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The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the doing-the-paperwork dept.

United States 173

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes The government cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant, an appeals court ruled today, in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent memory. "In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy," the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."

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FP? (5, Informative)

dosius (230542) | about 6 months ago | (#47220891)

Doesn't mean they won't keep doing it anyway.

Re:FP? (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#47221071)

It's a misleading title.

It should say: "The government is expected to no longer track your cell phone without a warrant, by very naive people."

Re:FP? (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 months ago | (#47221107)

The wording from the summary is more clear

cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant

So they can't use the tracking data as evidence, but if they use the tracking data to find it where you are, and then sent out some agents to see what you were up to, and found other incriminating evidence, they could present that evidence in court. They could always just say they happened to be in the area. Just the data of you being somewhere probably wouldn't be compelling evidence on it's own anyway, so there probably isn't much of a need to present your cell phone location as evidence if they have real evidence anyway.

Re:FP? (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#47221131)

but if they use the tracking data to find it where you are, and then sent out some agents to see what you were up to, and found other incriminating evidence, they could present that evidence in court.

No they can't. Google fruit of the poisonous tree.

Re:FP? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221209)

No they can't. Google fruit of the poisonous tree.

Google parallel construction.

Re:FP? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221347)

this . Shakrai I was going to say the same. Parallel construction has been used in practice regardless of our desires that they would hold to the spirit of the law.

Re:FP? (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#47221319)

No they can't. Google fruit of the poisonous tree.

And then google "parallel construction", which is designed to side step the whole poisonous tree and pretend like it never happened.

In other words, it's a strategy of law enforcement to lie about the origins of a case so they can use illegal or flimsy evidence to prosecute you anyway.

Re:FP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47222093)

The illegal evidence still isn't used. They use the legal evidence obtained afterwards.

Re:FP? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#47222155)

The illegal evidence still isn't used. They use the legal evidence obtained afterwards.

Which they only gathered initially after using the stuff without probable cause or legal means.

Parellel construction is the fruit of the poisonous tree, because the starting point of the investigation begins with "we have this, we're not legally allowed to have it, but what can we dig up to make it look like we got this legally?".

As far as I'm concerned, it's essentially a legal strategy to allow perjury.

If they had legally obtained information based on probable cause, there would be no issue. What they end up with is something else.

Re:FP? (4, Informative)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | about 6 months ago | (#47221571)

See this Slashdot Story [slashdot.org] .

The Supreme Court has already ok'd anonymous tips to police as grounds for stopping a searching without a warrant. So what happens is that they track you illegally, someone calls in an anonymous tip and you are arrested with the contraband they already know you have.

So while the constant tracking is illegal and can't be entered into court records, they will still do it. If you haven't noticed, police departments across the country are acting more like the DOD everyday. They classify things as secret and inaccessible to FOIA requests. When parts of the machinery get close to disclosure, the Feds come in and swoop it away, like what happened recently with the cell tracking device usage records.

Re:FP? (5, Informative)

mellonhead (137423) | about 6 months ago | (#47222511)

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805/ [reuters.com]

U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial.

Re:FP? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 6 months ago | (#47221191)

The problem would be probable cause. If they could show the agents were patrolling the area and noticed something sketchy going on, without having that data, then they may be able to do that. If they say they were there to just see what you are doing then no.

Re:FP? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 6 months ago | (#47221749)

holy shit! what if the police call in a tip of their own, nobody would ever know!!! packing my bags, I'm out of here.

Re:FP? (4, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | about 6 months ago | (#47222097)

"There were anonymous reports of possible robbery attempts by someone matching your physical description." Done. Once the police allow themselves to lie, a plausible and court-accepted lie is not hard to come up with.

Easy workaround for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47222435)

All they have to do is make a free app available that requires every permission. It would fit right in with most of the games out there, and the user would have consented to be tracked, in that case, making all evidence submissible without the need for a warrant.

