Privacy: Fifth Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Cell Site Location Data

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DoJ litigators just filed a reply brief in an exciting but complex case in the Fifth Circuit that concerns law enforcement access to cell site location data. As amicus curiae, I hope to deepen readers' understanding of the basic issues in the case and also to provide some insider's insights. This blog post will furnish the background that later postings will draw upon. The litigation began when Magistrate Judge Smith rejected three government applications for cell site location data that did not purport to satisfy probable cause. I highly recommend Judge Smith's thoughtful opinion that holds that agents must obtain a warrant to compel service providers to disclose a target subscriber's stored records of cell phone location data. Justice Dept lawyers appealed Judge Smith's denial, as well as the District Court's order that agreed with Judge Smith...

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