Cell Phones & Smartphones

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:16pm
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering a case that could be pivotal in determining whether the government needs a warrant to track your cell phone. Today the ACLU, together with the ACLU of Maryland, Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed an amicus brief arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires the government get a warrant to find out everywhere a person has been for the past seven months. In the case, United States v. Graham, the government obtained a staggering 221 days of historical cell site location information for two suspects. For one suspect, Aaron Graham, this timespan allowed the government to sweep up his location at 29,659 specific points. (You can see our brief here, and see here a document we filed that shows all of Sprint's cell sites in the Baltimore area.)
Court Says No GPS Tracking? How About Cell Phone Tracking?

Court Says No GPS Tracking? How About Cell Phone Tracking?

By Sarah Roberts, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:55pm

After the Supreme Court ruled the police cannot attach a GPS device to a suspect's car to track them, law enforcement is trying to use cell phone location data to get the same information.

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too

By Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 6:33pm

The Siri “personal assistant” is sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases.

Massachusetts High Court to Become Latest to Rule on Warrant Requirement for Cell Phone Tracking

Massachusetts High Court to Become Latest to Rule on Warrant Requirement for Cell Phone Tracking

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 3:24pm

Should the police be required to get a warrant in order to monitor our location via our cell phones?

Massachusetts’ highest court is likely to answer this critical question when it rules on Commonwealth vs. Shabazz Augustine. The ACLU is…

Apple, Drone Strikes, and the Limits of Censorship

Apple, Drone Strikes, and the Limits of Censorship

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:55pm

Wired reported last week that the Apple App Store has rejected an app that compiles news reports in order to map overseas U.S. drone strikes, and provide users a pop-up notification whenever a drone strike has been reported.

Apple rejected…

Shutting Down Cell Service During Protests: The Constitutional Dimension

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 8:19am

The Bay Area Rapid Transit System (“BART,” for short) has a serious public relations problem. BART Police have been involved in three fatal shootings of BART passengers in the past three years, including the Oscar Grant incident in 2009,…

Even After Supreme Court GPS Decision, Feds Still Want Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

Even After Supreme Court GPS Decision, Feds Still Want Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

By Sarah Roberts, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 8:34pm

Even after January's landmark Supreme Court decision cast significant doubt on the government’s ability to electronically track a person’s location without a warrant, the Justice Department continues to defend this practice. On Friday,…

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:27am

A federal magistrate judge in New York recently ruled that cell phone location data deserves no protection under the Fourth Amendment and that accordingly, the government can engage in real-time location surveillance without a search warrant. In an opinion straight from the Twilight Zone, magistrate judge Gary Brown ruled two weeks ago that “cell phone users who fail to turn off their cell phones do not exhibit an expectation of privacy.”

The case in question involved a physician who the DEA believed had issued thousands of prescriptions for pain killers in exchange for cash. In March of this year, the DEA had obtained a warrant for his arrest, and,

Email, Companies and Social Norms

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:51am

I wanted to make note of an interesting anomaly in a new survey that looks at Americans’ attitudes toward the privacy issues implicated by the use of mobile phones to pay for things (instead of cash or a credit card).

The survey (which…

How the Supreme Court's GPS Tracking Case Can Affect Your Cell Phone Privacy

How the Supreme Court's GPS Tracking Case Can Affect Your Cell Phone Privacy

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:34pm

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will confront the profound impact of new location-tracking technologies on Americans' privacy.

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