Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Elsie Law's Daily Dose Of The Law: Will Constitutional Rights Apply To Cellphone Records?

According to Wired Magazine, a landmark case is being tried in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Although this case has received little media attention, its outcome will set a serious precedent.

The court is now deciding whether or not the government can mandate federal judges to order cellphone service providers to release a back-log of cell-tower information for any phone number without probable cause, and without a search warrant. The Obama administration is reportedly in favor of this. However, dissenters say that this practice would be a violation of the 4th Amendment- which protects against unreasonable search and seizures.

If the Obama administration has their way, they will be able to obtain loads of information from cell towers at will. In addition to the details of correspondence, cell-site records can also reveal a person's past and present whereabouts.

The American Civil Liberties Union is hoping that the Federal Appeals court rules against the administration's quest to expand warrantless surveillance.

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