Support Centre

You have out of 5 free articles left for the month

Signup for a trial to access unlimited content.

Start Trial

Continue reading on DataGuidance with:

Free Member

Limited Articles

Create an account to continue accessing select articles, resources, and guidance notes.

Free Trial

Unlimited Access

Start your free trial to access unlimited articles, resources, guidance notes, and workspaces.

Delaware: Bill relating to reverse keyword searches and court orders reported out of House Commitee

On June 18, 2024, House Bill 445 for an Act to amend Title 11 of the Delaware Code relating to reverse keyword searches and court orders was reported out of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Amendment HA 1 was also introduced and placed with the bill on the same date. Previously, the bill was introduced and assigned to the Judiciary Committee on May 14, 2024.

Reverse-keyword searches

The bill defines terms, including 'reverse-keyword court order' as ' any court order, including a search warrant or subpoena, compelling the disclosure of records or information identifying any unnamed persons, by name or other unique identifier, who electronically searched for a particular word, phrase, or website, or who visited a particular website through a link generated by such a search, regardless of whether or not the order is limited to a specific geographic area or time frame.'

Similarly, 'reverse-keyword request' is 'any request, in the absence of a court order, by any government entity for the voluntary provision of records or information identifying any unnamed persons […].'

Prohibition of reverse-keyword searches

The bill prohibits reverse-keyword court orders and requests by courts and government entities and forbids them from seeking, securing, obtaining, borrowing, purchasing, or reviewing any information or data obtained through a reverse-keyword search. No record or information obtained using a reverse-keyword search shall be admissible in proceedings.

Private right of action

Furthermore, the bill provides for a private right of action for individuals whose names or other identifying information was obtained by a government entity. The individual may be awarded, among other things, $1,000 per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater.

You can read the bill here and track its progress here.

Update: June 25, 2024

Amendment HA 2 introduced and placed with the bill

On June 24, 2024, Amendment HA 2 was introduced and placed with the bill. 

In particular, Amendment HA 2 creates an exception to the prohibition on reverse-keyword searches by allowing for a warrant to be sought and issued when the crime under investigation is a violent felony. If, however, the order generates a search hit for more than 10 individuals, the order shall immediately be deemed void and unenforceable, and a government entity shall be prohibited from receiving any data responsive to the voided order.

You can read the bill here, Amendment HA 2 here, and track the bill's progress here.