In the midst of partisan vitriol in today’s politics, one Montana legislator stands out from the rest. Forbes listed Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings, as one of its “30 Under 30.” The 32 of us who have signed this letter are also all under the age of 30, and come from all corners of Montana. We want to congratulate Rep. Zolnikov, and thank him for his work to protect our privacy rights.
Zolnikov, 26, achieved the Forbes honor by pioneering legislation last session to protect our civil liberties. He argued that government officials should have to obtain warrants to conduct searches of cellphone data even before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on massive, unconstitutional (according to two federal judges) NSA surveillance. Once the Snowden scandal broke, Zolnikov’s work received international praise. He has become a voice of a new generation of public officials who are committed to protecting our freedoms in the digital age.
As a young legislator, Zolnikov made Montana an example for the rest of the nation, and even other countries, to follow. Laws similar to his requiring government to obtain warrants before accessing cellphone location data have now passed in numerous other states, and more privacy protections are on the way.
The current heated debate over digital privacy has broken down party lines and unified many in our generation. We are the ones who will live through a new age of groundbreaking technology and innovation. While these technologies provide exciting new opportunities, they can also create new threats to privacy and freedom if left unchecked.
Daniel Zolnikov is on the cutting edge of securing smart policies that will protect our rights for generations to come. We look forward to seeing more great work from him in the future, and again offer our gratitude and congratulations.
Candidate for SD 49
as well as 29 others