In summer 2013, Governor Rick Perry signed into law0 Texas House Bill 2268
This has been hailed as a boon to consumer privacy, as it requires that law enforcement obtain a warrant if they are requesting, for example, a persons actual email content or IP address information.
More importantly for people like me, who have been the victim of cyberstalking, this law also gives companies like Twitter, Google / Gmail, AOL, etc, NO MORE THAN 15 DAYS TO COMPLY WITH THE WARRANT. If the magistrate signing the warrant chooses, he or she may pare down that time to three days if they feel the urgency is required. The law also requires that a warrant signed by any judge in the state of Texas be honored by any company that does business in the state of Texas. Proof of doing business in the state may consist of that little check box you click, swearing that you’ve read the Terms Of Service for the company. (I know you haven’t read any of them – just read one. Like Facebook’s. Scary stuff)
That’s pretty important, because Google and the others (I’m picking on them because they are the biggest thorn in my butt) have a tendency to claim that they only will honor warrants obtained in the same county as their base of operations. Fun game of hide and seek when a company’s HQ is in Denver and they are incorporated in Delaware – or outside the USA.
The caveat here is that the warrant must be “properly worded”. That might suck, depending on the literacy and competence level of your investigating agency.
I have heard, probably a dozen times, that we were waiting on _________ to comply with a warrant and it just takes time, gosh darn it.
Well, it takes 15 days now in Texas. Make sure that your own Keystone cops know the law, and know that YOU know the law.