Should Police Require a Warrant to Track Your Cell Location Data?

ios7It’s an odd and interesting world that we live in. Caregivers in some parts of the world must gain written consent from Alzheimer’s patients in order to use GPS tracking to keep tabs on wandering loved ones. Yet, law enforcement officials can demand that cell phone carriers hand over phone location data at the drop of a hat.

What gives?

Your Phone and GPS Tracking

You probably know that your phone can be tracked accurately. Do you know how? Most smartphones contain GPS tracking chips. These chips let carriers track phones down to a precise location – but GPS trackers aren’t entirely needed either. Carriers can find the location of a phone by simply finding the nearest towers to a phone. So, yeah, turning off that location tracking data isn’t going to stop law enforcement officials from asking carriers to see your wandering records!

Feeling ready to protest? You aren’t alone.

In the states of Maine and Montana, courts have passed laws that require law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant prior to seeking tracking information. Massachusetts is currently working on a similar law. But, what if you live in a state that hasn’t passed this type of law? Can you be tracked?

Simply put: if you carry a phone, you can be tracked. We can boil that down a bit more to read: if you carry a phone, you can be tracked, and law enforcement can obtain a log of your movements just by requesting this information from your carrier.

As it turns out, Hollywood is right. The only way to get someone off of your tail is to toss that phone in the trashcan (then again, most of us aren’t likely to toss hundreds of dollars in the trash, right?). There’s a good side to this coin too, though.

On The Bright Side

Sure, police can track your every move using GPS tracker technology. But, that means that police can also track the moves of wanted criminals. You know, those people that you don’t want to run into on a deserted street. Setting up laws that require police to obtain warrants prior to a carrier location search isn’t a bad idea, but it will slow down the “capture and arrest” process.

What do you think? Should law enforcement officials require warrants to track down criminals using cellphone data?

If you are on the side of the law enforcement, we do have a number of GPS trackers that are used by uniformed officials every day. Check out our site to see the inventory that we offer – and don’t forget to leave your comments about this article below!

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