By Patrick Jackson
Alabama Political Reporter
The Senate Judiciary committee on Wednesday passed SB150, better known as. “The Phone Hacking Bill,” is the second attempt by Sen. Bryan Taylor (R- Prattville) to bring Alabama into the digital age. The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee in 2012 but failed to reach the floor due to concerns that the bill would “prohibit the private investigative board to perform surveillance in spousal cases”, said Taylor.
This bill, which is intended to make it a crime to install software onto the personal communications, such as spyware and malware, for the purpose of eavesdropping onto the personal communication device of another without their is “in response to the phone hacking scandal by news crop”, said Taylor.
The News International phone-hacking scandal is an ongoing controversy involving the News of the World and other British tabloid newspapers. Investigations conducted from 2005–2007 concluded that the paper’s phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family. However, in July 2011, it was revealed that the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7/7 London bombings were also accessed.
Taylor said, “You can open an email or a tweet from twitter that will install software on your phone that would allow a 3rd party to read your emails, view your text messages, and track your calls. They can also remotely turn your phone off and on, without your knowledge.”
Taylor says that he believes it is important that the law protects a citizen individual privacy. He is advocating for the legal protection of the account holder of a cell phone so that in any circumstance whether in a spousal case or in a case of espionage, they will have a right to privacy, if there was an intentionally eavesdropping without the account holders consent.
The bill would expand and modernize the current crimes of installing eavesdropping devices and possession of eavesdropping devices for just listening purposes to include the use of an eavesdropping device to access or intercept communications, such as an email, text message, or contacts, on another’s personal telecommunication device such as a cell phone, without their consent.