Re:FP? (2, Insightful)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about 6 months ago | (#47221619)

Why can't I mod posts "depressing but true?"

Re:FP? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221089)

It's still a step in the right direction. Only a million more left.

Re:FP? (3, Informative)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 6 months ago | (#47221097)

No, this just means that if they catch anything on you when they're monitoring everything you do, then they need to:

a) Get a retroactive warrant, which the FISA Court will happily provide them with no questions asked, or
b) Trump up some fake charges and detain you indefinitely, or
c) Fuck it, the first two are too hard, just send in a drone strike.

Re:FP? (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#47221653)

> b) Trump up some fake charges and detain you indefinitely, or
> c) Fuck it, the first two are too hard, just send in a drone strike.

Why is it too hard? If they can detain you indefinitely without trial then it doesn't matter what the actual charges are since the court is where they get evaluated. It is an expression that is never evaluated. Its the if clause after the return statement.

Re:FP? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 6 months ago | (#47222357)

> Why is it too hard?

They have to feed and guard you and that costs more.

Re:FP? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#47221299)

Well, it means they'll need to do more "parallel" construction to hide the actual source of this, and further undermine the concept of the justice system where you get to see the evidence against you.

They will just have to be more creative in how they go about these things, so that nobody knows they're doing the illegal stuff.

They'll keep doing it. (3, Informative)

penguinoid (724646) | about 6 months ago | (#47222431)

The court declared that it's a violation of your fourth amendment rights if they present warrentless cellphone location data in court. Apparently the fourth amendment is just fine with them collecting that data so long as they don't use it in court, because using information in court is what a search is all about.

Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220915)

because it's a two-way thing - the subscriber's phone has to know what tower it's connected to...and the provider has to know what cell phones are connected to which towers....seems pretty easy to get the info from the provider without bothering with the subscriber since they are technically both allowed.

All that will happen is phone company terms of service to have a cell phone on their network is that you agree to allow them to disclose that information.

That doesn't mean (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220923)

That doesn't mean they're going to stop tracking people, they just won't be able to use the data in court.

RN

That doesn't mean (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221083)

They actually have a name for it now, "Parallel Construction". Its where they use illegal evidence to locate a suspect/evidence, then they use some excuse (traffic stop, low level crime, etc) to search the suspect, and then lie/"forget" about where the initial information came from. An example is using illegal phone, email or internet taps to find a suspected drug runner, then pulling over that person when they're out driving to search their car for any evidence.

Holding My Applause (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220929)

We'll see what the Supreme Court has to say on the matter once it gets to them.

Re:Holding My Applause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221119)

The supreme court can say what it must, but do you think eavesdropping equipment sits on police department shelves when no one has a warrant? Think again. They can't use what they find in court so once they fish out a suspect they start gathering evidence they can use. Who's going to tell them to stop it? No one is looking for people operating eavesdropping equipment. It's tested all over the place, all the time, and no one ever knows it.

NR

The US Government can overrule anything (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220931)

Just because an appeal court judge rules that the government can not do something it doesn't mean that the government will oblige to that ruling

The Obama administration is no longer bound by any law, nor the Constitution of the United States - they can overstep anything and overrule anything

They can lie to the congress and get away with it

They can set terrorists free without having to consult the congress, or the courts

The Obama administration does not care about any judge / court / law, because to them, they are ABOVE IT ALL !

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (-1, Flamebait)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | about 6 months ago | (#47220953)

And on Slashdot, Anonymous Cowards can lie, distort and misrepresent everything. Because to them, they are ABOVE IT ALL!

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (2)

RandomFactor (22447) | about 6 months ago | (#47221021)

What do these two truisms have to do with each other?

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221053)

The OP was lying through his teeth. Of course, you and he are probably so sucked up into the wacko Fox News alternate universe that all of that goes right over your heads.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221323)

The OP was lying through his teeth. Of course, you and he are probably so sucked up into the wacko Fox News alternate universe that all of that goes right over your heads.

