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Court of Appeals Requires Warrant  for Access to Location Data

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier decision that the government cannot seize historical cell-site data without first satisfying strict warrant requirements. The data identifies the location of the towers nearest to a mobile phone user at the beginning and end of each call, often logged over more than a year's time. A Pennsylvania magistrate required "probable cause" for access to a suspect's cell-site data. When the government appealed, the Third Circuit upheld the magistrate judge's decision. After the government's second appeal for a rehearing, the Third Circuit has once again upheld the requirement for a higher showing.  For more information, see EPIC: Wiretapping and EPIC: Locational Privacy.



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