An Appeals Court Just Robbed Us of Our Cellphone Privacy
An appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on May 30 that police and federal authorities are free to seek the location data of cellphone users from telecommunications companies without obtaining a search warrant.
Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept reports:
Research clearly shows that cell site location data collected over time can reveal a tremendous amount of personal information — like where you live, where you work, when you travel, who you meet with, who you sleep with. And it’s impossible to make a call without giving up your location to the cellphone company.
“Supreme Court precedent mandates this conclusion,” Judge Diana Motz wrote in the majority opinion. “For the Court has long held that an individual enjoys no Fourth Amendment protection ‘in information he voluntarily turns over to [a] third part[y].’” The quote was from the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith V. Maryland.
The 5th, 6th, and 11th circuits have reached the same conclusion.
However, there’s been a lot of disagreement within the lower courts and among privacy advocates that the third party doctrine is consistent with the way people live their lives in the digital age — primarily on their cellphones. …
… three judges in the minority wrote a strongly worded dissent.
“Only time will tell whether our society will prove capable of preserving age-old privacy protections in this increasingly networked era. But one thing is sure: this Court’s decision today will do nothing to advance that effort. I dissent,” Judge James Wynn wrote, joined by Henry Floyd and Stephanie Thacker.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.Wait, before you go…
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