Cyber Insecurity Argued Before the Supreme Court

By on December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in Carpenter v. United States, asking whether it was constitutional for law enforcement to research the location of a suspected armed robber for 127 days through cell phone tower data without a warrant. The case brings up key Fourth Amendment questions about what it means to be searched, among other things. Michael Dreeben, deputy solicitor general, argued that despite advances in electronic tracking, a 1979 Supreme Court decision applies. That decision said that because an individual shared their information with a third party – in this case, a cellphone service provider – they had no right to expect privacy, and police could ask for the information without a warrant. That case was decided long ago, and involved one landline phone, argued Nathan F. Wessler, an ACLU attorney. Technology has advanced exponentially since then, he said, leaving huge amounts of information in the hands of third-party carriers, like a cell phone provider. “It could be a landmark decision,” said James Dempsey, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. Other experts question if the Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures is sufficient to encompass the kind of situations that routinely arise in the digital age.
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Herald Times Online

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