MIAMI – Investigators must obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain cellphone tower tracking data that is widely used as evidence to show suspects were in the vicinity of a crime, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
In the first ruling of its kind nationally, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined people have an expectation of privacy in their movements and that the cell tower data was part of that. As such, obtaining the records without a search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, the judges ruled.
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