The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled (pdf) that law enforcement agencies can obtain cellphone location data, without the need for a warrant.
The decision comes after a defendant in a drug-related case claimed protection from his phone’s GPS location datax being used under the Fourth Amendment.
Judge John Rogers stated that the defendant didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy for data given off by a voluntarily purchased phone, going on to state that if tools used in such crimes give off a trackable signal, police should be allowed to use it.
The court’s ruling stands in stark contrast to a ruling made earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court on GPS tracking, says C/Net. The high court ruled in a unanimous decision that law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant in order to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle.
The ACLU has argued repeatedly that the Fourth Amendment provides protections against warrantless cell phone tracking, particularly continuous tracking over prolonged periods of time such as the three days at issue in Skinner’s case.