The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution is supposed to provide every citizen a reasonable expectation of privacy. The problem is that since 1791, when it was ratified, the Courts seem to be shaving off the rights to the benefit of the State.
Now the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has just carved off another slice. In an en banc (where the case is heard before the entire bench), the Court ruled that since cell phone subscribers voluntarily disclose their location to the cell phone providers, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to cell phone location data.
It has long been held that the Fourth Amendment right to privacy attaches to a "reasonable expectation of privacy:" i.e., the reasonable expectation of privacy is extremely high in the home, less so in a car, where people can look through the windows and see what is in there.
Here, the Court ruled that, since cell phone users allow third parties (cell phone companies) to have their location data, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy of that data, including location data. Of course, the opinion seems to ignore the fact that most cell phone providers assure customers of the safety of their personal information.
Another blow to the Fourth Amendment, another opportunity for the State to peer into our lives. Calling Big Brother.
For a more through look at the decision, click here for the N.C. Criminal Law Blog's post on the matter.
Contact our Greensboro criminal defense attorneys, who operate in Greensboro, High Point and Randolph County for a free consultation today.