The law is ever-changing. Society changes. Ideologies change. And technology advances. It is often difficult for the court’s to keep up with changes in the world and implementing or amending laws that are fair or outdated. But this is particularly so when it comes to cell phone technology and how to balance or implement the appropriate legal safeguards so that our constitutional protections are balanced and protected in every aspect of life. In recent years, the Massachusetts courts have been at the forefront of novel and legal issues as it pertains to cell phone privacy protections.
Several years ago, Massachusetts appellate courts addressed the issue of whether a warrant is required for the police to obtain a person’s cell site location information, or “CSLI” (the data from which your cell phone connects to a cell phone tower when a call is made, thereby providing an approximate location of the device at the time of the call). The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a warrant satisfying the standard of probable cause was required for the government to obtain CSLI data.
But what about real time data or “pinging” of one’s cell phone to obtain the precise location of a device? Continue reading →