Warrants not required for police to get your cell phone records from wireless carriers

United States Court says Police dont require warrant to get your mobile phone cell-site records

A federal appeals court in United States has ruled that police dont not need a warrant to obtain a suspect’s cell-site location data records.

Delivering the judgement in a court case filed by a Florida citizen, Quartavious Davis, the Judge Frank Hull upheld the 9-2 jury verdict (PDF) in favour of the prosecution.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the records of towers that a mobile phone uses to make calls are considered “business records” maintained by a “third party” and are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. The ruling means that the government and the police/investigating authorities can obtain these records without a warrant.

…Davis can assert neither ownership nor possession of the third-party’s business records he sought to suppress. Instead, those cell tower records were created by MetroPCS, stored on its own premises, and subject to its control. Cell tower location records do not contain private communications of the subscriber. This type of non-content evidence, lawfully created by a third-party telephone company for legitimate business purposes, does not belong to Davis, even if it concerns him. Like the security camera surveillance images introduced into evidence at his trial, MetroPCS’s cell tower records were not Davis’s to withhold. Those surveillance camera images show Davis’s location at the precise location of the robbery, which is far more than MetroPCS’s cell tower location records show.

Davis was sentenced to life imprisonment for robbery based on his cell site records. He had approached sessions court claiming that the cell sites records produced by the prosecution violated his freedom granted under the Fourth Amendment.

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