88% of American Adults Have Cell Phones – Easy Access to GPS Data?


GPS location data on cell phone accounts for virtually every adult in the US based on Pew Research recent report that an astonishing 88% of US adults have cell phones. Whether a search warrant will be required for GPS data appears to be changing very quickly. 

With the support of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on August 22, 2012 the California legislature passed the Location Privacy Act which includes these provisions:

  • no government entity shall obtain the location information of an electronic device without a warrant issued by an officer of the court.
  • guards against abuses of long-term monitoring of an electronic device by limiting search warrants for location information to a timeframe no longer than is necessary, and not to exceed 30 days.

It is interesting how quickly California passed this new bill given the fact that the ruling that no warrant was required for DEA tracking of GPS data of a drug suspect which was issued only 8 days earlier in US v. Skinner on August 14, 2012!

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