Massachusetts Joins New Jersey in Demanding Police Warrants for Cell Phone Tracking
Police in two northeast states will now have to obtain a warrant before tracking a suspect’s cellphone location to monitor their movements.
Massachusetts’ Supreme Court ruled this week that individuals enjoy the right to privacy when it comes to their cell phones and for the government to not follow their whereabouts through such technology—unless a court approves this kind of surveillance.
Instead, authorities used federal law to get permission for the phone records.
A lower court judge ruled police had violated the Massachusetts constitution in taking this action, and when the state appealed, the Supreme Court sided with the judge.
“Even though restricted to telephone calls sent and received (answered or unanswered), the tracking of the defendant’s movements in the urban Boston area for two weeks was more than sufficient to intrude upon the defendant’s expectation of privacy,” the majority opinion said.
The ruling was very similar to one by New Jersey’s highest court, which decided in 2013 that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy in cell-phone location information.
Christopher Ott, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, told The Wall Street Journal that the two rulings will hopefully “lead the way for other courts that are bound to be dealing with this issue.”
To Learn More:
New Massachusetts Decision Requires Warrant for Cell Tracking (by Hanni Fakhoury, Electronic Frontier Foundation)
High Court in Massachusetts Rules Cell-Phone Data Requires Warrant (by Jacob Gershman, Wall Street Journal)
New Jersey Supreme Court First to Order Warrants for Cell Phone Tracking (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Did You Hear about the Man who Committed Suicide in Front of U.S. Capitol Carrying “Tax the one percent” Sign?
- Republican Senate’s First 100 Days: 59 Votes on Energy and Environment; No Laws Signed
- Is it Really a Good Idea to put one Gas Pipeline near an Old Nuclear Power Plant and another Next to a Major Art Museum?
- 85% of Midwest Facilities Storing 9 Toxic Chemicals have no Public Risk Management Plan
- With Domestic Oil Production at 27-Year High and Increased Rail Shipments, Rail Accidents are Actually Declining in Frequency