Cops May Get Location Data Without Warrants. LGF POLL
There is a dimension I can’t well assess here. The poll below becomes perhaps an indirect vote of confidence, or the lack of it in our police. Big picture? How we feel about the FBI and the executive branch policies as espoused by the President. But I think we want to consider our local guys. The guys that might be needed to enforce court ruling despite federal agency resistance. What do they want here?
But if we had a President, FBI/FBI director and AG we had very high confidence in, would you think “okay no warrant”?
I would humbly submit we understand administrations and agency heads come and go. I would suggest that requiring a warrant best serves the long term interest of the public. Sure it adds some process to law enforcement. That serves to prevent all kinds on mistakes.
Excerpt from wired from here.
Still, suspects in these types of cases often claim that by accessing their cell phone data without probable cause or a warrant, law enforcement is violating their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. In some instances courts have agreed with these arguments, resulting in a patchwork of guidance governing how the data can be used. For instance, in Commonwealth v. Augustine, Massachusetts’ highest court ruled that the government’s acquisition of this data should require a warrant. Meanwhile, four Courts of Appeals have opined on the issue, and only one, the Fourth Court of Appeals, deemed it necessary for government to obtain a warrant first.
These divergent rulings mean that a person could travel to four different states and have widely varying levels of privacy protection for the information collected in each places. In some instances, location-specific data can be fully protected, in others not at all. In one state, law enforcement may only be able to access historical data, and in another they may be able to track a person in real-time.
Six states—California, Utah, Montana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine—currently require a warrant for all cell-site location information. Illinois, New Jersey, and Indiana require warrants for real-time tracking only. Thirty-three states have no binding authority or explicitly allow for law enforcement to access this data without a warrant. That is more than half of US states that offer no protection for extremely personal information.