Post details: CA5 finds historical cell site location data a mere business record unprotected by Fourth Amendment (2-1)

07/31/13

Permalink 12:00:02 am, by fourth, 995 words, 949 views   English (US)
Categories: General

CA5 finds historical cell site location data a mere business record unprotected by Fourth Amendment (2-1)

The Fifth Circuit (2-1) finds historical cell site location data a mere business record not protected by the Fourth Amendment. [Note the NJ Supreme Court disagreed 12 days earlier.] In Re: Application of the United States of America for Historical Cell Site Data, 724 F.3d 600, 58 Comm. Reg. (P & F) 1292 (5th Cir. 2013) [note: some news article links at end]:

[More:]

This qualification that the right to possession hinges on whether the third party created the record to memorialize its business transaction with the target, rather than simply recording its observation of a transaction between two independent parties, recently gained context and support from a case decided by the Sixth Circuit. In that case, United States v. Warshak, the court of appeals held that the “government may not compel a commercial [internet service provider] to turn over the contents of a subscriber’s emails without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.” 631 F.3d 266, 288 (6th Cir. 2010). The court reasoned that the emails were communications between two subscribers, not communications between the service provider and a subscriber that would qualify as business records. The provider was merely the “intermediary.” Id. at 286.

Defining business records as records of transactions to which the recordkeeper is a party also fits well with the historical and statutory distinction between communications content and addressing information. See United States v. Forrester, 512 F.3d 500, 511 (9th Cir. 2008) (“In a line of cases dating back to the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court has held that the government cannot
engage in a warrantless search of the contents of sealed mail, but can observe whatever information people put on the outside of mail, because that information is voluntarily transmitted to third parties.”) (collecting cases); see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 2703(b)-(c). Communications content, such as the contents of letters, phone calls, and emails, which are not directed to a business, but simply sent via that business, are generally protected. However, addressing information, which the business needs to route those communications appropriately and efficiently are not. See Smith, 442 U.S. at 741 (finding significant that pen registers, unlike the listening device employed in Katz, “do not acquire the contents of communications” and do not require a warrant); Forrester, 512 F.3d at 511 (“The government’s surveillance of e-mail addresses also may be technologically sophisticated, but it is conceptually indistinguishable from government surveillance of physical mail. ... E-mail, like physical mail, has an outside address ‘visible’ to the third-party carriers that transmit it to its intended location, and also a package of content that the sender presumes will be read only by the intended recipient.”).

Under this framework, cell site information is clearly a business record. The cell service provider collects and stores historical cell site data for its own business purposes, perhaps to monitor or optimize service on its network or to accurately bill its customers for the segments of its network that they use. The Government does not require service providers to record this information or store it. The providers control what they record and how long these records are retained. The Government has neither “required [n]or persuaded” providers to keep historical cell site records. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 961 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment). In the case of such historical cell site information, the Government merely comes in after the fact and asks a provider to turn over records the provider has already created.

Moreover, these are the providers’ own records of transactions to which it is a party. The caller is not conveying location information to anyone other than his service provider. He is sending information so that the provider can perform the service for which he pays it: to connect his call. And the historical cell site information reveals his location information for addressing purposes, not the contents of his calls. The provider uses this data to properly route his call, while the person he is calling does not receive this information.

. . .

We understand that cell phone users may reasonably want their location information to remain private, just as they may want their trash, placed curbside in opaque bags, Greenwood, 486 U.S. at 40-41, or the view of their property from 400 feet above the ground, Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445, 451 (1989), to remain so. But the recourse for these desires is in the market or the political process: in demanding that service providers do away with such records (or anonymize them) or in lobbying elected representatives to enact statutory protections. The Fourth Amendment, safeguarded by the courts, protects only reasonable expectations of privacy.

Recognizing that technology is changing rapidly, we decide only the narrow issue before us. Section 2703(d) orders to obtain historical cell site information for specified cell phones at the points at which the user places and terminates a call are not categorically unconstitutional. We do not address orders requesting data from all phones that use a tower during a particular interval, orders requesting cell site information for the recipient of a call from the cell phone specified in the order, or orders requesting location information for the duration of the calls or when the phone is idle (assuming the data are available for these periods). Nor do we address situations where the Government surreptitiously installs spyware on a target’s phone or otherwise hijacks the phone’s GPS, with or without the service provider’s help.

NYT: Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld by Somini Sengupta

Law.com: No Warrant Needed for Cell Site Data, Fifth Circuit Says by Mike Scarcella

Wired.com: Cops Can Track Cellphones Without Warrants, Appeals Court Rules by David Kravets ("The 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the third federal appeals court to decide the privacy issue. Adding to the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court might take up the topic, New Jersey’s high court two weeks ago ruled that warrants were required for the location data.")

Most lower court opinions find it information protected by the Fourth Amendment, as does NJ.

Pingbacks:

No Pingbacks for this post yet...

