Telephone bills

New developments in who gets to see your cell phone information.

A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania has ruled that judges may demand a warrant from investigators who tries to obtain location information from cell phones. Where you were when you made a call. It's not an overwhelming precedent-setting move, it just says that judges can demand a warrant instead of a simple subpoena and it only applies to cell phone location data, not GPS data from smart phones.

The government had argued that anyone using a cell phone does not have a right to keep their location private. The judge in the case disagreed.

The whole matter gets a bit cloodgy in that the law governing this kind of situation dates back to 1986, prehistoric times in terms of where cell phone technology has come. All sides involved in the debate agree that there is a need for a fairly large update to recognize technological realities.

We talk to privacy attorney Al Gidari of Seattle law firm Perkins Coie. We also check in with Jim Dempsey, Vice-President for policy at The Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group.

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