John Gerstein reports on today’s Fourth Circuit opinion in U.S. v. Graham:
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that law enforcement does not need a search warrant before obtaining “cell site” information on the location of a suspect’s mobile phone.
The full bench of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 12-3, that investigators can get the information under the legal theory that it has been disclosed to third parties — in such instances, telephone companies.
“The Supreme Court may in the future limit, or even eliminate, the third-party doctrine. Congress may act to require a warrant for CSLI [cell site location information.] But without a change in controlling law, we cannot conclude that the Government violated the Fourth Amendment in this case,” Judge Diana Motz wrote in the court’s majority opinion.
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