“The government argued on Friday that it should be allowed access to people’s cell-phone records to help track suspected criminals… A Justice Department attorney urged a federal appeals court to overturn lower court rulings denying it the right to seek information from communications companies about the call activity of specific numbers that authorities believe are associated with criminal activity.”
Believe? What happened to probable cause?
“Law enforcement agencies hope to obtain cell phone location data from cellular providers without first showing probable cause of a crime _ and without the customer’s knowledge. The data comes from cell phone towers, and in densely populated cities can pinpoint a person’s location to within a few hundred yards.
“An individual has no Fourth Amendment-protected privacy interest in business records, such as cell-site usage information, that are kept, maintained and used by a cell phone company,” [Justice Department lawyer Mark] Eckenwiler wrote in his brief.”
One of the judges on the Third Circuit panel hearing the case, Judge Dolores Sloviter, questioned Eckenwiler:
“You know there are governments in the world that would like to know where some of their people are or have been. Can the government assure us that it will never try to find out these things? Don’t we have to be concerned about this? Not this government right now, but a government?”
Yes, Judge Sloviter. This government. Right now.