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Privacy Rights in Balance as Supreme Court Hears Cellphone Tracking Case

November 29, 2017

Privacy rights in the digital age face a crucial test Wednesday when the Supreme Court hears a case over police use of a person’s location data from cellphone towers.

Civil liberties advocates from both the right and the left have called for the US high court to agree that privacy rights guaranteed by the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment extend to electronic data held by third parties — phone companies in this case — but by implication any data held by social media companies or stored in the digital cloud.

But law enforcement authorities, faced with the challenges of phones used under false identities and with unbreakable encryption, say access to such data is crucial to fighting crime.

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