Cops need permission, but no warrant, for cell phone data

A federal judge says police need a judge's permission to get cell phone companies to turn over data


Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal judge says police need a judge's permission, but not a warrant, to get cellphone companies to turn over data showing where a suspect used his cellphone.

The order came down earlier this month from Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

A lower court judge had ruled earlier that police needed a warrant before forcing a cellphone carrier to turn over records showing where a bank robbery suspect had used his phone. Cellphone carriers keep records of where cellphones are used by tracking the towers used to transmit signals.

Lamberth ruled that police did not need a warrant. However, he did say police have to explain to a judge why that information is relevant to their investigation.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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