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Supreme Court to hear blockbuster cellphone privacy case

Supreme Court to hear blockbuster cellphone privacy case

WASHINGTON EXAMINER – RYAN LOVELACE

The Supreme Court on Wednesday morning will hear arguments in a major privacy controversy about police tracking people through their cellphones that may bring about permanent changes to how the courts interpret the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

At issue in Carpenter v. United States is the constitutionality of police’s warrantless search and seizure of a cellphone user’s records to uncover that person’s location and movements.

The government obtained location data in 2011 on Timothy Carpenter, a suspected criminal in Detroit, without getting a warrant. Carpenter appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the government did not need a warrant. Carpenter’s lawyer and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to hear Carpenter’s case, and the justices agreed to do so in June.

The Carpenter case is one of the most anticipated cases of the high court’s current term in the technology and legal sectors. The U.S. Public Policy Council of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest computing professional society, said Tuesday it “considers this [case] a watershed moment” with “the legality of potentially indiscriminate government surveillance” at stake.

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