The U.S. Supreme Court decided 5-4 that government police must get a warrant to acquire location data in people’s phones. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion and was joined by the four liberals, with the four “conservatives” dissenting in their support of the police state and criminal gestapo tactics for government police to search and track people.
The data in your cell phone are what I would call part of one’s personal “effects,” and are protected by the Fourth Amendment which states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Your whereabouts are also part of your personal effects, in my view. And I think this should apply whether the data in question exist in one’s cell phone or on the provider’s servers (which obviously are the provider’s property). Perhaps there needs to be a specification in one’s cell or phone provider contract that specifically addresses one’s data and who may access the data and with whose permission. There needs to be more providers like Joseph Nacchio who attempted to protect his Qwest Communications customers from the criminal intrusiveness of the feds in their post-9/11 hysteria.
And what is wrong with “conservatives” like Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy in their shameful defense of the police state?
The true conservative’s answer to these questions of police searching without a warrant is that the laws they are enforcing are bad laws and should be repealed. They shouldn’t even be enforced. There needs to be a moral reinforcement by the Supreme Court in addressing bad laws by outright asserting that the laws themselves are resulting in the violation of the lives and liberty of the people, and for no good reason.
Government should not be tracking an individual unless it has a reason to suspect someone of criminal activity. And by “criminal,” I mean actual criminality, such as assault, theft or robbery, fraud, rape, murder, etc. The aforementioned case in particular did happen to involve robberies. But the problem with many of these cases is that they revolve around drugs and the goddamn drug war, as well as the many, many laws on the books regarding finances, laws which shouldn’t be on the books. So in many cases the government and its enforcers are the criminals in their violating the right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, houses, and effects, in the government’s attempts to enforce the thousands of laws on the books which should not exist.
And it’s not as much regarding the “right to privacy” as it is the “right to be secure.” The “right to be secure” means to be protected from over-zealous, incompetent or corrupt and possibly criminally-minded government enforcers of illicit rules of bureaucracy and immoral prohibitions, many enforcers of which have caused great damage to the lives and liberty of innocent, peaceful people.