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Experts Say Wiretap Law Needs Digital Era Update 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-a-couple-of-decades-late dept.
GovTechGuy writes "Experts at a Congressional hearing Thursday said the government needs to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to reflect changes in technology, notably location-based services. On one hand, legal experts argue tracking a mobile user's location should require a higher burden of proof than simply intercepting their communications. On the other hand, first responders may need location data in order to save lives and respond to 911 calls. Either way, expect legislation from the committee later this year."
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Experts Say Wiretap Law Needs Digital Era Update

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @01:56PM (#32693684)

    Require any tracking of location to be disclosed to the target immediately. This is easy for the firetruck or EMS to handle because they've got the coordinates and they're responding immediately.

  • by paeanblack (191171) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:46PM (#32694418)

    This is easy for the firetruck or EMS to handle because they've got the coordinates and they're responding immediately.

    Not necessarily. You could be reporting a fire in your downstairs neighbor's apartment. Imminent danger to human safety trumps privacy rights if they are in conflict. In some cases, imminent danger to property can also trump privacy. You want the fire department to put an axe through your neighbor's door now, not after calling his hotel room in the Bahamas. Society is pretty okay with emergency services barging in wherever they deem necessary, and gives them the benefit of the doubt in borderline cases. Generally, it has not been a problem.

    Police, on the other hand, act as both emergency services and do investigative work. In the first role, society is also okay with them exercising the same privileges as other emergency personnel, but not okay with them extending those liberties into performing the second role.

    What we really need is a more formalized and audited method for police departments to use a Chinese Wall to separate their roles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:45PM (#32695206)

    Here's an idea: Emergency services can look at the data any time they want, BUT if they look at it without a warrant, it becomes forever fruit of the poison tree. Completely inadmissible in court. AND, anything they get from what they find from that line of evidence is also poisoned.

    Ambulances and fire rescue and such wouldn't care, and thus have no hinderance. Police, on the other hand, would have to be very careful and get a warrant, lest they completely screw their investigation.

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