No Warrant Is Required

A very controversial topic

Did you know you are being tracked right now by the government? The police now is making requests to cell phone companies in order to know the location of their users. It became known in today’s Lawyers.com Radio broadcast where the host Matt Plessner interviews Editor in Chief Larry Bodine.

The good news is: “They’re not asking to listen in on the calls, they just say, ‘we want to know where the person is,’” Bodine says.

According to The Fourth Amendment, the police is required to get a search warrant in almost all cases. Also, The Fourth Amendment, the part of the Bill and Rights, guards people against unreasonable searches and seizures, including arrest. Thus, to be able to get a warrant, the police has to show probable cause that a crime has been committed.

The controversial part of the event is that the police is saying, “We don’t want to bother showing probable cause. We don’t want to bother getting a warrant. We just want the information, just based on our request.”

What’s so special about a Local Record?

Bodine said that the police can get a lot of the information about a cell phone user. For example, they can tell you exactly where you are at the moment. In other words, it’ll be easy to tell whether you went to a bar or a church; whether you are a student or an employee. Even the door you knocked on can be easily identified.

He also explains that there are things people don’t want to make available for anybody. But in this case, your habits, your relationships and all your activities can be figured by the police. It sounds more like an incredible invasion of privacy.

Basically, everything depends on what kind of a cell phone you’re carrying with you. If you have an ordinary phone — to check your location is possible any time you make a call, text or send an e-mail. With a smartphone, everything gets even more complicated, because of a GPS signal; your phone can be checked even though it is on or it is turned off. But, in any event, it can be done without a warrant.

Here’s a link to an audio recorded from the radio station: http://bcove.me/msxqhc08

Embarrassing Photos and Invasion of Privacy

  

Have you ever been tagged in an embarrassing photo that has been posted somewhere on the web and wondered if your rights have in any way been violated?  If you answered yes to this question then you are not alone.

In a fascinating blog posting by Evan Brown on the Internetcases Blog entitled: Social media legal best practices: some problems and solutions with uploading photos and tagging people, the issues surrounding Invasion of Privacy are explored in detail.  Common sense applies in this area.  If someone takes a photo of you in a public place and/or with a number of other people, you probably do not have a legal protection to a right of privacy in that situation. There are however; several different situations where the law will recognize your rights to privacy:

  1. Intrusion Upon Seclusion is a legal claim that can be made when someone has intentionally intruded (physically or otherwise) upon the solitude or seclusion of another individual.  An example would be taking a photo of a person in the dressing room of a store.  In this situation, the person who is trying on clothes has the right to expect that their privacy while dressing and undressing will be protected and respected.
  2. Publication of Private Facts is a form of invasion of privacy by publishing private, non newsworthy facts about another person in a way that would be offensive to a reasonable person.  Posting explicit photos of an ex-girlfriend that were obtained in confidence while in a relationship would be an example of this type of invasion of privacy.

For a complete list of the various scenarios under which the law would support the potential recovery of damages, please read the full article.