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Press Release: Demanding legal answers on Kansas COVID-19 tracking

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 1, 2020 — Today, The Kansas Department of Health and Environment held a press conference announcing the use of a GPS program to track residents’ locations through their cell phones. Department head of KDHE, Dr. Lee Norman, announced at the press conference that such measures are necessary to track the measures of social distancing in counties across Kansas.

Kansas Justice Institute, a public-interest litigation firm specializing in the protection of constitutional freedoms, sent a letter to Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, expressing serious legal concerns with this action.

“The use of cellular data raises significant privacy issues, even during a pandemic.”, warns general counsel and litigation director of KJI, Samuel MacRoberts.

Kansas Justice Institute strongly urges Gov. Kelly to make public the details of the tracking program as well as provide a thorough legal justification for this program that impacts the privacy of Kansas cell phone carriers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic does not justify warrantless data searches of Kansas residents, and it certainly does not justify the lack of transparency.   Although the Kansas Legislature has provided broad executive powers during emergencies, they are not absolute.”, says Sam MacRoberts.

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Contact: Ellen Hathaway, Communications Director of Kansas Policy Institute, Ellen.Hathaway@KansasPolicy.org

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