FourthAmendment.com

Notes on Use

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
<< <     
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

Search

by John Wesley Hall
Criminal Defense Lawyer and
  Fourth Amendment consultant
Little Rock, Arkansas
Contact / The Book
Search and seizure law consulting
www.johnwesleyhall.com

© 2003-14, online since Feb. 24, 2003

HWC e
URL hits since 2010

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fourth Amendment cases,
citations, and links

Latest Slip Opinions:
U.S. Supreme Court
(Home)
Federal Appellate Courts Opinions
  First Circuit
  Second Circuit
  Third Circuit
  Fourth Circuit
  Fifth Circuit
  Sixth Circuit
  Seventh Circuit
  Eighth Circuit
  Ninth Circuit
  Tenth Circuit
  Eleventh Circuit
  D.C. Circuit
  FDsys: Many district courts
  FDsys: Many federal courts
  FDsys: Other
  Military Courts: C.A.A.F., Army, AF, N-M, CG
State courts (and some USDC opinions)

Google Scholar
Advanced Google Scholar
Google search tips
LexisWeb
LII State Appellate Courts
LexisONE free caselaw
Findlaw Free Opinions
To search Search and Seizure on Lexis.com $

Most recent SCOTUS cases:
2009 to date:

2013-14 Term:
  Riley v. California, granted Jan.17, argued Apr. 29 (ScotusBlog)
  United States v. Wurie, granted Jan.17, argued Apr. 29 (ScotusBlog)
  Plumhoff v. Rickard, granted Nov. 15, argued Mar. 4 (ScotusBlog)
  Stanton v. Sims, 134 S.Ct. 3, 187 L. Ed. 2d 341 (Nov. 4, 2013) (per curiam)
  Navarette v. California, granted Oct.1, argued Jan. 21 (ScotusBlog)
  Fernandez v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1126, 188 L. Ed. 2d 25 (Feb. 25) (ScotusBlog)

2012-13 Term:
  Maryland v. King, 133 S.Ct. 1958, 186 L.Ed.2d 1 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
  Missouri v. McNeeley, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 185 L.Ed.2d 696 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
  Bailey v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 1031, 185 L.Ed.2d 19 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
  Florida v. Harris, 133 S.Ct. 1050, 185 L.Ed.2d 61 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
  Florida v. Jardines, 133 S.Ct. 1409, 185 L.Ed.2d 495 (2013) (ScotusBlog)
  Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 185 L.Ed.2d 264 (2013) (ScotusBlog)

2011-12 Term:
  Ryburn v. Huff, 132 S.Ct. 987, 181 L.Ed.2d 966 (2012) (other blog)
  Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders, 132 S.Ct. 1510, 182 L.Ed.2d 566 (2012) (ScotusBlog)
  United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945, 181 L.Ed.2d 911 (2012) (ScotusBlog)
  Messerschmidt v. Millender, 132 S.Ct. 1235, 182 L.Ed.2d 47 (2012) (ScotusBlog)

2010-11 Term:
  Kentucky v. King, 131 S.Ct. 1849, 179 L.Ed.2d 865 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
  Camreta v. Greene, 131 S.Ct. 2020, 179 L.Ed.2d 1118 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
  Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 179 L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011) (ScotusBlog)
  Davis v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 2419, 180 L.Ed.2d 285 (2011) (ScotusBlog)

2009-10 Term:

  Michigan v. Fisher, 558 U.S. 45, 130 S.Ct. 546, 175 L.Ed.2d 410 (2009) (per curiam) (ScotusBlog)
  City of Ontario v. Quon, 560 U.S. 746, 130 S.Ct. 2619, 177 L.Ed.2d 216 (2010) (ScotusBlog)

2008-09 Term:
  Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135, 129 S.Ct. 695, 172 L.Ed.2d 496 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
  Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 129 S.Ct. 808, 172 L.Ed.2d 565 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
  Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 129 S.Ct. 781, 172 L.Ed.2d 694 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
  Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 129 S.Ct. 1710, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009) (ScotusBlog)
  Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364, 129 S.Ct. 2633, 174 L.Ed.2d 354 (2009) (ScotusBlog)


Research Links:
  Supreme Court:
  SCOTUSBlog
  S. Ct. Docket
  Solicitor General's site
  SCOTUSreport
  Briefs online (but no amicus briefs) 
  Curiae (Yale Law)
  Oyez Project (NWU)
  "On the Docket"–Medill
  S.Ct. Monitor: Law.com
  S.Ct. Com't'ry: Law.com

  General (many free):
  LexisWeb
  Google Scholar | Google
  LexisOne Legal Website Directory
  Crimelynx
  Lexis.com $
  Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $
  Findlaw.com
  Findlaw.com (4th Amd)
  Westlaw.com $
  F.R.Crim.P. 41
  www.fd.org

  FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf)
  DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download)
  DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf)

  Congressional Research Service:
    Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012)
    Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012)
    Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012)
    Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012)
    Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012)

  ACLU on privacy
  Privacy Foundation
  Electronic Privacy Information Center
  Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.)
  Section 1983 Blog

"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
—Me

"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud

"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today."
Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property."
Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment."
United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable."
Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

"You can't always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

"In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

“You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
Pepé Le Pew

"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
Malcolm Forbes

"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)


Misc

XML Feeds

What is RSS?

Who's Online?

  • ketitesetug Email
  • sypecrucceeme Email
  • immuctiohic Email
  • wearsehem Email
  • iteptinenna Email
  • nakreinia Email
  • vomozigocog Email
  • slepleentaiff Email
  • jinonoforse Email
  • noistnoxolo Email
  • fuhintoneetef Email
  • suegreefult Email
  • illilmbiostus Email
  • himbdyday Email
  • jineunreali Email
  • autociava Email
  • oppopezed Email
  • shourryhego Email
  • cyperewly Email
  • emunlinuifofs Email
  • comeensuche Email
  • aerothshiesse Email
  • gopiestinee Email
  • n8psrzqgca Email
  • pyncnachind Email
  • arteltwedlode Email
  • spisyfoes Email
  • merzerenunc Email
  • scargaice Email
  • hildevavalm Email
  • jolosizezef Email
  • Guest Users: 74

powered by
b2evolution