40 votes

In Major Privacy Win, Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrant To Track Your Cellphone

10 comments

  1. Pilgrim
    Link
    Seems like a big win for privacy advocates (and really all American's IMO).

    The chief justice said that this sort of tracking information is akin to wearing an electronic ankle-bracelet monitoring device and that the citizens of the country are protected from that kind of monitoring unless police can show a judge that there is probable cause of a crime that justifies it.

    Seems like a big win for privacy advocates (and really all American's IMO).

    14 votes
  2. [3]
    Catt
    Link
    Glad the courts are finally catching up a bit. Wonder how it applies in emergency situations like looking for a missing person or people being trapped under rubble or something. Though for the...

    Glad the courts are finally catching up a bit. Wonder how it applies in emergency situations like looking for a missing person or people being trapped under rubble or something. Though for the latter case, I believe they just ring the phone, and listen for it.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      zyeri
      Link Parent
      From the article:

      Wonder how it applies in emergency situations like looking for a missing person or people being trapped under rubble or something.

      From the article:

      Chief Justice Roberts cast the decision as a narrow one. He said it does not disturb "the routine use" of subpoenas to obtain financial, bank and other business records, nor does it prevent police from obtaining cell location records without a warrant in emergency circumstances, such as when police are faced with a fleeing suspect, a kidnapping or threats of imminent danger.

      9 votes
      1. Catt
        Link Parent
        It's actually that wording that I find vague. If you can use it to track a fleeing suspect, what does it mean that you need a warrant to track your cell? And are they differenting between data...

        It's actually that wording that I find vague. If you can use it to track a fleeing suspect, what does it mean that you need a warrant to track your cell? And are they differenting between data from a cell phone and a cell tower?

        2 votes
  3. [4]
    balooga
    Link
    Does this apply to use of Stingrays and other IMSI catchers or cell site simulators? Or are LEOs likely to regard those as separate classifications and claim exemption?

    Does this apply to use of Stingrays and other IMSI catchers or cell site simulators? Or are LEOs likely to regard those as separate classifications and claim exemption?

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      FrozenInferno
      Link Parent
      I doubt it, since law enforcement still won't acknowledge that they use stingrays in the first place.

      I doubt it, since law enforcement still won't acknowledge that they use stingrays in the first place.

      9 votes
      1. balooga
        Link Parent
        😩 I so hope you're wrong (but I bet you're exactly right).

        😩

        I so hope you're wrong (but I bet you're exactly right).

        5 votes
    2. jeff
      Link Parent
      Hopefully it sets a precedent to support future decisions on that topic. I’m honestly quite surprised, but thrilled, by this decision. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to go that way. It’s...

      Hopefully it sets a precedent to support future decisions on that topic. I’m honestly quite surprised, but thrilled, by this decision. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to go that way. It’s refreshing to see the disparity between the current state of technology now vs when our constitution was written, taken into serious consideration in court rulings.

      3 votes
  4. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. nacho
      Link Parent
      Several of the opinions were fascinating. What Gorsuch specifically does is highlight the elephant in the room: The constitution is a product of its time (outdated), vague and inflexible. Modern...

      Several of the opinions were fascinating. What Gorsuch specifically does is highlight the elephant in the room:

      The constitution is a product of its time (outdated), vague and inflexible. Modern political climate makes it seemingly impossible to make changes to the constitution.

      In fact, we still don’t even know what its “reasonable expectation of privacy” test is. Is it supposed to pose an empirical question (what privacy expectations do people actually have) or a normative one (what expectations should they have)? Either way brings problems. If the test is supposed to be an empirical one, it’s unclear why judges rather than legislators should conduct it. Legislators are responsive to their constituents and have institutional resources designed to help them discern and enact majoritarian preferences. Politically insulated judges come armed with only the attorneys’ briefs, a few law clerks, and their own idiosyncratic experiences. They are hardly the representative group you’d expect (or want) to be making empirical judgments for hundreds of millions of people. Unsurprisingly, too, judicial judgments often fail to reflect public views.

      That's a mic drop. Except it isn't because he goes even further:

      When judges abandon legal judgment for political will we not only risk decisions where “reasonable expectations of privacy” come to bear “an uncanny resemblance to those expectations of privacy” shared by Members of this Court. We also risk undermining public confidence in the courts themselves.


      I mean you can agree with his "more traditional Fourth Amendment approach" or not, but the spectrum covered by these opinions is huge.

      Gorsuch is in one extreme:

      He [defending laywer] did not invoke the law of property or any analogies to the common law, either there or in his petition for certiorari. [...] In these circumstances, I cannot help but conclude—reluctantly—that Mr. Carpenter forfeited perhaps his most promising line of argument.

      Gorsuch has to go on a historical search back to common law of 1791 to figure out how we should regulate 21st century digital technology. Not current societal expectations.


      That shows the crazy state of the Bill of Rights and the constitution in general: A Supreme court justice on the bench for a year and two months has given up on the legislative branch being able to fix shit because the constitution and constitutional jurisprudence is broken.

      His best solution is to guess at what our great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers ( 8 generations ago) and their parents might have thought about GPS, smartphones, metadata and so on.


      !

      4 votes
  5. annadane
    Link
    Really, the problem with pro surveillance advocates is twofold; a) how rare a problem terrorism actually is, at least to the extent that you need NSA style surveillance and can't be intercepted...

    Really, the problem with pro surveillance advocates is twofold; a) how rare a problem terrorism actually is, at least to the extent that you need NSA style surveillance and can't be intercepted with the usual investigative techniques b) the fact that surveillance invariably gets abused.

    5 votes