YOU AND YOUR CELL….All modern cell phones are equipped with GPS-like capability that allows your location to be tracked within a few meters at all times. Question: does the federal government have access to this tracking information without a warrant? The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information request to find out but the feds refused to respond. So now they’ve joined with the EFF and filed a lawsuit:
The ACLU filed the FOIA request in November following media reports that federal officials were using Americans’ cellular phones to pinpoint their locations without a warrant or any court oversight, the groups said. Some government officials at the time said they did not need probable cause to obtain tracking information from mobile phones. In addition, the reports said some federal law enforcement agents had obtained tracking data from wireless carriers without any court oversight.
….”Signing up for cell phone services should not be synonymous with signing up to be spied on and tracked by the government,” she said in a statement.
….The ACLU and EFF are seeking documents, memos, and guides regarding policies and procedures for cell-phone-based tracking of individuals. The groups also want to know the number of times the government has sought cell-phone location information without court permission and how many times it has obtained the information.
That cell phone tracking should indeed require a warrant hardly seems disputable. That the Department of Justice refuses to explain its policies hardly seems defensible. Good luck to the ACLU and the EFF.