Police Track Personal Cell Phones Without a Warrant

It is safe to say that most people in this country own a cell phone and use it to communicate in a variety of ways. There is a growing trend for people to cancel their landline phone numbers at home and rely exclusively on their cell phones. What people may not know is that the various law enforcement agencies around the country routinely track cell phones without warrants and without notifying the user in any way.

This tracking can take the form of tapping into the GPS information on a phone to learn a person’s location (which of course is very useful if a child or other person is missing). Most phones these days have GPS capabilities so their locations can be tracked. The police tracking also takes the form of directing phone companies and software companies like Google and Apple to give the law enforcement agencies location information, text messages and data that can be used for investigative purposes. Law enforcement agencies can also have the phone companies clone a person’s cell phone so the agency can receive the same text messages and other data as the user.

Some law enforcement agencies do get search warrants before seeking this kind of information. However, many do not which leaves a lot of discretion with the various police agencies and gives them free reign to intrude into a person’s private life for “investigative purposes”, whatever that may mean in any particular case.

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