Treasury Watchdog Warns of Warrantless Use of Cellphone Data

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A new Treasury Department watchdog report warns that law enforcement agencies may not be on firm legal footing when they use cellphone GPS data drawn from mobile apps without obtaining a warrant first, reports the Wall Street Journal. Many government lawyers have concluded that the decision in the 2018 Supreme Court case of Carpenter v. United States doesn’t apply because it addresses data held by cellphone carriers that contain a subscriber’s personally identifying information, rather than GPS location data drawn from apps, which doesn’t. The watchdog’s report is only a recommendation, and its interpretation of the law hasn’t been blessed by any court. However, it is the first known government analysis to raise serious doubt about the legality of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies purchasing highly revealing information generated by U.S. cellphones and other digital services.

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