ORLY?

When are the statutory-mandated Obamacare mandates going into effect?

The President is also required by law to give 30 days notice before releasing someone from Gitmo. That Rush Limbaugh dittohead and right-wing whacko Dianne Feinstein says that didn't happen [nationaljournal.com] . (Hint for your addled brain: characterizing Feinstein as a "dittohead" and "whacko" is called "sarcasm".)

The IRS illegally sent private tax information [politico.com] on Tea Party non-profit groups to the FBI prior to the 2010 elections.

Obama is also refusing to enforce US laws on illegal immigrants. Yeah, the laws are wrong. But the President isn't supposed to select some laws to enforce and some laws to ignore.

And let's not even mention Obama's feckless and directionless foreign "policy". Red line, anyone? Foment revolution in Ukraine then walk away spouting hashtags? Fight tooth and nail to prevent Boko Haram from being listed as a terrorist group?

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221395)

The comment speaks to the state of Mind of the OP.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (1)

ilparatzo (3627897) | about 6 months ago | (#47222065)

And on Slashdot, Anonymous Cowards can lie, distort and misrepresent everything. Because to them, they are ABOVE IT ALL!

Come on ... this is hardly the realm of just Anonymous Cowards. People lie, distort and misrepresent regardless. They'll do it standing in front of a packed crowd while being video-taped, and the certainly do it behind a slashdot moniker.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#47221099)

You keep saying Obama administration. It's not one president's or even one person's doing. It's a collective effort of many people across many administrations and congresses.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221223)

But when Obama came into office, government institutions that had gone rogue and off practices allowed by the U.S. constitution had to fear that a constitutional scholar would rein them in.

So they were divided and fearful.

Now they are united and reckless.

It's similar to the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. There were conflicting interests while president Hindenburg was still alive and more than one force in power. When there was only one and gave the goahead, all the bad guys united behind him and things went really on the rail.

It's the Obama administration because Obama was it that established "nobody can stop you". He basically was the hope for change, and he changed everything to the worse. And there is no hope now that either of the major parties would want to put forward a candidate that will put a stop on this outrage that puts more power to anybody winning the election, as both major parties occasionally do.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221567)

You keep saying Obama administration. It's not one president's or even one person's doing. It's a collective effort of many people across many administrations and congresses.

While you're technically right, it would only take 1 sitting president to stop it.

Coincidentally, we currently only have 1 sitting president.

So, when is he going to stop it?

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (1)

ilparatzo (3627897) | about 6 months ago | (#47222127)

It's a collective effort of many people across many administrations and congresses.

If everyone else was jumping off a cliff little Johnny, would you do it too? We've been pumping CO2 into the air for generations, but something tells me that I can do more to change that than my Great Great Grandfather. And if I stick to the status quo, It's "my" problem ... not his. After all, he's not around anymore.

Problem is, no matter what kind of high ideas and grand changes you have in mind, when it gets down to it, it is oh so much easier to just follow the status quo. Or even improve (read: make worse) upon it. Real change is hard. And in politics, hard is generally avoided.

Re:The US Government can overrule anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221907)

Yet another mind destroyed by too much Fox News.

The court only got it halfway right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220957)

It should also be illegal for the government to COLLECT the metadata without a warrant, nor should they require providers to store such data for later retrieval.

Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220963)

That ruling only applies in the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit - Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. It does not apply anywhere else in the US.

Re:Jurisdiction (1, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 6 months ago | (#47221003)

Um, no. It's a Federal Court and sets precedence, that is unless overruled in the future by another Federal Court, that is binding in other cases similar to this one. As another poster pointed out it will probably make its way to the Supreme Court and could change from there. In the meantime this applies to the whole country.

Re:Jurisdiction (4, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 months ago | (#47221015)

Nope, it IS only binding in the Eleventh Circuit. One of the reasons cases get to the Supreme Court is because there's a circuit split; some circuits go one way, some go the other, and the SC decides which should apply to the whole country.

