Score one for the Fourth Amendment

Feb 2011
15,415
9,887
The formerly great golden state
#1
Justices adopt new privacy rules for cellphone tracking

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects' movements by collecting information about where they've used their cellphones.

The justices' 5-4 decision Friday is a victory for privacy in the digital age. Police collection of cellphone tower information has become an important tool in criminal investigations.
Just one tiny baby step towards liberty.
 
Likes: 2 people
Jun 2014
59,999
34,325
Cleveland, Ohio
#4
As an ex Fed and a citizen, I agree with this SCOTUS opinion.
I don't. In my view, CCTV, facial recognition technology, license plate recognition systems, etc. create novel questions of the government's power to invade the privacy of citizens, but not new privacy rights.

What we do in public was always observable and clearly not private. The technology to record and analyze those movements does not change this.

In my mind, these are different from infrared and listening devices that can be directed at buildings, including private homes.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
72,353
40,464
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#5
Carpenter v. United States

My first reaction - before perusing the syllabus - was that the case was fully consistent with Katz which turns out to be the first point the Court addressed.

I think this is the right decision. Absent a constitutional exception, there is no reason the state should be able to get around the warrant requirement.
 
Likes: 3 people

StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
12,077
13,180
Work
#6
I think this is wrongly decided. That data is not controlled by the end user, and there is no reason to impute an expectation of privacy to cell phone users.
Why should we not expect the same level of privacy we had before the invention of cell phones?

Seems like they are saying "No, the government cannot place a tracking device on every citizen which they then get to look at whenever they like. They have to talk to a judge to show it is related to a criminal investigation and get a warrant. That the government didn't place the tracking device on people—but is instead included in a consumer product that is practically a requirement for modern life—is irrelevant. They likewise do not get to listen to phone conversations of anyone at any time. They need a warrant for that too, even though the technology exists to allow those conversations to be listened to at any time."

I think they got it right. Simply because the government promises that they only track people in the investigation of crime isn't sufficient for me to think that they won't use information they collect which doesn't show evidence of a crime. What if, in the course of scooping up data, they find that I am in meetings/discussions with others about having the chief of police indicted for corruption? If I am someone who is outspoken about police malfeasance, does allowing this tracking without a warrant add another tool for crooked police to harass or otherwise humiliate critics?
 
Likes: 1 person

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
72,353
40,464
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#7
Why should we not expect the same level of privacy we had before the invention of cell phones?
I think this illustrates the fundamental point: that technological developments do not render the 4th Amendment, or any other part of the Constitution, irrelevant. It continues to apply to new things.
 
Likes: 5 people
Apr 2015
12,923
2,205
Katmandu
#10
I think this illustrates the fundamental point: that technological developments do not render the 4th Amendment, or any other part of the Constitution, irrelevant. It continues to apply to new things.
You can't even get your own land line phone records without a court order, yet cell companies sell your records, why would they not be treated the same under the law?
 

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