Shawn Tuma: Privacy in the digital age

November 30, 2017

Shawn Tuma Attorney & Cyber-Security Expert
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court hears its latest case about privacy in the digital age. At issue is whether police generally need a warrant to review the records. The court will hear arguments in an appeal by federal prison inmate Timothy Carpenter. He is serving a 116-year sentence after a jury convicted him of armed robberies in the Detroit area and northwestern Ohio. Investigators helped build their case by matching Carpenter's use of his smartphone to cell towers near Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores that had been robbed. The question is whether prosecutors should have been required to convince a judge that they had good reason, or probable cause, to believe Carpenter was involved in the crime. That's the standard set out in the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which also prohibits unreasonable searches. Prosecutors obtained the records by meeting a lower standard of proof.  This is being called the most important 4th Amendment and data privacy case in decades. So how will it likely shake out? Should law enforcement have to get a warrant to access your smartphone records? Are you comfortable knowing the government can track your every move, thanks to your cell phone? Or is that a legal bridge too far?

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