Re:Jurisdiction (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 6 months ago | (#47221087)

Well no, not exactly. I didn't word it very well but when I said "overruled by another Federal Court" I meant that another circuit can decide differently. And sometimes they do; but they need to provide a new decision and explain why their interpretation is more correct than what they are overriding. And overriding previous precedence isn't something other Federal circuits do lightly so unless they are willing to do so this is binding on future cases similar to this one.

It's only once one circuit disagrees that this needs to be appealed upwards, until than all Federal Circuits will look to this decision when making similar decisions.

But, hey, I'm just interested in civics, IANAL, so if I'm just splitting hairs here, my apologies.

Re:Jurisdiction (4, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 months ago | (#47221193)

Well IAAL (in the 11th circuit even) so I tend to get a little OCD about legal terms. You're right it has precedential value in other circuits and any court addressing the issue will take this case seriously, though circuits frequently do just explicitly disagree with other circuits so I'd be more comfortable once this gets to the Supreme Court.

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 6 months ago | (#47221233)

Fair enough, thanks for the clarification...

Re:Jurisdiction (3, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#47221469)

To be precise, this ruling established a binding precedent in the 11th circuit and a persuasive precedent elsewhere in the country, correct?

My understanding is that given a binding precedent a circuit judge must explain why the precedent does not apply to the facts in order to rule contrary, and that given a persuasive precedent the judge merely needs to explain (in some detail) why the precedent is in error. Is that right?

Re:Jurisdiction (1)

gerf (532474) | about 6 months ago | (#47221133)

Either way, there's a precedent. I've kept location services off on my phone, and now I've turned them on. I realize GOOG or others might use them, but the convenience factor has tipped the scales for me, for now.

Re:Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221259)

In any other circuit, this is what is known as "non-binding precedent". That means a judge *can* consider it, and base his judgement off of this verdict and the corresponding laws, but is not required to do so, and can freely ignore it. In other words, it has about the ever so slightly more legal weight outside the 11th circuit as a verdict from a foreign court.

Re:Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221459)

You know location services are never actually off, right? Even if you explicitly disable them in settings, there's still a GPS unit broadcasting your location for things like 911 service. So how hard would it really be for them to hijack that?

Re:Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221031)

It's also subject to inevitable discovery [wikipedia.org] .

Magic! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220969)

Who want some powder in their eyes!! Come! Come! Magic powder!!

Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220971)

Allow everybody to access data of this kind.
If the public is not ok with this -> warrant needed.

Legal question (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#47220991)

IANAL by a very long shot, so let me ask a bunch of others who think they are ;)

If someone charged with a crime is eventually convicted on appeal, even when the law was unclear to start out with, that person is treated as though he should have always been able to anticipate the court's eventual decision.

Does that logic not apply here as well? Can't everyone who was once convicted in trials where this kind of evidence was used, appeal their conviction now?

Re:Legal question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221033)

related, but not an answer, the judge upheld the conviction based upon the fact that the cops "didn't believe they needed a warrant"

Re:Legal question (4, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 months ago | (#47221055)

Not really; the exclusionary principle is based on the premise that the courts will punish law enforcement for knowingly evading their constitutional responsiblities by not letting them use whatever evidence they wrongfully obtained. Until binding precedential caselaw is established, law enforcement can be considered to not have known they were required to get a warrant before, so any evidence before that point would not be excluded.

For example, the cops generally need a warrant to enter your house to search for drugs unless an owner grants permission to the search. If you're staying over at my house while I'm away, the cops ask you for permission to search the place thinking it is your house, and you say yes, anything they find is admissible because they had a good faith belief they were conducting a legal search.

Re:Legal question (1)

tr4nshum4n (2646323) | about 6 months ago | (#47221381)

Well, the wording sounds pretty good:

"The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."

