Monday, June 5, 2017

Supreme Court to decide if a warrant is needed to track a suspect through cellphone records

The Supreme Court will decide next term whether law enforcement authorities need a warrant to track suspects through their cellphone records, the justices announced Monday.

The decision to accept the case involving cellphone tower records comes after lower courts have said that decades-old privacy rulings by the Supreme Court may need to be updated to account for society’s reliance on rapidly changing technology.

The case involves a convicted robber named Timothy Carpenter, who was found guilty partly on the basis of months of cellphone location records turned over without a warrant.

“Because cellphone location records can reveal countless private details of our lives, police should only be able to access them by getting a warrant based on probable cause,” said Nathan Freed Wessler, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Carpenter. “The time has come for the Supreme Court to make clear that the long-standing protections of the Fourth Amendment apply with undiminished force to these kinds of sensitive digital records.”

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