A new law in California has recently been introduced to require government agencies such as police departments to be required to obtain a warrant before using cell phone tracking on phones owned by the American public. This bill, introduced by State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), came about after a startling discovery by the American Civil Liberties Union that the majority of governmental agencies that participated in the study did not obtain a subpoena or warrant before using cell phone tracking on either the phone’s own GPS or cellular triangulation.
The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the topic of cell phone tracking in a recent case, United States vs. Jones, where a government agency installed a GPS tracking device on a defendant’s wife’s car after official warrant dates and in a completely different state than the warrant was procured. In a general consensus of the process of cell phone tracking and GPS tracking, they found that governmental agencies following these practices without a valid arrant were essentially trespassing on private property by installing a device to track movements and would be violating American citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights.
The bill, SB 1434, also is intended to protect citizens against cell phone tracking long-term by restricting governmental agencies to a set time frame generally no longer than 30 days. The bill will be heard by the California state Senate policy committees before the summer and the fate of the bill, and the American citizens facing unlawful cell phone tracking and GOS tracking, will be decided then.