Call it a landmark victory or whatever you’d like, but a US appeals court has just ruled that police must now have a warrant to track your cellular location. According to the 11th Circuit, “cell site location information” is within everyone’s reasonable expectation of privacy and thus, a 4th amendment right.
“In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.”
While this ruling wont overturn last year’s completely opposite 5th Circuit ruling (separate districts you see), it’s a start. If nothing else, this goes to show you the the uncertainty that still exists with 21st century privacy, an issue far from being defined. In a statement, the ACLU said about the ruling:
“The court’s opinion is a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment’s continuing vitality in the digital age. The court soundly repudiates the government’s argument that by merely using a cell phone, people somehow surrender their privacy rights.”
We should also note that this is only regarding cellular location information and not that of GPS satellites. We hope this is only the the start of much broader phone location information privacy, cellular, GPS, or otherwise. What are you guys’ thoughts on the matter?