Michigan voters approve warrant requirement for electronic data searches
Michigan voters approve warrant requirement for electronic data searches

Michigan voters Tuesday approved an amendment to the state constitution that will require law enforcement to get a warrant for electronic data searches.

The amendment prohibits searches and seizures of electronic data and electronic communications without a warrant, establishing clear guidelines for law enforcement.

Though warrantless searches generally violate the Fourth Amendment, courts have allowed a few exceptions to the rule. Michigan courts were previously undecided on Fourth Amendment protections for electronic data.

Proponents in the Michigan Senate argued that information such as bank statements, which were previously put on paper, are now communicated electronically, electronic communication should receive the same protections as physical documents receive under the Fourth Amendment.

The vote makes Michigan the 13th state to include privacy protections in its constitution and the 3rd state to do so using a ballot.