Cell Phone Privacy is a sensitive topic in the digital era we’re living in especially when the law is involved. One of the biggest cases that is being fought in the Supreme Court is the Carpenter v. the United States, which will settle the dispute whether the police and government-related agencies be allowed to initiate in warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records along with having their locations tracked by police at all times. Naturally, as someone who uses there phone on a daily basis, the thought of having your every movement tracked is definitely enough to make anyone uncomfortable.
Interested in surveillance and privacy? Our own @cfarivar has the book for you this spring. We imagine his story archives—including this surprising stingray case in Oakland—may offer some hints at what's in store: https://t.co/u4prKtXoX8 https://t.co/XfFWCty7zs
— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) January 30, 2018
In most cases, an appeal such as this would have passed but it turns out that quite a few tech companies have decided to make sure such a thing doesn’t come to happen. Tech companies have made their stance clear on the issue and argue that greater protections for individuals’ cell phone privacy are necessary especially considering the sensitive information that might be on an individual’s mobile phone which if seized or searched without a warrant would go against the 4th amendment.
Loveland plans to track cell phone use to monitor traffic flow. Drivers worry about losing their privacy. https://t.co/QSZxBCQhCx
— The Denver Post (@denverpost) December 17, 2017
Some of the biggest tech companies filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court on Monday stating that Government officials should have a warrant before seizing or accessing data on an individual’s phone as well as tracking their location – which is how it should be. The 44-page friend-of-the-court brief was signed by companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Verizon along with multiple others which stressed that greater privacy protections are needed as companies increasingly collect user data by way of digital technologies.
According to a passage from the brief “That users rely on technology companies to process their data for limited purposes does not mean that they expect their intimate data to be monitored by the government without a warrant,”
— R Street Institute (@RSI) February 1, 2018
Cell phone location data has become a crucial part of an investigation in recent years since it can determine an individual’s location by finding phones using signals coming from cell towers. Cell phone companies are contacted to trace a cell phone user based on their usage history with requests from police and other government agencies tied to investigations. Considering a cell phone is something that people have on them almost all the time it goes against the Fourth Amendment which states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Lively debate today at Scotus on cell phone privacy: https://t.co/ijJqpO3L2x
— Ariane de Vogue (@Arianedevogue) November 29, 2017
The government tracking your phones without any warrant is without a doubt a major violation of privacy but with some of the biggest tech companies taking notice of the issue, this might be prevented for good. We’ll keep you updated as soon as there is any response from the Supreme Court.