A nice surprise

The Supreme Court denies warrant-free phone tracking:

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of digital privacy.

In a 5-4 decision on Friday the justices said that police need warrants to gather phone location data as evidence for trials. That reversed and remanded a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Carpenter v. United States is the first case about phone location data that the Supreme Court has ruled on. That makes it a landmark decision regarding how law enforcement agencies can use technology as they build cases. The court heard arguments in the case on Nov. 29.

The dispute dates back to a 2011 robbery in Detroit, after which police gathered months of phone location data from Timothy Carpenter’s phone provider. They pulled together 12,898 different locations from Carpenter, over 127 days.

Interesting that it was the liberals on the court actually ruled in favor of warrants. These days, they only seem to want to increase government power.

ROBERTS,  C.  J.,  delivered  the  opinion  of  the  Court,  in  which  GINS-BURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.  KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS and ALITO, JJ., joined.  THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion.  ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS, J., joined.  GORSUCH, J., filed a dissenting opinion. 

I was particularly unimpressed by Alito’s dissent. Location tracking records simply cannot be confused with ordinary documentation.