Nothing Is Private About Cell Data & Location Info
America is now in the midst of a advanced digital era where information is saved on computing clouds, social networking has removed online profile anonymity and cellular phones have allowed people to share information faster than any other time in the history of man. These technological advancements have truly made life more simple while allowing individuals to interact and connect with people, places and ideas that those in the past could never have imagined. The benefits of a more mobile and digital society are still being revealed, but unfortunately these advances also have come with some serious concern. One of those major concerns privacy advocation groups are currently facing is the prevalent theft of locational data stored on cellular phones. Personal and private locational data government agencies and other law enforcement groups are observing for often unknown reasons.
The United States was built on a foundation of freedom. That also means freedom from a fast growing government that has frequently been spying on its own citizens. Unfortunately, government and police have been abusing privacy laws designed to protect the public because those laws have failed to be updated at the speed of technological innovation. This results in those bodies and organizations designated to protect the people to instead spy on citizens without any probable cause or warrant! What is happening is these agencies are able to apply out-dated legislation to modern monitoring techniques all at the expense of the privacy protections guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
GPS Tracking Through Mobile Phones: What We Don't Know
Police departments all throughout the country and even "reputable" agencies such as the Department of Justice routinely monitor the mobile phone devices of citizens without acquiring warrants or establishing just probable cause. Although there have been thousands of documented cases of this modern form of cellular GPS tracking surveillance what is really scary is that the cases are rarely made public, suggesting that the real number could be in the tens or hundreds of thousands annually. The ACLU has even expressed their concern in a recent article about cell phone tracking by stating "Some of the [documented cases] are especially disturbing, for instance, in 2010, Michigan police officers sought information about every cell phone near the site of a planned labor protest." This was clearly an example of police invading the privacy rights of citizens not involved in any criminal activity and choosing to snoop for political reasons. Situations such as those mentioned above should concern every citizen because their currently are no state or federal guidelines in regards to cell phone tracking practices, policies or laws. This means its digital Wild West where the government is the heavily armed cowboys and the public are the Indians.
When our forefathers created the Constitution they probably could have never even imagined or dreamed up the type of information society that exists today. However, that should not change the integrity of why the Fourth Amendment was created. This is why both courts at the Federal and state level need to come up clear legislation that protects location information and personal GPS tracking data of citizens. Without establishing probable cause and/or acquiring a warrant, police and government agencies should not be allowed access to location data. People should not have to choose between their cell phones or personal privacy, and that is why concrete legislation is far overdue. Requiring police to obtain a warrant before using GPS car trackers or other GPS vehicle tracking devices has not hampered any investigative work by police, and neither would requiring police to obtain a warrant before observing GPS locational data from cell phones.
Are you concerned that your personal locational data and information stored on your cell phone can be accessed without probable case or reason?