As nearly every adult in Wisconsin knows, cell phones are no longer just for making calls. Smartphones have been broadly adopted, and texts, social media, and media consumption are often the main applications of phones nowadays.
With this in mind, the level of privacy cell phone information deserves is once again before the high court. As NBC News reports, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case hinging on whether or not law enforcement is able to access cell phone location information without first obtaining a warrant. This tracking data, which comes from calls and texts using nearby antenna towers to transmit messages over the network, has been used as a way to map the movements a person made. Used in court against various suspects, this information has been used to show that a person was nearby when crimes occurred, and those in favor say there is no expectation of privacy for this data. The court will determine if using this data without a warrant infringes on the rights of the cell phone user. The case will be heard in the fall.
Some cell phone data is already protected by the Fourth Amendment. According to CNN, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that cell phones were not subject to warrantless searches. Unlike wallets and vehicles, law enforcement is not given even limited privileges to examine cell phones or other electronic devices until a search warrant has been obtained. The ruling protects citizens from having personal information used against them without probable cause determined by a judge.