US Supreme Court Law: in Major Privacy Win Warrant Required for Mobile’s Phone Location Data

by Jeniffer Leio Excutive

Recently the US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the digital privacy.

On Friday, in a 5-4 decision, the justice said that the police would need warrants to assemble mobile phone location data as proof or evidence for trials. That remanded and reversed a decision by almost Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Though, in the Carpenter v. United States is the very first case about the mobile phone location data that the Supreme Court has recently ruled on. To make it a landmark decision about how law enforcement agencies can use the technology as they build the cases. The court heard urging in this case on 29 November.

The date of dispute back to a 2011 robbery in Detroit after which police collected months of mobile phone location data from Timothy Carpenter’s phone provider. They dragged together 12,898 different locations from the Carpenter and over 127 days.

The privacy and legal worried was that police assembled the four months worth of Carpenter’s digital footprints without even a warrant. A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge was ruled that mobile phone location data is not sheltered by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable seizure and search, and thus didn’t require a warrant.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the government’s searches of Carpenter’s phone records were considered to be a Fourth Amendment search.

He also added that the government’s position fails to compete with the seismic shifts in the digital technology which made it possible to track not only the Carpenter’s location but also everyone else’s, and it is not only for a short period but many years.

Roberts said that allowing government access to the historical GPS data breaches on Carpenter’s Fourth Amendment expectation and protection of privacy, by providing the law enforcement with an all-encompassing record of his situation. He also added that historical GPS data presents an even greater privacy risk than the real-time GPS monitoring.

However, the Carpenter’s attorneys including lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued before the Supreme Court that mobile phone’s location data constitutes sensitive digital records and it should be protected under the Fourth Amendment.

It is a pioneering victory for Americans privacy rights in this digital age, ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, who argued in this case, said in a statement. The Supreme Court has provided the privacy law an update which has been needed badly for many years but finally bringing it in line with the certainty of modern life. The government of US could no longer claim the mere act of using the technology eradicates the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

The mobile phone location data is one of the hot-button issues for the privacy advocates. In May, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, asked the phone service providers that why they were giving away the location data to Securus Technologies, a service which monitors the calls to prison inmates which police might use to track anybody’s phone in the US, without any warrant.

In May, the Federal Communications Commission opened an investigation into the LocationSmart that a company offered phone-tracking capabilities.

Wessler said that now the Supreme Court’s decision sets an instance for every Americans’ phone location data which is being used in criminal investigations.

Wessler also said in a press conference call; It’s not only about Carpenter, but it’s also about the rights of the Americans who own mobile phones which is almost more than the 95 percent of people in the country.


Wyden said that the Friday’s ruling was a welcome step for the privacy and fighting against the growing power of the government observation.

The senator said the court’s acknowledgment that the digital devices can generate or fighting against the near-perfect observation of a person’s personal life is a validation of the critical protections against the unreasonable search and seizure which is provided by our Constitution.

The closing argument was that some of the phone companies could provide customers’ data to law enforcement as they possess those records, not only the person. Throughout the trial, US Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben told the Supreme Court that people would agree to pass over their information to the providers for their services.

Dreeben said last year in November that it is asking a business to provide some information about the business transactions with customers.

Before any trial took place, some of the major tech companies, including the Apple, Facebook, and Google has been filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, influencing the justices to make it harder for the law enforcement officials to attain individuals data without a warrant.

The US Supreme Court said that while the decision will set a ruling for the historical GPS data, but it does not apply to the security cameras, business records or some real-time location tracking.


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About Jeniffer Leio Advanced   Excutive

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Joined APSense since, March 19th, 2018, From Alaska, United States.

Created on Jun 25th 2018 03:31. Viewed 305 times.


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