Constitution Daily

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Podcast: The future of digital privacy

November 22, 2017 by NCC Staff


In late November, the Supreme Court will tackle a very modern question: Does it allow police to see where you’ve been for the past four months by looking at your cellphone data without a warrant?

In Carpenter v. United States, which will be argued on November 29, cell number data placed a robbery suspect, Timothy Ivory Carpenter, near the scenes of several crimes, and at about the same time as those crimes happened.  The phone information was used as evidence leading to Carpenter’s conviction on robbery charges.

Carpenter’s lawyers believe modern cellphone records are fundamentally different than traditional phone records cited in a 1979 Supreme Court decision at permits such searches without warrants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against Carpenter.

Alex Abdo of the Knight First Amendment Institute and Orin Kerr of George Washington Law debate whether warrantless searches and seizures of cellphone records violate the Fourth Amendment.

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