Warrantless Cell Tower Tracking Out Of Control

Warrantless Cell Tower Tracking Out Of Control

When the cops put a GPS tracking device on a man’s car, without a warrant, and used it to track the man’s comings and goings, he brought his criminal case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He’d been convicted of a drug offense as a result of the warrantless tracking, but he and his lawyers didn’t think that was fair. After all, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution generally requires warrants be obtained from a judge before cops conduct a search.

The Supremes ruled that warrantless GPS tracking was unconstitutional.

In the wake of warrantless tracking, which now continues in the form of cell tower tracking, now that warrantless GPS tracking is no longer an option for police, some states are beginning the push toward greater privacy for citizens.

Case in point: Ryan Gallagher for Slate writes that Maine has become the second state (Montana was the first) to pass a law against warrantless cellphone tracking. Texas had something going, too, but the bill didn’t make it through the legislature. All in all, we have what appears to be the start of a trend toward protecting citizens from warrantless search and seizure.

Gallagher writes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which includes Maryland in its jurisdiction, is at the moment considering a case involving seven whole months of warrantless tracking. The cops in United States v. Graham got location data (likely from cell tower tracking) showing all 29,659 places the defendant had visited for more than half a year.

Talk about privacy issues. Talk about out-of-control warrantless cell tower tracking.

Source: Maine Enacts Pioneering Law Prohibiting Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

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