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Fourth Amendment CellPhone Tracking REQUIRES a Warrant.....

Discussion in 'Bill of Rights' started by BTPost, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    US court finds warrantless tracking of mobile phones unconstitutional

    The US government and police regularly pull location data off of cell phone towers or stick GPS trackers on cars to track people and place criminals near crime scenes - often without a warrant.

    In what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls a "huge victory", an appeals court on Wednesday ruled that such warrantless search violates the US Constitution.

    The court - the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, covering Florida, Alabama, and Georgia - ruled that the government illegally obtained Quartavious Davis' mobile phone location data to help convict him in a string of armed robberies in Miami.

    The court further stated, unequivocally, that such location data is protected by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

    From the opinion (PDF), written by Judge David Sentelle:

    In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.

    This ruling comes almost a year after a ruling by the US Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit, which concluded that location data stored on mobile devices is not protected under the Constitution.

    Due to jurisdiction, Wednesday's ruling that such data is in fact Constitutionally protected won't overrule the earlier decision from the Fifth Circuit, but it adds a strong voice to the argument that mobile devices' constant broadcasting of location data should be protected under federal law.

    The ACLU, which argued in favor of the eventual outcome in the Davis case, applauded the decision in a tweet:

    In huge privacy victory, appeals court rules collection of cell location info w/out warrant violates 4thamendment

    In their 38-page decision, the judges looked at diverse facets of intercepting wireless location data, including both as it regards the content, which they said has already been protected:

    ... it cannot be denied that the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures shields the people from the warrantless interception of electronic data or sound waves carrying communications.

    ...as well as the implications of tracking a person's location.

    With regards to tracking a person's location, the court examined the difference between what can be gleaned over a limited tracking time - you can find that a woman went to a gynecologist, for example - and a prolonged tracking time, which creates a "mosaic" of data points that tells a fuller story: for example, a woman went to a gynecologist and then a few weeks later visited a baby supply store.

    The government often relies on such mosaics in cases involving national security. The Supreme Court in the past has observed that in such a context,

    ...what may seem trivial to the uninformed, may appear of great moment to one who has a broad view of the scene and may put the questioned item of information in its proper context.

    What implications might this have for organizations such as the National Security Agency that are using our wireless gadgets to track our movements?

    Not much, unfortunately.

    Specifically, I'm thinking about how the NSA tracks hundreds of millions of mobile phone locations worldwide.

    They'll keep right on doing so, regardless of this ruling, given that the agency has an executive order allowing it to conduct international surveillance as long as it's not constitutionally protected.

    Sorry, rest of the world!


    Understand, That this does NOT mean that LE can't get Tracking Data, or other information from a Persons Cell Phone (Like to find a missing Person, or find a location of a CellPhone, in an Emergency) It just means that in order to be able to USE the Information, as Evidence, in a Court of Law, a Warrant MUST be applied for, and Signed by a Judge, BEFORE the Information or Data is Gathered, or it is UnConstitutional to do so, and any Information or Data gathered would be "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".... Good on the ACLU for this one.... Now apply THIS, to the StingRay Cases, and you begin to see where this is headed....... ......
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2015
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Woo Woo! Good news on the surface. Every step like this helps keep the inevitable at arms length and we can breathe a little longer.

    The secret government operates outside all laws and is beyond accountability. I don't mean the CIA and NSA. They don't have names, none we know. Conspiracy theory or fact? Well, if you know about the CAFR and black budget, the hundred or so D.U.M.B.S. and many thousands of employees shrouded by secret oaths under pain of death, then you will understand how difficult it is to provide irrefutable proof to common people. Just saying.
    Marck, William Antrum and Yard Dart like this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    DUMBS: Democrats Under Many Bad Suits.....?;)
  4. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Let's see
    capture and analyse data
    find something
    apply for warrant
    get warrant based on an 'anonymous' tip and fakeout erm, stakeout
    tune filters .. gain more data
    get the MRAPs and mow the front door down.
    serve warrant
    make arrest
    send 'em to gitmo!

    yep, sounds legit.
    Marck, Mountainman and William Antrum like this.
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Now if they will class the Licenes Plate pictures as illegal!
    William Antrum likes this.
  6. Wheelsucker

