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      Missouri considers electronic privacy amendment

      The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. A proposed Missouri constitutional amendment would explicitly extend those legal protections to text messages, emails and other electronic communications.

      The Amendment 9 ballot measure would require police to first obtain a warrant in order to search or seize "electronic communications and data." Supporters say the legal protection is needed despite a recent federal Supreme Court ruling that upheld privacy protections against police cellphone searches.

      Legislators who referred the measure to the Aug. 5 ballot say a state constitutional provision could help guard against excessive government intrusion, such as the recent National Security Agency eavesdropping scandal. The amendment also has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.