Law enforcement does not need to obtain a search warrant in order to obtain cell phone location data from network operators, according to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
law enforcement needs to obtain a court order, which does not need to
meet the same rigorous legal requirements as a search warrant, in order
to obtain the location data.
The court of appeals called the data "a
business record that belongs to the network operator." As such, Fourth
Amendment protections shouldn't apply.
The new ruling conflicts with
those made in other states in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the
state of New Jersey said that law enforcement must obtain a search
warrant in order to collect location data from cellphone providers.