Bill to Require Warrant for Location Tracking Introduced in Congress

Rep. Ron Wyden and others have introduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (H.R. 2168, available here) requiring cops to get a warrant based on probable cause to track your location via your cell phone or other device.

The ACLU explains:

The danger that unregulated location tracking poses to American’s privacy is real, immediate and universal. Because of the prevalence of mobile phones in modern society, every American is carrying a portable tracking device, one that can be used to reveal their current and past location. These devices store our every move. Whether it is a visit to a therapist or liquor store, church or gun range, many individuals’ locations will be available either in real time or months later.

Because of the sensitivity and invasiveness of these records, law enforcement agents should always be required to obtain a warrant and show probable cause, no matter the technology employed or the age of the records.

The bill needs additional sponsors, so please contact your Representatives in Congress and ask them to sign on. [More...]

As to why a law is necessary, the ACLU says the Executive Branch is up to its usual tricks:

While the Department of Justice has issued recommendations setting out when prosecutors should show probable cause, United States Attorneys Offices are apparently free to ignore these recommendations, and some have chosen to do so. Worse the government seems to have engaged in a coordinated effort to prevent the creation of a uniform standard by refusing to seek appellate court decisions on the issue. This legal maneuvering has prevented public debate and allowed a practice that is not consistent with our constitutional principles to become entrenched.

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  • Display: Sort:
    hopeless cause, imo. (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:39:52 AM EST
    Look at how Fox has been hacking voicemails in the UK. Privacy is dying. But what wikileaks proves is that secrecy is dying too. Brave new world.

    another right bites the dust (none / 0) (#2)
    by loveed on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 12:41:22 PM EST
    this has bothered me,since the enactment of the patriot act.
     Never wanted a cellphone (my spouse insisted when I started traveling for my job). I have nothing to hide. Never been in jail.
     Before I met and married my second husband, I was harassed by a police officer. I went to high school with him, I knew him well. A friend was stopped for a traffic violation (speeding). I was a passenger, he recognized me ( she did not receive a ticket). After that he would show up at my home. I had two young daughters 16 & 10yrs. old at the time. I had told him that I did not want to date him,please stop coming by my house.
    His visit increased. I would be driving home from work,and he would stop me. Who do call when it the police that is harassing you?
     This issue was resolved because I knew his sargent. He handle this issue for me. Others do not have the same connections.
     When I was growing up the police was your friend. Now they are feared

    Rep. Chaffetz of Utah... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:43:30 AM EST
    is on board...a warrant requirement is a constitutional no-brainer.  It will be interesting to see which enemies of a free state in Congress will oppose.