But it doesn't sound like that affected the case at all.

This has to be the crappiest precedent ever. IANAL

Re:Legal question (2)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 months ago | (#47221153)

By the way, I just glanced at the opinion and the stuff I say above applies to THIS case. Despite ruling it a fourth amendment violation the court let the conviction stand precisely because the police had a good faith belief they were not violating the fourth amendment.

Re:Legal question (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#47221301)

By the way, I just glanced at the opinion and the stuff I say above applies to THIS case. Despite ruling it a fourth amendment violation the court let the conviction stand precisely because the police had a good faith belief they were not violating the fourth amendment.

I can understand why ignorance of the law might save them from judicially imposed sanctions in past and present cases. But good faith does nothing to make the past use of such evidence legal, does it?

Re:Legal question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221215)

I ANAL by a very long shot

Braggart.

Stingrays? (2)

PFactor (135319) | about 6 months ago | (#47221009)

This appears to apply when dealing with the telcos to gather the data. Does it impact the use of Stingrays, which fool phones into connecting to them instead of legitimate cell towers?

Yes, they can (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221017)

They may no longer be allowed to, but they can, and they will.

funny reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221019)

my english is bad but shouldn't the sentence:
"The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."
rather read:
"The disclosure of data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."

because if you like it or not, the data HAS TO BE TECHNICALLY obtained,
else a call cannot be routed to the present location of the mobile phone?

No because the Constitution limits the GOVERNMENT (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 6 months ago | (#47222009)

The fourth amendment, and the whole Constitution, specifies what the GOVERNMENT may and may not do. It doesn't say anything about whether or not you carry a tracking device that discloses your location to AT&T, or what AT&T may do. Other laws cover those topics. Since the fourth is a restriction on the government, the relevant fact is that the government obtained the information.

The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221023)

The Government Can No Longer LEGALLY Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

There, fixed that for you.

Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221037)

Just like the last time they weren't suppose to do that?

LOL (2)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#47221043)

"Israel no longer allowed to illegally occupy parts of Palestine". Yep, they'll start rolling out later today, because goverments always abide by the law.

This democracy stuff is great, isn't it? Things are really different now to when rich people did whatever the hell they wanted, weren't above the law etc.

Re:LOL (1)

Archtech (159117) | about 6 months ago | (#47221407)

Please moderate parent up up UP. He hit the nail right on the head.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221415)

Nice cherry picking.

not in TFA but still very relevant (2)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#47221063)

Quartavious Davis, the plaintiff arguing for tracking privacy, was convicted of a first offense [huffingtonpost.com] for a string of robberies and sentenced to 162 years in prison based largely on testimony from acquaintences. Davis is facing nothing short of biblical retribution for ever having dared to transgress against the law in the peoples republic of florida based 'mandatory minimums' and the court is basically saying "yes, police cannot use your cellphone to track you but we still have enough evidence anyway so fuck off and die in prison kthx"

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#47221199)

Poor baby. I feel so sorry for him. Not.

Davis was convicted of participating in a string of armed robberies in the Miami area in 2010. His accomplices testified against him, saying he carried a gun during their crimes and discharged it at a dog that chased them after one of their burglaries.

On Feb. 9 of this year he was convicted of committing seven armed robberies at fast-food restaurants, a Walgreens pharmacy and other commercial establishments in the Miami area from August to October of 2010.

So essentially, he decided to carry a deadly weapon, and stick said weapon in the face of some teenage cashier at Wendy's, so he could make off with the <$100 that was in the drawer at the time. And we're supposed to feel sorry for him? Here's two hints:

  1. Don't commit felonies.
  2. If you must break Rule #1, don't carry a damned firearm while doing so.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221329)

I'm confused as to how any of this justifies the length of the sentence. This is nothing short of people who get boners over revenge, something that has no place in our 'justice' system.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#47221413)

Seven different armed robberies justifies the length of the sentence. That's seven separate violent acts, seven chances for some innocent working stiff to get shot over a lousy $100, if not less than that.

