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Supreme Court Won't Weigh In On Phone Location Warrants

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Nov 9, 2015, 10:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to review an appeal concerning the use of search warrants for cellphone location data. A Florida man convicted of robberies in 2010 argued that police should have obtained warrants in order to request location data from his wireless carrier. In his case, the police did not first get warrants and the cellular location data tied him to a number of the crime scenes. The man's case has already been shot down by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said his Fourth Amendment rights were not violated. At issue is whether or not customer data stored on company servers can be accessed without probable cause, which necessitates a warrant. According to the Stored Communications Act, prosecutors only need reasonable grounds to access such records. Similar cases have been heard around the country in which some courts ruled police do need to obtain warrants before pulling data from wireless carriers. The Supreme Court, however, has not weighed in on the matter. If and when it does, it will likely set policy for the rest of the country.

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