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A federal judge’s decision requiring the government to get a court warrant before obtaining mobile-phone location data is one of a string of conflicting opinions on the topic. It comes as lawmakers and the Supreme Court weigh in on the hot-button issue of locational privacy.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled on Tuesday that the government can only acquire cellphone location data on a surveillance target with a full-blown “probable cause” warrant from a judge.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has petitioned the Supreme Court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to secretly install GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move. The petition, which was granted, is to be heard by the justices in the upcoming term and is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in a decade — one weighing the collision of privacy, technology and the Constitution.