Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Police blotter: Feds' cell phone tracking denied | CNET

Cell phones are miniature radio transmitters that constantly broadcast their location even when no call is in progress.

The FBI and other police agencies often seek access to that location-tracking information, which displays the cell phone owner's movements in real time. But only now are judges beginning to scrutinize what have traditionally been routine tracking requests--and concluding that police must show at least some evidence of actual criminal activity.

Police blotter was the first to report last month that a federal judge had blocked a Justice Department's eavesdropping request. Since then, two subsequent court decisions also have rejected police surveillance procedures aimed at monitoring the location of cell phone users.

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