Obama Administration Urges Freer Access to Cell Phone Records
The Congress should pass a law to give investigators freer access to cell phone records, an Obama administration official said on Thursday in remarks that raised concern among advocates of civil liberties and privacy.
The Supreme Court this year ruled a warrant was needed to put a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s vehicle, prompting questions about other instances where probable-cause warrants were needed to obtain information in the rapidly changing world of mobile devices.
Federal courts around the country are split on whether to require warrants, said Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s criminal division.
While prosecutors have been told to get warrants to put a tracking device on a vehicle, they should not be needed to obtain data from cell phone towers about the movements of a suspect, Weinstein said.