Cell-Site Location Data and the Right to Privacy

By: Jen Manso

Summary: This case addresses privacy rights as they relate to cell-site location data in light of the United States v. Jones decision. I argue that Jones provides little guidance and therefore cannot apply to cell-site location data for the following reasons. First, the Court did not reach the issue of cell-site location data. Second, the majority of the Court based its reasoning in property rights. Third, the majority narrowed its decision to the actual physical trespass of a GPS device placed on a vehicle and not the tracking information. Remaining loyal to Katz, a constitutional right to privacy in the information gathered via cell-site location data does not exist because the information is stored and openly available to third parties.

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