May 24, 2013

Police Should Get a Warrant Before Tracking Our Cellphones, says ACLU of Maine

May 23, 2013

CONTACT: 212-549-2666,

AUGUSTA, Maine  The Maine Senate voted tonight to protect the privacy of Mainers by requiring police to get a warrant before engaging in cell phone tracking. LD 415, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, will require a warrant for law enforcement to engage in location tracking of cell phones and other GPS-enabled devices in non-emergency situations. The amended bill waives the warrant requirement in emergencies and delays the notice requirement for 180 days at a time where notice would have an "adverse result" on the investigation. While some police departments around the country obtain a warrant before accessing an individual’s present or historical location information, there has been no statewide standard in Maine.

“The Senate took a decisive stand for the Constitution and the privacy of all Mainers by passing this important bill,’” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “Cell phones and GPS devices are unavoidable necessities of modern life for most people, and using them should not make us subject to unchecked monitoring by the police. This bill puts privacy protections in place while allowing the police to do their jobs to keep us safe.”

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