Cell Phones Allow The Government To Track Your Every Move

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gordon gekko.jpgNo warrant is required, according to the federal law governing the area. That federal law was written in 1986 when cell phones looked like a shoe box with an antenna and were only used by Gordon Gekko. Now everyone has a cell phone and people should be concerned because they are carrying a tracking device in their pocket. Based on current cell phone and texting patterns, cell site data for a typical adult user will reveal 20 to 55 location points a day, enough to plot his or her movements hour by hour.

The government's method of obtaining historical cell site data, without any showing of probable cause that the tracking will lead to incriminating evidence, has drawn the attention of privacy advocates, civil liberties groups and federal judges. The Stored Communications Act of 1986 requires prosecutors to show only that the tracking information is "relevant and material" to an ongoing criminal probe. Other investigative methods, such as wire tapping, require the probable cause standard triggered by Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Giving the government the ability to track when and where you have been based on your cell phone use may be invasive enough to trigger Fourth Amendment protection. I believe cell phone users have an expectation of privacy with regard to when and where their cell phone conversations are taking place. The government's cell phone tracking activities remain shrouded in unknowns. This uncertainty will continue until either the Supreme Court rules on the issue or Congress passes new legislation. In any criminal investigation the defendant has several constitutional rights. If you have been charged with a crime you should immediately contact an experience Maryland criminal lawyer to ensure law enforcement has followed the rules.

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