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Privacy Issue in the Courts - Can Police Track You By Cellphone Without a Warrant?


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#1 LFC

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 02:26 PM

The article goes into various problems with current privacy law but I'll just quote the parts on this one specific case. I don't have much hope for a resolution that favors citizens because the likes of Roberts and Alito sit on SCOTUS and they have long histories of deferring to power over individuals.

Quote

A man named Timothy Carpenter planned and participated in several armed robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Michigan and Ohio between 2010 and 2012. He was caught, convicted and sentenced to 116 years in federal prison. His appeal, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 29, will shape the life of every American for years to come – no matter which way it’s decided.

During its investigation of the robberies, the FBI got records not only of the phone calls made and received by Carpenter’s cellphone, but also its location over 127 days. The information clearly placed Carpenter’s phone nearby at the times and places of each of the robberies, providing strong circumstantial evidence against him. But it also revealed other information unrelated to the investigation, such as which nights Carpenter slept at home and what church he prayed in on Sunday mornings. The FBI didn’t get a search warrant for that information; the agency just asked Carpenter’s cell service provider, MetroPCS, for the data.

Carpenter is appealing his conviction on the grounds that his Fourth Amendment right to be protected from an unreasonable search was violated because his cellphone location was tracked without a search warrant. If you have a cellphone, what the Supreme Court decides will affect you.

Cell companies know where people are

As part of providing their services, cellphone companies know where their users are. Mobile phones connect to nearby towers, which have separate antennas pointing different directions. Noting which antennas on which towers a particular phone connects to allows the phone company to triangulate a fairly precise location.

In addition, technological advances are allowing cell towers to serve smaller and smaller areas. That means connected users are in even more specific locations. The FCC actually requires phone companies to be able to locate most cellphones within 50 meters when they call 911, to be able to direct emergency responders to the correct location.

The prospect of a police state is bad enough. A warrantless police state is downright terrifying.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#2 Traveler

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 03:37 PM

Dude, its already here. Every time you hit google, its location services prioritize the ads you get to see first. Ever notice how map locations are much more accurate if you turn mobile data on? Due to cell triangulation. Same with just about any other site these days. Which might be an interesting argument in this case. If everyone else has access, why not the cops?

We lost privacy a long time ago. This is absurd IMO. Talk closing about the barn doors ...
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#3 LFC

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 03:43 PM

View PostTraveler, on 29 November 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

Dude, its already here. Every time you hit google, its location services prioritize the ads you get to see first. Ever notice how map locations are much more accurate if you turn mobile data on? Due to cell triangulation. Same with just about any other site these days. Which might be an interesting argument in this case. If everyone else has access, why not the cops?

It's the difference between voluntary and involuntary. If Google or any other company gets caught at abuse of data they may find that people vote with their clicks and move to something else. With the police there is no recourse. And with the shear number of cases of police avoiding warrants and courts we've been seeing it's not too late to hold them up in certain places.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#4 Practical Girl

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 03:59 PM

Anybody know what the privacy agreements, et all, that T-Mobile customers sign- often without reading?
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---Julia Child


--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


--- LFC, on Gorsuch ruling: "Awesome. A Christianist who swore an oath to uphold the laws of the nation and bore false witness when he did it"





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