ACLU says warrantless tracking is rampant

John Moe Apr 3, 2012

A new report by the ACLU says police across the country are tracking the cellphones of suspects without warrants and the practice is very widespread. The group submitted freedom of information requests to law enforcement groups around the country and while many did not reply, about 200 did provide details on practices. There was wide variation in how situations were handled. Police in Lincoln, Nebraska can get GPS information without a warrant, police in Tucson can obtain all the cellphone numbers being used in a certain location without a warrant.

Hillicon Valley quotes the ACLU:

“What we have learned is disturbing. The government should have to get a warrant before tracking cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans’ privacy, and it is also what is required under the Constitution,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “The fact that some law enforcement agencies do get warrants shows that a probable cause requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy, allowing police to protect both public safety and privacy.”

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.