FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

Cell Phone Location Data Under Fire in Courts

June 30, 2014  | 

Photo: Mark W. Clark
Photo: Mark W. Clark

The use of cellphone records to place suspects at or near crime scenes is coming under attack in courts nationwide, challenging an established practice by federal and local law enforcement that has helped lead to thousands of convictions, reports The Washington Post.

Cellphone records are often used as evidence, relied upon to trace which cell tower was used to make or receive a call and then determine a caller’s whereabouts. But experts say that using a single tower to precisely locate where someone was at the time of a crime has severe limitations.

In 2012, federal and local law enforcement agencies made more than 1.1 million requests for the personal cellphone data of Americans for a variety of investigative reasons, according to an annual privacy-related survey by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). But that may become more difficult. This month, a federal appeals court ruled for the first time that law enforcement agencies must obtain a search warrant for cellphone location data.

At the heart of the controversy over cellphone data is a debate about how cellphone calls are routed and the range of the cell towers with which the phones connect. The FBI and local police officials maintain that they can place a suspect in a particular area because a cellphone, when making or receiving a call, usually selects the closest tower with the strongest signal and that most towers have a range of no more than two miles.


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

North Dakota OKs Less-Lethal Drones
It's legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to use unmanned aircraft systems, commonly...
Video: Child Porn Arrests Up in Kentucky as State Police Beefs Up Forces
Through mid-July, 31 people were arrested on porn possession charges by Kentucky State...
RapidHit DNA Profile Identifies Dangerous UK Sex Offender While Suspect in Custody
The RapidHit System from Integenx delivered a stunning arrest in the United Kingdom last...
DHS Federal Protective Service Chooses Envisage to Automate Academy Training Management
Envisage Technologies, a Bloomington, Indiana-based high-technology firm, has been awarded...
California City Looks at Using Garbage Haulers to Catch Car Thieves
The noisy garbage trucks that lumber down San Jose, Calif., streets every week could soon...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine