Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association concussed the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security to dispose a bill that required law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before obtaining geolocation data from any person’s smartphone with help of mobile phone carrier. Law enforcement agencies say that they use geolocation data as the historical information that may become the basis to get a warrant for more serious measures.

But attorney for the ACLU, Catherine Crump, disagrees with them, saying that GPS Act clearly claims that getting a warrant for geolocation data usage is even easier than getting a warrant for wiretapping, and the same privacy expectations which related to making a call via public phone are true when it comes to monitoring every movement of a citizen for few months, so both must require a warrant to be implemented. She adds that police departments of such states as Hawaii, Kentucky and Kansas already require warrants for geolocation data from any kind of cell phone or smartphone, and they feel no increased burden because of that. Catherine Crump said that if those police departments are able to protect public safety and privacy at the same time then police departments of other states can easily do the same.

Guy walking with cell phone

The bill to protect cell phone geolocation data was developed not without a reason. Do you remember the Jones case when Supreme Court decided that any law enforcement agency must obtain a warrant prior to placing GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle? Both Senate and Congress have combined their efforts to protect geolocation data usage in the same way but the new bill may not be adopted because of FLEOA’s efforts.

How serious is this problem? You see, geolocation data may be used not only to find your location using GPS coordinates. Modern smartphones have enough technologies inside to discover even floor and room you are in. So the bill is just trying to make law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before they use geolocation data to track your location, just like they obtain a warrant before they search your house.

So while FLEOA argues with legislators of all levels about the warrant necessity for geolocation data usage from your smartphone, you can protect your privacy by yourself and do not let your geolocation data be used to track your location.

Join the discussion and leave your comments about warrantless geolocation data usage below.

  • Share/Bookmark