Court Says Warrantless Mobile Phone Tracking Is Unconstitutional

from the well-that-could-make-things-interesting dept

In an amazingly short and to the point ruling (embedded below), a judge in a district court in Southern Texas, Lynn Hughes, ruled that letting the government get mobile phone data without a warrant was unconstitutional:

When the government requests records from cellular services, data disclosing the location of the telephone at the time of particular calls may be acquired only by a warrant issued on probable cause. U.S. Const., amend. 4. The records show the date, time, called number, and location of the telephone when the call was made. These data are constitutionally protected from this intrusion. The standard under the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d), is below that required by the Constitution.

Of course, there are a number of cases out there that have ruled on similar issues… and come to different conclusions. This is one of those issues that will continue to bounce around until the Supreme Court clarifies. Still, there’s something nice about seeing a court ruling of this nature, where the judge doesn’t waste any time at all, and basically just says, “Hey, 4th Amendment! Next!”

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Comments on “Court Says Warrantless Mobile Phone Tracking Is Unconstitutional”

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20 Comments
P3T3R5ON (profile) says:

Here is my question, at what point do they use cellular location data in a case? To line up who was where when, during an investigation?

Cause I could hand my phone to some random kid and give him 50$ with instructions to go hang out at the mall and return the phone in 2hrs after I’ve commited a crime.

Then the opposite happens… can I use my own cellular location records to provide an alabi? Cause if they are going to use it as evidence, you should be able to counter and use it against them. Or throw it out because cellphones aren’t imbeded in our bodies yet.

I just think it shouldn’t be used in court cases without iron clad proof one way or the other, there are to many variables…

DCX2 says:

Like law enforcement will pay any attention to this?

I know, right?

CIA violates a court order by destroying tapes that a judge had requested from them. Instead of “obstruction of justice” or “destroying evidence”, the CIA merely committed “transgressions” for which punishment “would serve no beneficial purpose”, according to one U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of New York.

unecessaryEvil says:

Re:

By implying that you have ‘constitutional rights’, you’re saying that the government gives you rights. Which is simply not true and wrong, you have individual rights — a big difference. The constitution is suppose to protect those rights. Even still, if the Constitution were to disappear tomorrow, it would not change anything — you still have a right to life, liberty & property etc..

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