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Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Fourth Amendment

Surveillance

2015

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No More Shortcuts: Protect Cell Site Location Data With A Warrant Requirement, Lauren E. Babst Jan 2015

No More Shortcuts: Protect Cell Site Location Data With A Warrant Requirement, Lauren E. Babst

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

In modern society, the cell phone has become a virtual extension of most Americans, managing all kinds of personal and business matters. Modern cell tower technology allows cell service providers to accumulate a wealth of individuals’ location information while they use their cell phones, and such data is available for law enforcement to obtain without a warrant. This is problematic under the Fourth Amendment, which protects reasonable expectations of privacy. Under the Katz two-prong test, (1) individuals have an actual, subjective expectation of privacy in their cell site location data, and (2) society is prepared to acknowledge that expectation as …