Police can Grab cell phone records without Warrant, Court Rules

Federal Appeals Court rules that citizens shouldn’t have any “expectation of privacy” when a third-party firm has access to data as sensitive as cell phone records.

The United States Court of Appeals in its recent session decided that police will not have to show a warrant in order to collect cell phone records from carriers.

The Federal Appeals Court for the Eleventh Circuit upturned its decision on Tuesday and ruled that citizens shouldn’t have any “expectation of privacy” when a third-party firm or carriers holds their cell phone records.


The ruling happens to be the latest case of testing the scale and scope of the fourth amendment. The Fourth Amendment has been designed to prohibit the government from performing unreasonable searches and seizures.

One of the judges stated that the Fourth Amendment could increase the surveillance power of the government now when the police don’t require a warrant, according to Wall Street Journal

Citizens shouldn’t have any “expectation of privacy”

Related News: Cops Need Warrants To Get Phone Location Data

Nathan Freed Wessler, the staff attorney at ACLU, stated that the Supreme Court will most likely take this issue. He also said that:

“As the dissenting judges recognized, outdated legal doctrines from the analog age should not be mechanically extended to undermine our privacy rights in the voluminous digital records that come with modern life.”

Here’s what judge said in his opinion: 

The stored telephone records produced in this case, and in many other criminal cases, serve compelling governmental interests. Historical cell tower location records are routinely used to investigate the full gamut of state and federal crimes, including child abductions, bombings, kidnappings, murders, robberies, sex offenses, and terrorism-related offenses.

Davis had at most a diminished expectation of privacy in business records made, kept, and owned by MetroPCS; the production of those records did not entail a serious invasion of any such privacy interest, particularly in light of the privacy-protecting provisions of the SCA; the disclosure of such records pursuant to a court order authorized by Congress served substantial governmental interests; and, given the strong presumption of constitutionality applicable here, any residual doubts concerning the reasonableness of any arguable “search” should be resolved in favor of the government.

Read the full decision below:

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