The ACLU of Montana is joining ACLU affiliates across the country in an investigation into how law enforcement uses cell phone data to track the public.
The ACLU of Montana sent letters today to the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and sheriff's departments in Cascade, Yellowstone, Missoula, Gallatin, Flathead and Butte-Silver Bow counties requesting information about if and how they are using mobile phone data to track Montanans.
Montanans privacy must be protected in this digital age.
Law enforcement agencies are being asked for information including:
- Policies and procedures for obtaining cell phone location records;
- Statistics on how frequently law enforcement agencies obtain cell phone location data;
- The use of cell phone location records to identify users at a particular location or within "communities of interest," and
- Other policies and procedures related to mobile phone location data.
The Montana Supreme Court has already ruled that cell phone communications are private and cannot be monitored without a warrant. We believe that location information collected by mobile phones is also private.
The ACLU's requests are part of a massive cross-country effort in which 34 affiliates in 31 states have requested similar information from more than 370 law enforcement agencies.
The public has a right to know how the government is accessing their location information.
Law enforcement's use of cell phone location data has been widespread for years, although it has become increasingly controversial recently.
Congress is considering the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, a bill supported by the ACLU that would require police to get a warrant to obtain personal location information. The bill would protect both historical and real-time location data, and would also require customers' consent for telecommunications companies to collect location data. Take action now to tell Congress To Update Privacy Laws to Protect Location Information.
Today's requests are part of the ACLU's Demand Your dotRights Campaign, the organization's campaign to make sure that as technology advances, privacy rights are not left behind.