July 31, 2013
The Era of iSpying: Court Upholds Warrantless Cell-Phone Tracking

As ever, rumors are circulating about the features Apple may include on the next iteration of the iPhone. Will it store fingerprints as a security feature used to unlock the device or aid secure transactions? That’s the buzz. The idea has undoubted appeal. I’d love to press my thumb to a screen rather than entering the four-digit code the currently unlocks my device. But wait. If I store a thumbprint on my iPhone, does that mean the government would be free to seize it, sans warrant, on the theory that I forfeited any expectation of privacy when I gave it to Apple?
There is reason to think so.
The government doesn’t need a search warrant to extract location data from cell phone users, a federal court ruled Tuesday, noting that a cellular subscriber, “like a telephone user, understands that his cellphone must send a signal to a nearby cell tower in order to wirelessly connect his call.”
Read more. [Image: Gary Lerude/Flickr]

The Era of iSpying: Court Upholds Warrantless Cell-Phone Tracking

As ever, rumors are circulating about the features Apple may include on the next iteration of the iPhone. Will it store fingerprints as a security feature used to unlock the device or aid secure transactions? That’s the buzz. The idea has undoubted appeal. I’d love to press my thumb to a screen rather than entering the four-digit code the currently unlocks my device. But wait. If I store a thumbprint on my iPhone, does that mean the government would be free to seize it, sans warrant, on the theory that I forfeited any expectation of privacy when I gave it to Apple?

There is reason to think so.

The government doesn’t need a search warrant to extract location data from cell phone users, a federal court ruled Tuesday, noting that a cellular subscriber, “like a telephone user, understands that his cellphone must send a signal to a nearby cell tower in order to wirelessly connect his call.”

Read more. [Image: Gary Lerude/Flickr]

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    The ruling said that the location data is merely “business records.” But of course business records that are corporate...
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