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Cellphones Used for Tracking - Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized

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Summary of "Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized"

In "Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized" writing by Nikki Swartz for the Information Management Journal in 2006, Ms. Swartz scrutinizes the use of mobile phone tracking by cellular companies and the government. First, Ms. Swartz points out that while 200 million Americans have cell phones, many are not aware that the cellular providers know within 300 yards, the location of their subscribers whenever a phone is turned on. Ms. Swartz adds that enforcement officials have been able to easily obtain court orders to use cellular technology as a tool for secretly monitoring the movements of suspects until recently. At which time the practice has come under tougher legal scrutiny. Also, Ms. Swartz reports there have been recent cases in which judges have denied prosecutors the right to get cell phone tracking information due to not showing "probable cause" that a crime has been committed. Ms. Swartz notes that while prosecutors have argued that the USA Patriot ACT could be used to allow cell phone tracking, some judges have ruled that cell phone tracking must meet the same high legal standard required to obtain a search warrant. Ms. Swartz believes the stream of data that carries telephone conversation and emails contain so much personal information that this will make it harder for the courts to determine if certain digital surveillance methods invokes Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

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