Police State/Civil Liberties

Obama Administration Says It’s Legal To Track Citizens’ Every Movement Without A Warrant

Business Insider

The Obama Administration will argue today that warrantless  tracking of the location of Americans’ mobile devices is perfectly legal,  Declan McCullagh of CNET  reports.

In 2010 a court ruled  against government requests for mobile location data, declaring that “[c]ompelled warrantless disclosure of cell site data violates the Fourth  Amendment.”

On appeal federal prosecutors are asserting that they should be able to  obtain records revealing the movements of mobile users over a 60-day period,  even if the phones are off, without first having to ask a judge to approve a  warrant.

The Justice Department argued  in February that its position is “consistent with the Fourth Amendment  because a customer has no privacy interest” in GPS location records since that  information has been “voluntarily conveyed” to the wireless provider.

The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable search and seizure,” and  while it’s unclear if a citizen’s cell phone data is protected, the ACLU reports  that all levels of law enforcement routinely  track cell phones.

In July Congressman Edward J. Markey released a report  revealing that authorities made 1.3  million requests to wireless carriers for customer  information last year, and said that the number  of requests is increasing every year.

McCullagh reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),  which is arguing the pro-privacy side before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,  will bank on the January opinion of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in  a case that found police installation of a physical GPS bug on a car for 28  days violated the Fourth Amendment.

In the majority  opinion, Scalia said: “It may be that achieving the same result  through electronic means, without an accompanying trespass, is an  unconstitutional invasion of privacy, but the present case does not require us  to answer that question.”

This case will most likely require it as EFF lawyer Predicts  Fakhoury told CNET that this is “exactly the type of situation the  Supreme Court is going to get involved in.”

SEE ALSO: Police  Obtain A Ridiculous Amount Of Information On Innocent Americans >

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/government-says-its-to-track-cell-phones-2012-10#ixzz28L8DKQEh

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