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August ballot question in Missouri aims to further protect right - KOAM TV 7

August ballot question in Missouri aims to further protect right to privacy on a cell phone

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Lawmakers work for a balance between providing law enforcement officials with the tools they need and protecting the right to privacy of citizens.
Missouri residents will decide in August whether to add a constitutional amendment furthering protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of a cell phone.
For many, cell phone usage is a private matter.
(take sot, Mona Porta, Joplin resident)
"It's personal," said Mona Porta, Joplin resident.  "I use it for my business, my home, everything."
For that reason, the device is often a valuable tool for law enforcement.
"If we have probable cause to believe that there's some kind of criminal activity or some kind of evidentiary value on the cell phone and we don't obtain consent, then what we do is we apply for a search warrant through the courts," said Lieutenant Matt Stewart, Joplin Police Department.
Missouri residents could have further protection when it comes to cell phone privacy, depending on what voters decide regarding the electronic privacy question.
"Electronic privacy is ensuring that the police departments cannot go and trace your cell phones and get information off of your cell phone without a warrant," said state representative Charlie Davis, District 128.
Many residents say they will vote in approval.
"I know I wouldn't want my rights violated," said Janene Caldwell, Joplin resident.  "There are things on my cell phone that could be taken out of context."
"It's an invasion of people's privacy on cell phones," said Brian Willoughby, Joplin resident.
"When they come in your house and search other things, they have to have a warrant, why not with your cell phone also," said Jeremy Johnson, Carthage resident.
Others say, in certain circumstances, a search warrant should not be necessary.
"If someone you love, your child, your wife or your good friend were receiving death threats over the phone, would you want to wait for a search warrant until something worse happened?" said Cynthia Edwards, Joplin resident.
"I even, to take it to one more extreme, say if they don't have a search warrant, but they believe it would provide more information on a suspect,  I'm for that also," said citizen David Smalling.
Again, the measure will be up to Missouri voters to decide on the August ballot.
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