Existing laws require police to obtain a warrant in order to search cell phone location data. But police and other agencies have found their way around these requirements by simply purchasing the information directly from data brokers.
The Constitution offers protection against unreasonable searches, but current U.S. laws and policies don’t do enough to protect Americans from pervasive surveillance technologies. Just by carrying a phone, many of us produce a detailed record of where we go, who we speak with, and what we read. Much of this data can be obtained without a warrant — law enforcement can buy it from data brokers. To protect our constitutional rights, we need to bring our laws and policies up to speed on 21st-century surveillance technology. We’re pushing the federal government to enact reforms that would further restrict law enforcement from gathering data on private citizens without probable cause.
Did you know?
What’s at Stake
A law originally designed to allow intelligence agencies to collect information about “agents of foreign powers” has led to the creation of a database that includes the communications of an unknown (but potentially huge) number of Americans.
Unregulated surveillance technology, including the use of stingrays, geofence warrants, data brokers, and face recognition technology, may be used to surveil and prosecute people seeking abortion or gender affirming care in some states.
Policing Gender: How Surveillance Tech Aids Enforcement of Anti-Trans Laws The Bridge: Government in the Group Chat History Shows Congress Can Sunset Section 702 Police Quietly Obtain Private Location Data with a Checkbook and not a Warrant How to Protect Yourself from Surveillance While Seeking Reproductive Health Care Secrets, Surveillance, and Scandals: The War on Terror’s Unending Impact on Americans’ Private Lives