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Justice Department to Require Warrants for Some Cellphone Tracking

September 04, 2015  | 

The Justice Department announced a policy Thursday that will require its law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to deploy cellphone-tracking devices in criminal investigations and inform judges when they plan to use them, reports the Washington Post.

The new policy, announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, should increase transparency around the use of the controversial technology by the FBI and other Justice Department agencies. It imposes the highest legal standard for the device's use and a uniform standard across the department.

But the policy does not apply to state and local agencies, which continue to use the tracking technology, often without expressly informing a judge and obtaining a warrant based on probable cause. And some lawmakers have raised concerns about whether exceptions to the warrant requirement are too broad.

The new policy, Yates said in a briefing with reporters, was designed "to promote transparency and consistency and accountability, all while being mindful of the public's privacy interest."

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