom of speech is about allowing the expression of a minority opinion, freedom of religion is about the right to believe something a little different, etc.

In the case of First Peoples, greed won and justice lost. But the right keeps trying to tell us that greed is good.


Re: "Protecting minorities is a liberal concept that everyone but fascists at some level at least gives lip service to."

Confusion of terminology.

The Fabian Socialist Progressives have appropriate and misconstrued the term "liberal."

Try "classical liberalism" which is more akin to libertarianism.

The American aboriginal culture was grossly incompatible with European culture. He who has the most guns wins.

Pres. Jackson moved 'em out and eventually Gen. Sherman starved 'em onto the reservations.

The Big Dog's back

You have a warped sense of history. I've seen it for awhile out of you. Now more and more people are seeing it.

Darwin's choice

"President BARACK OBAMA was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upstate New York.

He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American's present standard of living. He referred to his time as a U.S. Senator and how he had voted for every Native American issue that came to the floor of the Senate. Although President Obama was vague about the details of his plans, he seemed most enthusiastic and spoke eloquently about his ideas for helping his "Red sisters and brothers".

At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented Obama with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name,"Walking Eagle". The proud President Obama accepted the plaque and then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds.

A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to the President. They explained that "Walking Eagle" is the name given to a bird so full of shat it can no longer fly."

Pterocarya frax...

Don't ever let the truth get in the way of a good story for you. That has been around for a long time with a lot of leader's names attached to it....Bush, Kerry, Clinton:


Perhaps you should be awarded the walking eagle award.

Darwin's choice

When the shoe fits.....

The Big Dog's back

Wow durwood, duped again.

Darwin's choice

Childish, as usual! However,no matter the named person, or timeline previously used, truth of the matter is obama is full of crap and a failure! Gloat on that!

The Big Dog's back

Did you read the list of right wingnut predictions that didn't come true?


just leave it up to the sandusky register and not let us know when and where to vote, that way the register just may think this could help them. The register FAILED.