Location Tracking

Status of Location Privacy Legislation in the States

Status of Location Privacy Legislation in the States

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 12:00am

In the wake of the NSA revelations, there has been an avalanche of state bills requiring law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking an individual’s location in an investigation. Most state legislators know they can’t control the NSA—but they can control their state and local law enforcement, which are engaging in some of the same invasive practices. The trend actually started in the wake of the ACLU’s nationwide public records requests on location tracking and the 2012 U.S. v. Jones decision, when Montana and Maine enacted the first two location tracking laws in the country—the recent revelations have simply increased the momentum.

Working closely with our lobbyists in state capitols around the country, we’ve been tracking this activity and working hard to make sure these privacy-protective bills become law. The chart below shows the current status of state legislation as we understand it. We will keep this chart up-to-date as we receive new information.

Modification of image by jpstanley with map by jepoirrier via Flickr

Cell Tower Dumps: Another Surveillance Technique, Another Set of Unanswered Questions

By Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:58am

Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, and several other agencies asking for information about a surveillance technique known as a “cell tower dump.” If you’re wondering what that…

Crop of photo by Arlo Bates via Flickr

Utah Enacts Significant Location and Communications Privacy Bill

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:53pm

On Monday, Utah became the first state to enact legislation simultaneously protecting location information and electronic communications content, regardless of age, from government access—ensuring that state and local law enforcement can only access…

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:01am

Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers,…

VICTORY! Federal Appeals Court Rules Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

VICTORY! Federal Appeals Court Rules Warrant Required for GPS Tracking

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:59pm

Today the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement agents must obtain a warrant based on probable cause to attach a GPS device to a car and track its movements. The case, United States v. Katzin, is the first in which a federal appeals…

Cops outraged about GPS tracking plans in Boston

Cops outraged about GPS tracking plans in Boston

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 2:42pm

Boston Police Department bosses want to install GPS monitoring devices in every patrol car, to enable dispatch to more efficiently process 911 calls. But police officers and their union are outraged, saying that the ubiquitous tracking is too invasive…

Appeals Court Rules Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Cell Phone Location Data

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 3:25pm

Yesterday the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unfortunate and legally incorrect decision holding that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection against warrantless cell phone tracking. Although couched in language stating narrowly that the…

A Creeping Private-Sector “Checkpoint Society”—and a Small Step to Protect Your Privacy

A Creeping Private-Sector “Checkpoint Society”—and a Small Step to Protect Your Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:03pm

I was at a Target store recently and threw a bottle of wine in my cart to bring as a gift to a party. Later, when I got to the register, the cashier asked to see my ID. That in itself was silly, because it’s safe to say I’m a few years…

Photo: LDProd/Shutterstock

Fighting Against Phony Location Privacy Protections in the States

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 9:44am

A new battleground has opened up in the war over who has access to our electronic data trails: legislation is now being debated in states across the country to require a warrant for law enforcement access to location information in criminal investigations.…

Supreme Court GPS Ruling: Bringing the 4th Amendment Into the 21st Century

Supreme Court GPS Ruling: Bringing the 4th Amendment Into the 21st Century

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:05pm

On Monday the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision protecting privacy in the digital age. In U.S. v. Jones, a unanimous Supreme Court held that the police and FBI violated the Fourth Amendment when they attached a GPS device to Antoine Jones’s…

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