Senator Markey Praises Supreme Court Decision Requiring Warrants to Track an Individual’s Mobile Phone Location
In 2012, Markey called on law enforcement to require warrants for location tracking
Boston (June 22, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Carpenter v. United States that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain a person’s historical cell phone location information.
“SCOTUS today updated the 4th amendment for the 21st century digital world,” said Senator Markey. “Where we go or where we have been is sensitive information that should only be revealed to law enforcement with a warrant. The Court’s decision takes a big step forward for privacy by saying the government can’t track a person’s past movements through the records of their cell phone signal without probable cause. Police need a warrant to search an individual’s home, and that will now be the standard for mobile phone location records, as well. We need to continue to update our laws to protect the privacy of Americans in this increasingly digital world.”
In 2012, Senator Markey revealed, as part of his ongoing investigation in law enforcement requests from wireless carriers for information about its customers, for the first time, that upwards of 1.3 million requests were made in 2011 by law enforcement for consumer mobile phone information. The responses also revealed that the number of requests by law enforcement is increasing each year. Then-Congressman Markey continued that investigation the following year, which prompted several carriers, including Verizon and AT&T decided on their own to publish transparency reports. In 2012, Senator Markey also drafted legislation which included a requirement that location tracking could only be authorized with a judge’s approval when there is probable cause to believe it will uncover evidence of a crime.