Just how many times do you think a person should get to stick a firearm in someone's face before they go away forever?

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221479)

No, I don't think that someone should stay in prison forever just because they were idiots at some point in their life. If they do it again and again after getting out of prison, you may have a point, but people do change, and I don't think they should stay in prison forever just because they committed a series of crimes at a point in their life where they may just be a screw up. Put them in prison and attempt to rehabilitate them (Which is what our 'justice' system should focus on to begin with.).

The fact that the sentence lasts longer than someone is even capable of living suggests that it's just a bunch of loons trying to feel good by being Tough On Crime.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#47221521)

I don't think that someone should stay in prison forever just because they were idiots at some point in their life.

Sticking a firearm in someone's face on seven different occasions is a bit more serious than being an idiot at "some point" in your life. Do you have any comprehension of the fact that we're talking about someone who threatened to kill people if he didn't get what he wanted? And that he did it on at least seven different occasions? This isn't some stupid kid that took the neighbors car for a joyride. This is a violent sociopath who needs to be removed from society and put into a cage where he can't do any further damage.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221685)

Sticking a firearm in someone's face on seven different occasions is a bit more serious than being an idiot at "some point" in your life.

That depends on how you define "idiot."

But that's irrelevant, because we shouldn't be Tough On Crime to begin with; we should be focusing on rehabilitation, regardless of whether they robbed, murdered, or raped people. If they're rehabilitated, or they're strongly believed to be, they should get out (unless they've proven that they can't be and are able to fool everyone). Static sentencing like this is just moronic/

This is a violent sociopath who needs to be removed from society and put into a cage where he can't do any further damage.

Not everyone who commits violent crimes is necessarily a sociopath, though it's certainly convenient to think that way.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#47222461)

But that's irrelevant, because we shouldn't be Tough On Crime to begin with

"Tough on crime" is a political slogan. I don't really care if we're "tough on crime", but I do think it's pretty absurd to give a demonstrated violent sociopath the benefit of the doubt, which is essentially what you're purposing. It's sheer dumb luck that he didn't kill anybody, but you think he should get more bites at the apple? After seven different violent crimes? No, I don't abide that line of reasoning. He doesn't get yet another chance to take someone's life away from them and their loved ones.

Re:not in TFA but still very relevant (1)

sribe (304414) | about 6 months ago | (#47221489)

What??? You really think 20 years or so for an armed robbery is too much??? For an intractable repeat offender???

Retitle: 'The US government...' (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 6 months ago | (#47221103)

For better or worse, Obama isn't President of the whole world...

the headline is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221165)

This only applies is that appeals court jurisdiction, so only Florida and a couple of other southern states...

This will only be true for a short time (1, Troll)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#47221169)

until SCROTUS reverses it.

A Small Victory (3, Interesting)

organgtool (966989) | about 6 months ago | (#47221173)

Now they just need to get a FISA warrant rubber-stamped or use parallel construction to make sure that the evidence is admissable.

Re:A Small Victory (2)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 6 months ago | (#47221871)

FISA is strictly a federal warrant court. Local police and prosecutions don't use it. This ruling applies principally to local police conduct and evidence, secondarily to federal police conduct and evidence.

Yes, the FBI could still rely on FISA's rubber stamp. But county mounties can't. And it's the sheer number of the latter which pose the greater threat.

A Small Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221889)

"They" can't use FISA warrants unless it is a national security matter.

Re:A Small Victory (2)

organgtool (966989) | about 6 months ago | (#47221925)

Where have you been? Everything is a matter of national security!

