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Court allows cell phone tracking without a warrant
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Games Meister
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Jul 31, 2013, 12:24 PM
 
I couldn't find if we had a previous thread from when it was first banned.

Again, federal court finds cops don’t need a warrant for cellphone location data | Ars Technica
In a new 2-1 decision published (PDF) Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that law enforcement does not need a warrant to obtain cell-site location information (CSLI) from a mobile phone, falling in line with other recent high-level federal court decisions.
In the majority decision, the judges wrote (PDF) that cell site information was nothing more than a business record, which "the Government has neither 'required [n]or persuaded' providers to keep."

"In the case of such historical cell site information, the Government merely comes in after the fact and asks a provider to turn over records the provider has already created," the judges continued. "Moreover, these are the providers’ own records of transactions to which it is a party. The caller is not conveying location information to anyone other than his service provider. He is sending information so that the provider can perform the service for which he pays it: to connect his call."
And if this were a landline...?


Still, the Fifth Circuit judges did have one more remedy for mobile phone users who want to keep their location private: just, y'know, "demand" it from your mobile carrier. As they wrote:

We understand that cell phone users may reasonably want their location information to remain private, just as they may want their trash, placed curbside in opaque bags, Greenwood, 486 U.S. at 40-41, or the view of their property from 400 feet above the ground, Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445, 451 (1989), to remain so. But the recourse for these desires is in the market or the political process: in demanding that service providers do away with such records (or anonymize them) or in lobbying elected representatives to enact statutory protections. The Fourth Amendment, safeguarded by the courts, protects only reasonable expectations of privacy.
     
Games Meister
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Jul 31, 2013, 12:33 PM
 
I didn't read through the decision, but the overwhelming feeling I get from the quoted judge statements is that their argument is because the data has been collected and held by a business you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. But I have to think there are a lot of other pieces of data collected by businesses that the government must get a warrant to access.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 31, 2013, 05:25 PM
 
I was thinking about starting a thread for this.

IIRC, you can get a list of numbers to and from a landline without a warrant.
     
Games Meister
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Jul 31, 2013, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
IIRC, you can get a list of numbers to and from a landline without a warrant.
This surprises me. I didn't think that was the case.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 31, 2013, 06:24 PM
 
With cell phones, every provider has a "law enforcement portal", where you pay a small fee, and can get anyone's metadata. I'm pretty sure you need a court order, but I don't think the the provider checks. Since you need to be in law enforcement to access it, they assume you aren't going to break the law.

I don't think there's any difference with land-lines.

I could be wrong, I shall investigate.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 31, 2013, 06:44 PM
 
The SCOTUS case is Smith v. Maryland (1979)

The telephone company, at police request, installed at its central offices a pen register to record the numbers dialed from the telephone at petitioner's home. Prior to his robbery trial, petitioner moved to suppress "all fruits derived from" the pen register. The Maryland trial court denied this motion, holding that the warrantless installation of the pen register did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Petitioner was convicted, and the Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The installation and use of the pen register was not a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and hence no warrant was required. Pp. 442 U.S. 739-746.
     
Games Meister
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Aug 6, 2013, 01:04 PM
 
You must be right, because no else thinks this is news or gives a damn.
     
   
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