- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2014

Florida’s Supreme Court has barred police from track suspects via cellphone signals without a warrant.

“Because cellphones are indispensable to so many people are normally carried on one’s person, cellphone tracking can easily invade the right to privacy in on’e home or other private ares,” Chief Justice Jorge Labarga wrote Thursday in the 5-2 ruling, Reuters reported.

The ruling was based on a Broward County case in which sheriff’s deputies stopped a suspect who was in possession of 400 grams of cocaine, Reuters reported. They had received a court order to capture the telephone numbers of all his calls — but “for some unexplained reason,” the captured information included data showing where the suspect was, the court ruled, Reuters reported.

Sheriff’s deputies then received a tip that the suspect was heading out for a drug deal and they tracked him using this location data, ultimately arresting him in possession of the drug, Reuters reported.

“The use of his cell site location information emanating from his cellphone in order to track him in real time was a search within the purview of the Fourth Amendment for which probable cause was required,” Mr. Labarga said, Reuters reported.

Benjamin Stevenson, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the ruling was a big victory.

“Technology is changing all the time, but just because a technology you own is newer than the Constitution’s protections doesn’t mean it is exempt from them,” he said, Reuters reported. 

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide