In this moment in time, we live via our cellphones, and much of our public and privates lives take places on these devices. Which is why news that law enforcement agencies continue to search for ways of monitoring that information, always raises our blood pressure. But there is hope. The courts are pushing back. Hopefuly they do so with all their might.
From the New York Times:
The issue will attract attention on Thursday when a Senate committee considers limited changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a 1986 law that regulates how the government can monitor digital communications. Courts have used it to permit warrantless surveillance of certain kinds of cellphone data.
A proposed amendment would require the police to obtain a warrant to search e-mail, no matter how old it was, updating a provision that currently allows warrantless searches of e-mails more than 180 days old.
As technology races ahead of the law, courts and lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to think about the often intimate data that cellphones contain, said Peter P. Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University. Neither the 1986 statute nor the Constitution, he said, could have anticipated how much information cellphones may contain, including detailed records of people’s travels and diagrams of their friends.
“It didn’t take into account what the modern cellphone has — your location, the content of communications that are easily readable, including Facebook posts, chats, texts and all that stuff,” Mr. Swire said.