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Proposed Federal Law Demands Probable-Cause Warrants For Geolocation Data

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Proposed Federal Law Demands Probable-Cause Warrants For Geolocation Data

Postby sunnyd » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:19 am

Story :

Just over a year ago, the US Supreme Court declined to clear up the nationwide legal confusion regarding whether the Constitution requires authorities to get a probable-cause court warrant to obtain cell-site location data records of suspects under investigation.

The federal circuit courts of appeal and the lower courts have been all over the map when it comes to this bread-and-butter privacy issue. Even AT&T has said it was confused about the law, and it has demanded clarity on the issue. To that end, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday that seeks to answer the question once and for all: the government would need probable-cause warrants to obtain geolocation data on suspects.

"Outdated laws shouldn't be an excuse for open season on tracking Americans, and owning a smartphone or fitness tracker shouldn’t give the government a blank check to track your movements," Sen. Ron Wyden, a democrat of Oregon, said of the legislation he's co-sponsoring.

Consider cell-site tracking, even via stingrays that simulate cell sites. This type of spying has become an important surveillance tool in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court's 2012 ruling that the authorities need a warrant to place GPS trackers on vehicles.

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