Bill Aims to Curb Power of Police to Monitor Hoosiers

When the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program was unveiled, privacy concerns soared, but legislation at the Statehouse is looking to give Hoosiers some peace of mind. Rep. Eric Koch of Bedford says technology has come a long way, and he introduced House Bill 1009 to address the use and misuse of surveillance by both law enforcement and citizens.

“This can include technology that allows interceptions of calls, of data, of surveillance technology including unmanned aerial vehicles and tracking devices and the like,” he explains.

The bill requires police to obtain a search warrant before using a phone to track a person’s location or using an unmanned device.

The bill passed the House 85-11 and is now headed to the Indiana Senate.

Koch says the legislation is bringing people together from both sides of the aisle that are concerned about privacy and constitutional protections, and he says the expertise of law enforcement made them allies, not adversaries, in crafting the bill.

“I’ve had the honor to work with not just leadership of police agencies but police that are on the ground, in areas such as search and rescue, catching child predators and in criminal intelligence,” Koch says. “Their involvement made it a better piece of legislation.”

Some critics have questioned the need for the legislation, but supporters argue the guidelines might save investigators from legal battles over evidence.