Court issues decision supporting privacy rights in cell phone tracking case, P.2
In our last post, we mentioned a recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals while held that prosecutors are not able to use evidence obtained through the warrantless use of cell phone tracking technology in criminal cases. As we noted, no opinion has been released as yet in support of the decision.
The technology at issue works by acting like a cell phone tower so that cell phones can connect with them and make their data available. This allows investigators to access information about phones and their locations, and not only the phones of suspects, but of others in the area as well, as far out as the device projects a signal.
At present, the law concerning warrant use with these devices is not uniform. At the federal level, the Justice Department's current policy is to require search warrants before using the devices. Even so, there are exceptions to the warrant requirement which allow officers to use the technology in certain situations. The potentially expansive nature of these exceptions is a matter of concern.
As we pointed out last time, privacy is an important issue in any criminal investigation, and those who face criminal charges should always work with an experienced defense attorney to ensure they fully explore evidentiary issues, especially concerning evidence obtained without a warrant. In cases where evidence has been obtained illegally, it is possible to seek relief. Such protection is not available, though, unless it is sought out by making a well argued motion to suppress evidence.