U.S. Supreme Court holds that historical cell site location data is subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy

In a landmark 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government conducts a search under the Fourth Amendment and therefore, absent exigent circumstances, needs a warrant supported by probable cause when obtaining cell site location information (CSLI) (i.e., records of the cell towers to which mobile devices connect).

The majority reached that conclusion based on the determination that such location records are subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy that continues to apply even though the location records are disclosed to the cellphone user's wireless carrier, a third party.

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