Saturday, September 13, 2008
Government can't track locations of cell communications without warrants
A federal judge has limited the right of the government to require cell phone and telecommunications companies to reveal the location of use of a cell phone (and probably of an Internet connection on a cell phone or wireless laptop). The government must get a warrant from a judge showing probable cause.
The government maintains that this hinders criminal investigations in comparison to pre-Internet situations in the real world.
Cell phone users generally like the idea or naïve belief that others do not know where they are when they respond to cell phone calls, although that is not always true.
The ruling came from Terrence V. McVerry in western Pennsylvania and also involved the locations of cell telephone towers.
The Washington Post story appeared Feb 12, is authored by Ellen Nakashima, on p A2, and the link is here.
Conceivably, the government could want to sample the location of wireless communications in monitoring net neutrality was well.
Curious, the new Dreamworks film "Eagle Eye" builds on the assumption that the government tracks people geographically by cell phone all the time.