Hanni Fahoury writes:
Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s criminal division, told a panel at the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee’s “State of the Mobile Net” conference yesterday that requiring a search warrant to obtain location tracking information from cell phones would “cripple” prosecutors and law enforcement officials. We couldn’t disagree more.
The problem with the DOJ’s position is that it fails to take into account privacy. The only way to ensure “fairness” and “justice,” is to demand that our Fourth Amendment rights not be violated by law enforcement working closely with cell phone providers to access your location information without your knowledge. We’ve already seen that despite the ruling in Jones, law enforcement and the wireless industry are finding ways to continue their pre-Jones practices of warrantless surveillance amid a stunning lack of transparency. We’re slowly seeing legislative action in the right direction on these important issues. On the federal level, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or) has proposed the GPS Act, that would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant to access location information. In California, we sponsored a bill with the ACLU of Northern California, to require law enforcement to get a search warrant anytime it wants location information about another person in California. And earlier this week, Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass) sent a request (PDF) to the biggest wireless carriers, demanding information about their relationship with law enforcement.
Read more on EFF.