Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Slate coverage of Texas bills requiring warrants for cell-phone location tracking

Slate's Future Tense blog has a post up promoting the Texas legislation by state Rep. Bryan Hughes and Sen. Juan "Chuy" Honojosa requiring a warrant for law enforcement to track cell phones and other electronic devices. The post, by writer Ryan Gallagher, concludes with this analysis:
Last year, a congressional inquiry revealed that the major wireless carriers received more than 1.3 million requests for subscriber data from law enforcement in 2011 alone. This revelation disgruntled privacy and civil liberties groups nationwide, and it’s possible that legislators in other states may follow Hughes and Hinojosa’s lead in proposing that warrants be required before accessing location data. It’s unclear, of course, whether the bill will eventually become law, as police in the state can be expected to lobby aggressively against it. But it’s certainly likely to receive some strong backing if a separate Texas bill seeking to regulate drone use is anything to go by. HB912, described as “the toughest anti-drone legislation in the country,” was filed in the state house in early February and has bipartisan backing from more than 100 representatives.
A landmark Supreme Court case in January last year ruled that tracking someone by sticking a GPS on his vehicle should be protected by the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unwarranted searches and seizures. The DOJ claims that cellphone location data is a different issue—arguing in a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals case last year that because cellphone records showing location are held by telecom companies, they are "third-party records" and therefore “customers have no protected privacy interest in historical cell-site records.”
The DOJ will no doubt be watching developments in Texas closely—hoping that a backlash against warrantless tracking in the state is not the start of a trend.
 I'm delighted to see the legislation getting some national press. Now we need to get the thing passed!

See prior, related Grits posts:


PAPA said...

Well I might as well say it again, Where is the Constitution/Bill of Right in all this spy ware intrusion, where is the enforcement of proper procedures for the 4th Amendment, where is the LEGISLATOR that is going to stand up and do his/her job according to his/her OATH to unhold the Constitution/Bill of Right ... under no circumstances should there be any court evidence allowed that was not properly acquired through a Search Warrant Issued, the Patriot Act needs to be eliminated as to the "NO KNOCK RULE" that is being used improperly, the GPS tracking devices, cell phones, etc should not be allowed in the court system without the proper Search Warrant ,all of this "POLICE STATE" activities is against the CONSTITUTION/BILL OF RIGHTS in the UNITED STATES of AMERICA is what this Country was founded on and NEVER should it be removed, it allows the Citizens of the USA to have a life of liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc...what is currently going on is nothing more than what is commonly called "POLICE STATE" that is not what our Founding Fathers and Military people fought for to keep this country FREE

inthedoghouse said...

I couldn't agree more strongly PAPA. HB912 should be supported by every freedom-loving citizen. The Patriot Act should be repealed. We The People need to stop the erosion of our 4th Amendment rights and get all those lost back.