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The Supreme court has just delivered a new judgement that prohibits warrantless seizure of location records by the police.
The case, Carpenter v. United States was decided on 5 – 4 margin, a slim one, om the issue of whether a user could expect a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding location records held by a third party. This would trigger fourth amendment protections if the court ruled in the affirmative.
“Given the unique nature of cell phone location records, the fact that the information is held by a third party does not by itself overcome the user’s claim to Fourth Amendment protection,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in his delivery of the majority opinion. It was ruled that the Location Information obtained by police should generally be a considered search — as it is private information — triggering probable cause warrant requirement to obtain such records. Location records are extremely sensitive, and chronicle “a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment, over several years.” said the court.
“This is a groundbreaking victory for Americans’ privacy rights in the digital age.“The Supreme Court has given privacy law an update that it has badly needed for many years, finally bringing it in line with the realities of modern life.,” the ACLU said today.