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Sixth Circuit rules that law enforcement doesn't need a warrant to track your phone

James Trew, @itstrew
August 15, 2012
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If you go through tin foil like there's no tomorrow (or because you think there's no tomorrow), you might want to head down the store. A recent 2 - 1 ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that law enforcement agencies can obtain cellphone location data, without the need for a warrant. The decision comes after a defendant in a drug-related case claimed protection from his phone's GPS location data being used under the Fourth Amendment. Judge John Rogers stated that the defendant didn't have a reasonable expectation of privacy for data given off by a voluntarily purchased phone, going on to state that if tools used in such crimes give off a trackable signal, police should be allowed to use it. Rogers likened it to the use of dogs tracking a scent, and criminals complaining they didn't know they were giving one off, or that the dog had picked it up. The use of technology in crime prevention, be it police tools, or that belonging to the greater population, has long been a source of complex discussion, and this latest development is unlikely to be the end of it. But for now, at least one guy is rueing his decision to get a better phone. Hit the source for the full case history.

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