It was big news when the Supreme Court decided last week that police could not search the contents of a suspect’s phone without a warrant. But how will this decision impact other privacy challenges we have been facing? The ruling didn’t directly apply to bulk cell phone data gathering, but it did broadly reference the privacy protections that are due to the kinds of sweeping data available on today’s mobile devices, USA Today reported. “The court’s reasoning clearly recognizes that the aggregation of sensitive electronic data raises particularly acute Fourth Amendment concerns that call for more robust judicial protections of our privacy,” said Nathan Wessler, an attorney with the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, who has been fighting for the release of records about data collection across the U.S. “While the Supreme Court has not yet settled the issue in other contexts, lower courts can learn much from this decision about how to safeguard our privacy rights in the digital age.” (Source: USA Today) This ruling has set precedent for cases against law enforcement using technology to access data from cell phone towers. There have been many court cases questioning the legality of this technology, but no official stance has been taken. USA Today reported that since December, nine states have adopted laws requiring police to obtain search warrants to gather cell phone data. Two other states already had laws on the books and at least 10 more legislatures are weighing similar measures.
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