Patchwork of Cellphone Warrant Laws Will Trip up Providers

July 10, 2013 – In The News

Scott Vernick was quoted in the Law360 article "Patchwork of Cellphone Warrant Laws Will Trip up Providers." While the full text can be found in the July 10, 2013, issue of Law360, a synopsis is below.

The article notes that as federal lawmakers stand idly by on the issue of allowing law enforcement officials to access cellphone location services without a warrant, state legislatures are stepping into the area, with Maine and Montana the first two to require a warrant.

“State lawmakers move much more adroitly than federal lawmakers, and they will take these types of privacy issues because they are easy to grab on to and make for good political theater and good legislations,” said Vernick, a noted authority on privacy law.

Vernick asserted that the law recently passed in Maine appears to be consistent with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that government GPS tracking on a suspected drug dealer’s car constituted a Fourth Amendment search.

“In the case, the court rested its decision on traditional notions of privacy and expectations of privacy,” Vernick said. “With the new law, the Maine legislature recognized that the location from which a person is making a call, which most individuals would believe requires a warrant to identify if they are on a landline, should be private even if they are using newer technology.”