Wednesday, April 04, 2012

local popo tracking cellphones without warrants...,

WaPo | Local police departments across the country are tracking cellphones without a warrant, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU surveyed about 200 state and local law enforcement agencies across the country and found that only a handful of them said they obtained “warrants based on probable cause” before tracking cellphones. Most other agencies had laxer standards for tracking cellphones. In Lincoln, Neb., for instance, local police can obtain the GPS location of cellphone users “without demonstrating probable cause,” the group said in a statement.

As a result, the ACLU concludes that there are “unclear or inconsistent legal standards from town to town that frequently fall short of probable cause,” questioning whether the practice is constitutional.

In correspondence with the ACLU, the D.C. police acknowledged using cellphone data, including location information, but declined to release the legal standards it uses for obtaining cellphone location records, saying such matters were “law enforcement sensitive” and thus should not be made publicly available.

Fritz Mulhauser, staff attorney for the ACLU’s local branch for the District of Columbia, says the local police offered a few more details about their cellphone tracking policy after being pressed by a local council member. “Chief Lanier on February 24 acknowledged in a letter before the agency annual performance oversight hearing that MPD had sought 684 cell location records in the 20 months before that date,” said Mulhauser, noting that the ACLU's original query yielded “little information.”

Congress is considering a bipartisan bill that would require police to obtain a warrant to track cellphones or GPS devices, as well as banning phone companies from sharing such data without their customers’ consent. “The lack of legal clarity surrounding the use of electronically obtained location data, also known as geolocation information, means that there are no clear rules for how this data can be used, accessed or sold by law enforcement, commercial entities or private citizens,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a news release last June when he introduced the bill.

8 comments:

Uglyblackjohn said...

Dude, check out 'Skybubble'.
My cousin just got caught with her boyfriend after his wife used the technology to track his ass to her house.

CNu said...

rotflmbao...., what would Uncle Ruckus say?

Big Don said...

OTOH, you don't have to leave the fkg thing turned ON.  

A cellfone is little more than a crutch for poor planning.  How did the world survive until 15 yrs or so ago when no one had cellfones...??

Gee Chee Vision said...

Now I'm sure I remember seeing on the news some time last year controversy about cellphone charges over GPS tracking systems that emergency services were not putting to use, but your mistress can check to see if you're at the office or not.

Tom said...


A cellfone is little more than a crutch for poor planning. 


No, a cell phone is a little telephone you can carry around with you.

Gee Chee Vision said...

Even the option of talking person/cell to person/cell has expanded to person/cell via facebook to person/cell via facebook.

I do remember a time having 8 or 9 seven-digit phone numbers stored in my head. Now I can do a few jersey numbers and such.

Big Don said...

No, a cell phone is a little telephone you can carry around with you, until you lose it or it gets stolen, for $100+ per month more than one safely hardwired into your residence....

Tom said...

I pay more like $100 per year, but don't let me rain on your parade.