The Government Can No Longer

Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

The government and police regularly use location data pulled off of cell phone towers to put criminals at the scenes of crimes—often without a warrant. Well, an appeals court ruled today that the practice is unconstitutional, in one of the strongest judicial defenses of technology privacy rights we’ve seen in a while.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the government illegally obtained and used Quartavious Davis’s cell phone location data to help convict him in a string of armed robberies in Miami and unequivocally stated that cell phone location information is protected by the Fourth Amendment.

“In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” the court ruled in an opinion written by Judge David Sentelle. “The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.”

Sentelle is a Reagan appointee to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, generally considered to be the second most important court after the Supremes, so the decision will likely be considered to be precedential.

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Protecting The 4th Amendment

5 Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even if You Have Nothing to Hide)

One key point:

If you refuse a search, however, the officer will have to prove in court that there was probable cause to do a warrantless search. This will give your lawyer a good chance to win your case, but this only works if you said “no” to the search.

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It’s the judiciary, stupid

The RW gets this. The LW doesn’t.

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Montana Supreme Court’s decision in December upholding the state’s century-old ban on corporate political spending.


So much for “state’s rights”. You won’t hear a single Republican or Libertarian howling about this decision. Because it’s not designed to keep minorities down.

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Howler Of The Day

If you don’t think the GOP wants to pack the courts to favor the corps and authoritarianism, you’d be mistaken.

The reason why Kagan has no previous judicial experience is because the Senate Republicans who now complain about her lack of judicial experience are the very people who thwarted her efforts to gain such experience. Orrin Hatch complains that she has never been a judge – but in 1999, when Kagan was tapped to fill a vacant seat on the federal court of appeals, it was Orrin Hatch, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who blocked her nomination in the first place.

As the ’99 news coverage makes clear, Kagan was nominated that June by President Clinton for a seat on the federal appeals court based in the District of Columbia. She never made it to the Senate floor for a vote. Actually, it was worse than that. She never made it to the Judiciary Committee for a committee vote. Actually, it was worse than that. She never got a chance to testify, because Hatch wouldn’t even agree to schedule a hearing. The appeals court seat remained vacant until 2003 – when John Roberts was confirmed to fill it.

And now for something completely different:

I absolutely despise the way some people use their cell phones. The only thing worse than talking on the phone while driving is texting while driving. DON’T RISK MY LIFE THAT WAY! I’d like to see a law passed making it legal to pull people out of their cars and beat them to death for that. And don’t get me started on the idiot with the blue tooth behind me, talking in a loud voice about nonsense. Shit, I don’t even like to answer the phone because so many people don’t know when to say “goodbye”.

So this was fun to see:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

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