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text messages
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bullying in schools
senate bill
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Arizona Lawmakers Want To Make It Easier For Parents To Spy On Children's Text Messages
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Arizona Lawmakers Want to Make it Easier for Parents To Spy on Children\'s Text Messages

A bill proposed by an Arizona state senator who himself has six daughters would make it easier for a parent to gain access to and read their child's text messages. However, even with this new law in place, it would not be a simple matter of asking to see them. This new law would only open the avenue of discussion for the parent who would have to pay the cell phone service carrier for the right to read messages from and to the child's phone.

Known as Senate Bill 1219, it would allow the wireless carrier in question to charge a nominal fee to see texts without a court order. Right now, parents can go to a judge and ask for that order to see what is being texted to and from their child, but there are still limits in that case as well. In either instance, the carrier could do nothing without the consent of the minor in question because regardless of who is paying for the phone and the phone service, the text messages are their own private property. Senator Rich Crandall, the sponsor of the bill, thinks that it should be easier to see what is being said between a parent's child and their friends or others who might be texting them, citing problems with bullying in schools and sexual exploitation as valid concerns faced by parents these days.

The CTIA, the international association of the wireless technology industry, is denouncing the bill saying that in addition to being in direct conflict with federal laws already in place, the bill itself is unrealistic and largely unworkable. Jamie Hastings , the Vice President of External and State Affairs for the organization said for instance, that the federal law permission would have to be obtained from the owner of the materials in question, in this case the kids and not the parents. Knowing that their parents are asking for permission to see their text messages and that they would not be able to do so without that permission, no teen is going to consent.

In addition, there are other problems with the bill as written. It would be difficult at best to determine consent's duration and scope. It is likely that consent would have to be applied to a specific time period and would expire and then have to be sought once again. The bill as passed the Arizona State Senate judiciary committe but will need to be approved at the State Senate level before moving on.


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