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Court Rules That Warrant is Not Required to Obtain Cellphone Location Data

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access the location data records of individuals from phone companies. The court found that court orders authorized by the Stored Communications Act that make cell phone providers share the historical location data of customers are not unconstitutional as the The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation had argued.

According to the court, cell phone location records are not protected under the Fourth Amendment because they are not the private records of individuals but rather the business records of cell phone companies. The ACLU was disappointed with the decision. ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump wrote on the ACLU blog:

Cell phone companies store records on where each of us have been, often stretching back for years. That location information is sensitive and can reveal a great deal—what doctors people visit, where they spend the night, who their friends are, and where they worship.

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