The Hill | Court: Cellphone location info does not require warrant

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Cell phone - location (200x200)Court: Cellphone location info does not require warrant

May 31, 2016

The government does not need a warrant to get a person’s past cellphone location information, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

The ruling is a victory for the U.S. government and makes it less likely the Supreme Court will take up the case.

The court ruled that law enforcement officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they received a standard court order to obtain 221 days of cellphone information from a Maryland armed robbery suspect’s wireless carrier, Sprint. The information included “cell-site location information,” or CSLI, which provided a rough map of where the suspect’s phone was while in use.

The court said that Supreme Court has long held that people have no Fourth Amendment protections for information that is voluntarily turned over to a third-party — in this case, Sprint’s record of the phone’s location.

“The Supreme Court may in the future limit, or even eliminate, the third-party doctrine,” the court wrote in the opinion. “Congress may act to require a warrant for CSLI. But without a change in controlling law, we cannot conclude that the Government violated the Fourth Amendment in this case.” (Read More)


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