Cellphones are among the most powerful tools we have today. They allow us to communicate through various means and hold a lot of information. When it comes to privacy, people go through the motions to make sure the information on their cellphones is kept private, especially from police. The information on cellphones could be what makes a case stick for police investigating an individual. In August, Don Diva reported that police needed a warrant to search your cell phone, but a recent ruling in a California federal court fortifies our right to privacy even further.
As it stands, police can search the records of cellphones, including your location history without a warrant from the courts. On Monday, Judge Susan Illston of California’s Northern District ruled against this, citing that individuals had “a reasonable expectation of privacy in their historical location data collected by cellphone providers.” Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution in the Bill of Rights, the data that cellphone towers collect is protected.
Though this ruling is specific to California currently, it is being seen as a huge victory for the digital rights movement. It isn’t the first time this notion has been exercised in the courts. According to Motherboard:
This opinion seems to confirm a trend toward more privacy protections when it comes to cellphone location data. In June of last year, the Eleventh Circuit held that historical cell -site data is protected by the 4th Amendment, disagreeing with a 2013 decision from the Fifth Circuit.
This issue pertaining to the privacy of information on cellphones has also been handled on the state level in several spots. Montana and Maine are examples of states that have passed laws forcing law enforcement to get warrants to search for location data.