Is the Department of Justice Tracking Your Mobile Phone Without a Warrant?

Public Records Guy seizes on an interesting legal battle between the Department of Justice and the ACLU.

In 2007, some U.S. Attorneys Offices were quoted in the news saying that federal law enforcement didn't need warrants or probable cause to track people's movements using the signals emitted by their moble phones. The ACLU wasn't so sure about that. The Justice Department rebuffed the ACLU's FOIA request for more information on the program. Now, the ACLU is suing the DOJ to get some real answers:
WASHINGTON (CN) - The Department of Justice has violated open government laws, says the ACLU in a Federal Court action, by rejecting requests for information about the government's role in "tracking the location of individuals' mobile phones without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause."
The ACLU submitted the [FOIA] request after court decisions and media reports revealed that the United States Attorneys Offices were claiming not to need probable cause to obtain real-time tracking information and that some field offices were violating a DOJ 'internal recommendation' that 'federal prosecutors seek warrants based on probably cause to obtain precise location data in private areas.' ... The information now in the public domain suggests that defendant may be engaging in unauthorized and potentially unconstitutional tracking of individuals through their mobile phones. ... The limited information currently available about the government's tracking practices raises serious questions about whether the government is complying with the law and the Constitution." [Courthouse News]
Julian Sanchez has many more details at Ars Technica.

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