Supreme Court surveillance opinion nudges us to think nationally, act locally

Supreme Court surveillance opinion nudges us to think nationally, act locally

Enlarge / The Supreme Court of the United States, as seen in 2017. (credit: Phil Roeder / Flickr)

Christmas came on Friday, June 22 this year—that is, if you’re a privacy and surveillance law nerd.

After deliberating the decision for months, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Carpenter v. United States, a case in which the court was asked to answer the question: is it OK for police to obtain 127-days worth of someone’s cell-site location information (CSLI) without a warrant?

In a 5-4 decision, the court found that the answer was “no.” This is clearly a landmark step toward stronger privacy protections, and the opinion builds on two other related cases that the court unanimously decided in 2012 (Jones v. United States) and 2014 (Riley v. California).

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