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Cell phone tracking ruling a win for privacy

The Supreme Court’s decision Friday regarding cellphones and police is a win for privacy, but it will likely draw the ire of law enforcement officers.

The court ruled 5-4 that police need a search warrant if they want to track a suspect’s movement by collecting data that shows where they’ve used a cellphone.

Just like on TV shows, police can use cellphone tower information to track a suspect’s movement. The court did not rule that police can no longer use this practice, but the ruling will mean law enforcement must get a warrant to do so in most situations.

In emergency situations, police can still obtain those records without a warrant.

If you value privacy, the ruling is a win. The fear was that the government could snoop on citizens in ways that did not relate to a crime or in other ways that are unjustified. If police can always access cellphone records to determine your location, you may get included in a pool of potential suspects even though you are not connected to a crime in any way.

For many, that’s more Big Brother than they want in their lives.

As technology continues to advance, and more of our lives are contained in the data living in our cellphones, it will be imperative that there are robust privacy protections.

It is easy to say that innocent people have nothing to hide, but in reality, innocent people are implicated in crimes all the time. Requiring a warrant to obtain cellphone tracking data should help protect innocent Americans. That’s a win for everyone.