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Privacy The Courts United States News Your Rights Online

Newest Gov't Tracking Threat: Cell-Site Data Without a Warrant 107

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year, the Supreme Court put an end to warrantless GPS tracking. Now, federal prosecutors are trying to get similar data from a different source. A U.S. District Judge has ruled that getting locational data from cell towers in order to track suspects is just fine. '[Judge Huvelle] sidestepped the Fourth Amendment argument and declined to analyze whether the Supreme Court's ruling in Jones' case has any bearing on whether cell-site data can be used without a warrant. Instead, she focused on a doctrine called the "good-faith exemption," in which evidence is not suppressed if the authorities were following the law at the time. The data in Jones' case was coughed up in 2005, well before the Supreme Court's ruling on GPS. "The court, however, need not resolve this vexing question of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, since it concludes that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies," (.PDF) she wrote. ... With that, prosecutors are legally in the clear to use Jones’ phone location records without a warrant.'"
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Newest Gov't Tracking Threat: Cell-Site Data Without a Warrant

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  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:21AM (#42336143) Journal

    If and only if the SCOTUS ruling on GPS tracking applies to cell phone tracking. In the GPS tracking ruling, the police physically affixed a GPS tracker to the exterior of the suspects vehicle without a warrant. With cell phones, you voluntarily carry the bug. That's a significant difference which might make the GPS ruling inapplicable.

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