JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Calling it “a direct response to revelations about the scope and nature of the NSA’s domestic spying programs,” Sen. Rob Schaaf and Rep. Paul Curtman issued a press release today promising to campaign for the “Privacy Amendment.” They will chair and co-chair, respectively, the statewide campaign in favor of the amendment.
Curtman and Schaaf both pushed for the proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 27, during the legislative session. The language will appear on the August 5th primary ballot and will read: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”
If approved by the voters, Missouri would become the first state to change its constitution to protect digital information from government surveillance. Schaaf is also serving as Treasurer of the “Protect our Privacy” campaign committee, which Curtman, Schaaf and fellow supporters will be funneling funds to promote the measure.
“When we send messages to friends, family and co-workers, we have the reasonable expectation that those communications are private, whether they go through the post office or our internet provider,” Curtman said in the statement. “If government can’t go through our mail or homes without a warrant, they shouldn’t be able to snoop through our digital communications without one either.”
Schaaf said that while the change to the constititon probably wouldn’t protect Missourians against federal agencies, he says it’s an important first step in a “larger national debate.”
“We need to get this idea national attention,” Schaaf told The Missouri Times. “We need to get the idea of this constitutional protection national, and the more people turn out, and the more people are educated on this, I think we’ll see just how the people feel about this issue.”