Keeping pace with technological changes, the Supreme Court ruled on June 22, 2018 that the government is now required to issue a warrant to obtain cell phone records containing cell phone tower location data, including other types of digital data that provides a detailed look at a person’s private life. However, the Court carved out specific exceptions, including bomb threats, child abductions, and other incidences when inaction could result in irreparable harm.
The Fourth Amendment allows law enforcement to retrieve necessary records, including but not limited to, location data, cell phone records, bank records, etc. when probable cause is shown. The new ruling may slow down law enforcement’s capacity to turn over cases due to the new litigation required to access such records; however, the Court’s ruling is a significant victory for privacy rights advocates. Read more on the matter here.