On August 5, 2014, voters in Missouri approved a state constitutional measure that extends protection from unreasonable searches and seizures to “electronic communications and data.” The state constitution already provides protection for individuals’ “person, papers, homes or effects.” The amendment, which passed with near 75% voter approval, requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant in order to gain access to emails, text messages, cloud storage, and other communications or data.

With the passage of the amendment, Missouri became the first state in the nation to extend Fourth Amendment protections to electronic communications and data, the implications of which have yet to be seen. As the new regime takes hold the courts will play a role in interpreting and applying the amendment to law enforcement activity. It is also not known yet whether adoption of the amendment in Missouri will lead to similar attempts in other states.