Court: Warrantless Cell Tracking Illegal

    A woman is reflected in a window as she talks on a smartphone in the financial district in San Francisco, California November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS TELECOMS) - RTX152W1

    Robert Galbraith/Reuters

    A panel of three federal judges ruled Wednesday that investigators are required to get a search warrant if they want to use cellphone tracking data. “While committing a crime is certainly not within a legitimate expectation of privacy, if the cell site location data could place him near those scenes, it could place him near any other scene,” the judges decided. “There is a reasonable privacy interest in being near the home of a lover, or a dispensary of medication, or a place of worship, or a house of ill repute.” Therefore, the police will now need a court order to obtain the records. The case involved Quartavious Davis, who was sentenced to 162 years in prison for multiple violent armed robberies. Prosecutors had used cellphone-tower data to place him near the robberies. However, the court did not overturn his sentence in its ruling. The ruling will apply to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

    Read it at The Guardian