Bloomberg Law: Privacy & Data Security brings you single-source access to the expertise of Bloomberg Law’s privacy and data security editorial team, contributing practitioners,...
By Jimmy H. Koo
Oct. 28 — Law enforcement should be forced to always get a search warrant to identify a mobile phone user’s movements based on cell tower records, a privacy advocacy group told the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 28 ( Graham v. United States, U.S., No. 16-6308, friend of the court brief filed 10/28/16 ).
In the first friend of the court brief filed in the case, the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation urged the Supreme Court to grant review because mobile phone location data implicates the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
U.S. citizens “have the right to expect location data generated from their cell phones is private and protected by the Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures,” EFF said in a statement Oct. 28.
In the case, defendant Aaron Graham was convicted of armed robbery after being implicated by mobile phone location data that tied him to the stores that were robbed. The government was able to get the information by mining mobile phone provider records.
A federal district court denied Graham's bid to suppress the location data.
A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit panel held Aug. 5, 2015 that police must have a search warrant before they compel mobile phone service providers to turn over data that locates suspect's physical movements.
But the full Fourth Circuit overturned the panel ruling May 31, holding that individuals don't enjoy any Fourth Amendment protection for information they voluntarily turn over to third parties—in this case mobile phone service providers. The full appeals court said that mobile phone users know that when placing a call, the phone exposes its location to the nearest cell tower.
Urging the Supreme Court to review the case, EFF, along with the Brennan Center for Justice, the Center for Democracy & Technology, The Constitution Project and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, cited a 2012 decision in which the Supreme Court held that global positioning system tracking is a search under the Fourth Amendment ( United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012)).
Cell-site location information “can give law enforcement far more information about a person’s movement than GPS tracking—cell phones go everywhere their owners go,” EFF said in a statement announcing the filing of the brief.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Text of EFF's brief is available at https://www.eff.org/document/eff-petition-graham-v-us
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)