Kansas Police Attempt to Access Cell Phones Could Have National Implications

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A case in which a Kansas federal judge denied a request by a law enforcement agency to obtain a “geofence” search warrant demanding Google hand over location data from cell phones could have big implications for what remains private on people’s devices, reports KMBC News. The law enforcement agency wanted the location data from all phones near a building where a federal crime allegedly occurred.

While magistrate Judge Angel Mitchell, of Topeka, ruled the law enforcement agency did not prove the suspect had a cellphone, saying the agency did not fully explain the reason for requesting an hour’s worth of location data from Google near the building, she left open the possibility the agency could narrowly tailor the geofence request. The judge ruled the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protecting citizens against unreasonable search and seizure requires much more detail from the government regarding geofence search warrants to not invade privacy.

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