DOJ Official Says Requiring a Warrant to Track Cellphones Would ‘Cripple’ Criminal Investigations
- Category: Uncensored News
- Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 21:55
With the Supreme Court deciding earlier this year that it was unconstitutional for law enforcement to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle without a warrant, location tracking of cellphones without permission has since been called into question.
At the State of the Mobile Net conference for the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee last week, a deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department and privacy advocates discussed just how the government and authorities should be able to use mobile phone data. The discussion hoped to address “whether the government needs a warrant to obtain our location from cell phone records and other location devices that we already have in our pockets and in our cars.” Several federal circuit courts have heard cases on this topic already and have been split in their decisions.
The discussion panel was between Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein and Greg Nojeim with the Center for Democracy & Technology. In the talk, Weinstein advocated for even freer access to mobile phone data for authorities, stating that requiring a warrant for this data would “cripple” criminal investigations.
PC World reports Nojeim pointing out in the GPS tracking case of United States v. Jones not one of the Supreme Court justices voted in favor of its constitutionality. He said that the whole reason this discussion was currently taking place was because “criminals are not taking over the country.”
Still, PC World points out as of right now many cell phone carriers are more than happy to pony up your information:
[...] selling cell phone surveillance records is a big money-making business for mobile phone companies that have special divisions and manuals to assist law enforcement in nabbing our info. The wireless industry is not transparency-friendly and mobile carrier companies do not want to report the number of times location info is disclosed, contested, or the number of users whose location data was handed over to Johnny Law. In fact, according to the Wireless Association (CTIA), a wireless trade association that includes AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, the proposed reporting requirements ”unduly burden wireless providers and their employees, who are working day and night to assist law enforcement to ensure the public’s safety and to save lives.“ The EFF bluntly pointed out that the wireless industry is ” working day and night ” to sell you out in secret.
Earlier this month,