Do Courts Have a Right to Your Phone Records?
A federal claims court will reexamine a prior decision in which a three judge board held that police require a warrant to acquire records from cell phone organizations that show where a suspect has been. Therefore, the eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, situated in Atlanta, will rehear the case with a full group of judges partaking, instead of only three.
Is This Really as Big of a Problem as it Seems?
In June, the claims court decided that the legislature damaged the protection rights of a man who was sentenced after robbing several stores in early 2010. It was the first time a claims court ordered a warrant for cell phone area records, which are becoming more subject to government demands. Cell phone providers had to deal with more than 1 million state, federal, and local government and law enforcement demands for private records in 2012.
The general director for Verizon said in a letter to Congress that the quantity of solicitations to the organization multiplied in the previous five years. Because of this, they are concerned that this is a pattern that has all the earmarks of being a part of the cell phone business as a whole. AT&T alone got over 100,000 requests for client records for the first half of 2014.
Details Specific to The Case
In the case that we’re talking about here, prosecutors introduced cell phone records that set the man in question and his accomplices close to the scene of the burglaries. The proof included records of the phone towers to which their telephones were joined when they received and placed calls, as indicated by court archives.
Prosecutors got a court request for the records, obliging them to demonstrate that the records were significant and that they were absolutely necessary for a progressing examination. However the eleventh Circuit decided that they needed to meet a higher standard: reasonable justification, or a logical conviction that an individual committed the crime in question. The Justice Department asked the full court to rehear the case. In choosing to rehear the case, the eleventh Circuit wiped out the June decision, signifying that there is no longer an unequivocal warrant prerequisite in the states of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, which are the three states within that circuit.
So do the courts have the right to your phone records, or is that an invasion of privacy? It’s likely this case will continue to go up the chain of appeals courts, so we may see it go to the Supreme Court eventually.