Federal Court Says Phone Location Records Aren't Protected By The Constitution

A federal appeals court has ruled that authorities don’t need a search warrant to access your phone’s location records.

According to AP’s Juan Lozano, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that phone location data are business records and not the property of mobile subscribers.

This means that authorities don’t need probable cause if they want to get a person’s location data — they just need a court order requesting the business records from that person’s cell phone provider.

While a court order still requires authorities to demonstrate that the records are connected to a specific investigation based on “reasonable grounds,” the requirements are far less stringent that those for a search warrant.

The court went on to say that while “cell phone users may reasonably want their location information to remain private,” they don’t have the legal standing to fight against government officials asking for business records in relation to specific investigations.

Instead, the court stated that upset users should either demand that their cell phone service providers stop collecting location data or lobby their representatives to change the law to protect their information.

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