    Wheelsucker Out of Airspeed, Altitude & Ideas

    "Can't use in court" <- what court? You are a terrorist. Between that and retroactively constructing evidence to protect "sensitive (illegal) methods, it doesn't mean anything.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It will if the Federal Judge catches them at it.... The persecutor will be Disbarred, just like the bunch that tried that on Teddy Stevens.... When the Federal Judge got done with them, they all lost their Jobs, were disbarred, and even Holder Apologized for their actions. He was going to have them ALL, arrested by the US Marshals, before they struck the Plea Deal. The last place you want to mess with is a Federal Judge, or a US Marshal, who is working for a Federal Judge...... .
    PLA likes this.
  8. William Antrum

    William Antrum GunMetal Monkey

    But what of here in Florida? Not really the feds( BY FEDS I mean US marshall Service) just took a cash of info from local sheriff after ACLU filed freedom of info act PROJECT STINGRAY is legal here for some reason they can take what they want when they want and the feds cover their backside on the turn...the reach around lol
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Read my StingRay thread..... It is a Federal Felony for ANY State or local.Gov entity to operate a StingRay device, anywhere inside US Territory. That is by Federal Statute.... Communications Act of 1934 as amended..... The reason the US Marshals took all that data and files, was so the State & Local LE wouldn't get caught in DIRECT Violation of Federal Law.... Only a Federal Entity can operate such a device in the USA, as they are NOT subject to FCC Rules & Regulations. Their Radio Privileges come thru the Whitehouse Office of Science & Technology. If the State and local LE got caught in using StingRay gathered Information, for gaining ANY Warrant, in any Court, the Warrant would invalid, and and information Gathered, would be "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree". Can you imagine how many cases would be reopened, and thrown out, because of use of these devices, if it could be proven that even the slightest bit of information came from their use? The Feds have been giving these things away like Popcorn, under Police Grants, and under strict secrecy protocols, but no one ever thought to amend CFR47Part90 to make it legal. Now the ACLU has a case in a Florida Federal District Court, that hinges on these specific Points, and it will be very Hard for them to "sweep this all back under the Rug"... They will try, but the "CAT IS NOW, OUT OF THE BAG" and there is no looking back.... Watch the news on these lawsuits, these is just the BEGINNING..... Mark my Words.....
    kellory likes this.
  10. AmericanRedoubt1776

    AmericanRedoubt1776 American Redoubt: Idaho-Montana-Oregon-Wyoming Site Supporter+

    But your smart phone cloud "contents" is a different matter:

    The Biggest Lesson from Microsoft’s Recent Battle with the US Government
    by Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor

    "A court ruling involving Microsoft’s offshore data storage offers an instructive lesson on the long reach of the US government—and what you can do to mitigate this political risk.

    A federal judge recently agreed with the US government that Microsoft must turn over its customer data that it holds offshore if requested in a search warrant. Microsoft had refused because the digital content being requested physically was located on servers in Ireland.

    Microsoft said in a statement that “a US prosecutor cannot obtain a US warrant to search someone’s home located in another country, just as another country’s prosecutor cannot obtain a court order in her home country to conduct a search in the United States.”

    The judge disagreed. She ruled that it’s a matter of where the control of that data is being exercised, not of where the data is physically located.

    This ruling is not at all surprising. It’s long been crystal clear that the US will aggressively claim jurisdiction if the situation in question has even the slightest, vaguest, or most indirect connection. Worse yet, as we’ve seen with the extraterritorial FATCA law, the US is not afraid to impose its own laws on foreign countries.

    One of the favorite pretexts for a US connection is the use of the US dollar. The US government claims that just using the US dollar—which nearly every bank in the world does—gives it jurisdiction, even if there were no other connections to the US. It’s quite obviously a flimsy pretext, but it works.

    Recently the US government fined (i.e., extorted) over $8 billion from BNP Paribas for doing business with countries it doesn’t like. The transactions were totally legal under EU and French law, but illegal under US law. The US successfully claimed jurisdiction because the transactions were denominated in US dollars—there was no other US connection.

    This is not typical of how most governments conduct themselves. Not because they don’t want to, but because they couldn’t get away with it. The US, on the other hand—as the world’s sole financial and military superpower (for now at least)—can get away with it.

    This of course translates into a uniquely acute amount of political risk for anyone who might fall under US jurisdiction somehow, especially American citizens. A prudent person will look to mitigate this risk through international diversification."

    Fair Use Source: The Biggest Lesson from Microsoft’s Recent Battle with the US Government | International Man
  11. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    I like the fact that they are fighting it. I'm not happy with the fact that they HAVE to fight it. I'm also a little disturbed by the fact that on June 2 of this year, Microsoft LIED TO MY FACE about having fought and won every attempt to get data out of an offshore datacenter.
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