Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Privacy in the Cellphone Age; New York Times, June 7, 2017

Editorial Board, New York Times; Privacy in the Cellphone Age

"Odds are you need to use that phone in your pocket many times a day — and doing so leaves you no choice but to constantly relay data revealing your location and movements to Verizon, AT&T or whatever cellphone company you pay for the service. For most people, most of the time, that’s not a concern, if they’re aware of it at all. But how easy should it be for the government to get its hands on that data?

That’s the question at the heart of a major new case the Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear. The justices’ decision could redefine not only the limits on law enforcement access to cellphone-location records, but the future of surveillance more broadly...

In 2014, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote that cellphones have become “such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”

The third-party doctrine needs to be reimagined in light of Americans’ new relationship to technology and their rapidly changing expectations of data privacy.

If not, Congress should follow what several states have already done and pass legislation requiring warrants for phone-location data."

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