White House Says Feds Should Have Unfettered Access To Mobile Phone Location Info

from the *sigh* dept

Many civil libertarians were hopeful that the Obama administration would be a lot more reasonable on certain issues, like warrantless wiretapping and surveillance of Americans. So far, that hasn't really been the case. The new administration has already sided with the old on the legality of warrantless wiretapping, and is now saying that it shouldn't need a warrant to demand location records from mobile phone providers. This certainly seems like the sort of private info that, under the 4th Amendment, would require a warrant, but not according to the administration(s). It feels that mobile phone providers should freely hand over records of what mobile phone tower any phone was connected to, even without the administration bothering to get a warrant (i.e., whenever and for whomever it wants to keep tabs on). This is tremendously problematic if you believe in the basic principles of the 4th Amendment. The EFF and the ACLU have asked a court to stop this practice, and it's rather disappointing that the administration is pushing in the other direction.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, civil liberties, location, privacy, white house

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  1. icon
    Nelson Cruz (profile), 19 Mar 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward, that was exactly my point. This info should be available to law enforcement on a limited case by case basis, just like wiretapping. If unfettered access is granted it will lead to mass surveillance, which would be bad. I am familiar with 1984. I haven't read it, but have been meaning to for a long time.

    I'm also familiar with (and actually read :)) the US Constitution, and I totally agree with you. My point was, if Obama or anyone in government right now, is for unfettered surveillance via cell phones, they will likely change their minds when it gets abused - J. Edgar Hoover style - against them. This isn't an excuse to let them approve these laws, but rather something they should be reminded off, so they don't.

    Now that I think about it, a J. Edgar Hoover type scandal would be good for the US and the world right now. To stop all these ideas of unfettered surveillance and security above everything.

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