Orin Kerr writes:
A while back, I blogged at length about the Third Circuit’s pending case involving government access to historical cell-site records. The issue in the case is what legal standard the government must satisfy to obtain orders requiring phone companies to disclose such information. The district court had ruled that a warrant was required, and the government argued that the correct standard under the law was a “specific and articulable facts” court order under 2703(d) rather than a search warrant. Yesterday, the Third Circuit handed down its decision: In The Matter Of The Application Of The United States Of America For An Order Directing A Provider Of Electronic Communication Service To Disclose Records To The Government. In this post will explain the Third Circuit’s decision; try to figure out what it means (which turns out to be quite tricky); and then explain why I think it misreads the Stored Communications Act on an important point.
You can read Orin’s analysis and commentary on The Volokh Conspiracy.