Cops Need a Warrant to Look at Cellphone Location Information, Says Supreme Court

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Montu, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Montu

    Montu [H]ard DCOTM x4

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    In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that cops need a warrant to get a person's past location from wireless carriers. However, this ruling didn't touch on real-time location information to track suspects. Further, I haven't read the majority decision or the dissenting opinion, but I tend to lean towards anything that restricts the government from prying too deeply into my life so I have to say I agree with the ruling at first glance.

    The decision was issued during a time of rising concern over surveillance practices of law enforcement and intelligence agencies and whether companies like wireless carriers care about customer privacy rights. The big four wireless carriers—Verizon Communications, AT&T, T-Mobile US and Sprint—receive tens of thousands of these requests yearly from law enforcement.
     
  2. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    Only tens of thousands?
     
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  3. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Since the CNBC article doesn't link to the fucking decision...

    Here it is. Going to read through it myself and get back to you.
    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-402_h315.pdf

    Opinion of the Court starts on Page 5 and Justice Kennedy's dissenting opinion starts on Page 28.

    Read through Kennedy's opinion. His arguments are the old and tired ones that the 4th Amendment only applies to one's person and physical property, and that historical location data is the property of the cell service provider so is subject to compulsory compliance in providing the government access to business records. Justice Thomas' dissenting opinion starting on Page 51 starts much the same way, referencing Minnesota v. Carter from 1998. Man, I'm used to SCOTUS justices pontificating at length, but this is ridiculous.

    For the record, I can understand the dissenting arguments I've read so far, but I largely agree with the decision. We need to think of our digital footprints much differently than our physical presence. Specifically when it comes to location data it is an invasion of privacy that is not allowing us to be secure in our person as the 4th Amendment provides.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  4. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

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    The interesting things about the dissents here is that they don't really disagree with the conclusion, but instead disagree with the reasoning that the Court used to reach it. For example, Justice Thomas writes in his dissent (page 21):

    Because the Katz test [the precedent that today's ruling is purportedly based on] is a failed experiment, this Court is dutybound to reconsider it. Until it does, I agree with my dissenting colleagues’ reading of our precedents. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent​
     
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  5. Cr4ckm0nk3y

    Cr4ckm0nk3y Gawd

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    All law enforcement should need a warrant to look at anything on or from our devices period.
     
  6. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    About time we have some common sense here.

    I'd like to see a requirement for a warrant to look at ANY electronic data, regardless of where it is stored.
     
  7. bigddybn

    bigddybn [H]ardness Supreme

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    As a guy who works in law enforcement and is directly responsible for a multitude of electronic surveillance systems...

    Well duh. About time.
     
  8. RealBeast

    RealBeast Limp Gawd

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    Ah, just label them terrorists and get a FISA no fuss automatic "warrant" and then have the NSA slip in the back door. :(
     
  9. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

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    Especially since the Obama administration normalized the practice of fabricating evidence of foreign collusion against your political enemies and using it to justify a FISA warrant. Oh well, that's no worse than having the IRS target them, I guess.
     
  10. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

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    maybe law enforcement can open an AD division that uses pro law enforcement employment AD's as secret tracking cookies on everyone.. you know.. like big business does, who dont need to bother with warrants for such info
     
  11. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Gawd

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    Just get your intelligence agencies to get foreign allied intelligence agencies to make up "evidence" against you so you can use that "evidence" to a get a FISA warrant.