US citizen only, and doesn't stop mass collection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221265)

If the organization doing the monitoring (e.g., NSA) doesn't know if the phone being monitored is being used by a US citzen, then it's all still fair game. The fact that such "device sweeps" would inevitably include many US citzens wouldn't matter. You sweep them all up first, and sort through them later only if there's a reason (warrant or not). Nothing about this ruling stops the *collection* of the data, apparently only looking at it or "tracking" someone with it. Once it's associated with a "subscriber", or if you're about do to that join between "device" and "subscriber" in your database, yeah, you need a warrant. But up until that point I don't see anything stopping mass collection of any and all cell phone or conventional phone data. The government just needs to say "We're not tracking any particular person, up until the point we do ask you for a warrant", and the FISA court will rubber stamp the whole thing.

Just can't use it in court (2)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | about 6 months ago | (#47221279)

The key take away is that they can no longer use this information as evidence in court. The government will still use this information to track you; but they will need to get more creative when they do parallel reconstruction.

Correction (3, Insightful)

Archtech (159117) | about 6 months ago | (#47221397)

"The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant"

The headline is slightly inaccurate. It should read:

"The Government Can No Longer Legally Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant"

But since history demonstrates conclusively that the government couldn't care less about staying within the law, that makes very little difference. It most certainly can track your cell phone without a warrant, it most probably does so, and you would be most unwise to assume it isn't doing so.

parallel construction already "solves" this (2)

doug141 (863552) | about 6 months ago | (#47221493)

I guess law enforcement will just have to keep hiding their own law breaking from defense attorneys.

Uneffective, as usual! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221497)

There are still murders despite the laws that stringly forbid them. And it's quite simple to know when someone gets murdered.
Why shouldn't there be any more warrantless tracks when it's so hard that one is tracked?
Ah!

Secret courts, broad secret warrents (2)

blackanvil (1147329) | about 6 months ago | (#47221545)

So the secret courts will issue broad secret warrants with attached gag orders saying that for National Security purposes all cell phones will be tracked and the tracking information made available to certain government agencies. Achievement Unlocked! Problem Solved!

It's just not admissable evidence now... (3, Interesting)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 6 months ago | (#47221661)

They can still virtually follow you, build a case, use the information to connect you to others, use it to indicate where to look for other evidence, etc. The location data just can't be admitted as "evidence", doesn't mean they can't and won't continue to use the information otherwise. Small incremental progress, but definitely not a full block on use of the data.

Not Really... (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 6 months ago | (#47221797)

You didn't turn the location tracking off in your phone, what did you think was going to happen?

Re:Not Really... (1)

Shados (741919) | about 6 months ago | (#47221919)

You can turn off the ability to locate (or at least get a general idea of the location) your cell via triangulation? WOW!

Re:Not Really... (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 6 months ago | (#47222205)

You can put your phone in "airplane" mode and that will shut off all ability to track your phone. If your a "criminal mastermind" you would think that turning off your phones mobile access might be step #1.

Courts=Irrelevant (2)

kheldan (1460303) | about 6 months ago | (#47221845)

The 'government agencies' that we're concerned about the most don't give a flying fuck about what 'courts' or 'judges' have to say, they're going to do whatever the hell they want to do, regardless; that's the nature of organizations who deal in 'secret' things, and it's the nature of the cancer that plagues our current government.

Now, the question is: What should we use as chemo to cure this cancer?

TO be clear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47221877)

This ruling only applies int he 11th circuit - at least until appeal is denied by the SCOUS. Also the title is misleading - the government can track you all they want without a warrant - they just can't use the evidence against you. Sadly nothing is preventing Verizon ATT and Walgreens (yes Walgreens) from tracking you without a warrant and giving location based ads or selling that information to advertisers.

This doesn't do me any good. (2)

lhuiz (614322) | about 6 months ago | (#47222217)

Well, that's too bad, because I for one am not in the possession of fourth amendment protections. So as much as I think this is a wise and important verdict - irrespective of all the poisonous trees and parallel constructions - the US to me represents a clear and present danger to my privacy and my liberty.

Wow, circuit court judge knows the bill of rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47222227)

That guy is doomed

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