The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut called on lawmakers to strengthen privacy protections for cell phone tracking.

The ACLU of Connecticut has repeatedly raised concerns that the current rules have enabled police to utilize the law to track people’s cell phones 14,000 times.

David McGuire, Staff Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said, “To the best of our knowledge, every order applied for has been granted largely because the standard is so low. That means scores of Connecticut residents have had their Fourth Amendment privacy rights violated through warrantless cell phone tracking.”

Technological advances in cellular communication have made it possible for law enforcement agents to obtain geo-locational information about the vast majority of Americans with great precision—and in real time. When they are powered on, cell phones constantly send detailed location data to the cellular carrier. Even phones without a GPS function leave a trail of contact with cell phone towers. Like GPS technology, this provides law enforcement agents with a powerful and inexpensive method of tracking individuals over an extended period of time and over an unlimited expanse of space as they traverse public and private areas.

Connecticut General Statutes § 54-47aa(g) was passed in 2005 and it permits law enforcement to track a person by his or her cell phone upon stating only a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed. The law has been used over 14,000 times since it was passed. That means scores of Connecticut residents have had their Fourth Amendment privacy rights violated through warrantless cell phone tracking.

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