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Bill Would Require Warrant For Police Cell Phone Tracking

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Two women compare cell phones. (credit: Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)

Two women compare cell phones. (credit: Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand/AFP)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Tracking your location through your cell phone will be a bit more complicated for police if Governor Perry signs one bill at the state capitol.

As it stands, it’s fairly easy for police to track your moves. Texas law allows service providers to release your personal location information to government agencies with no questions asked.

American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU) policy strategist Matt Simpson said just like anything else personal, there should be a process to collecting information. “Just like ya know, going to your house and going through your mail, or going through your car. Law enforcement should follow Fourth Amendment standards and kind of the spirit of the Fourth Amendment when these searches are conducted.”

The Fourth Amendment extends protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

House Bill 1608 would require police officers and prosecutors to prove probable cause and be granted a warrant from a judge before having access to records.

The bill has passed through the Legislature and is waiting for Governor Perry’s signature.

Simpson insists the bill would help with prosecutions. “This process doesn’t create really a hurdle, it just ensures that when this location information is used in criminal investigations it will be constitutionally sought and it won’t be suppressed at trial for being wrongfully collected.”

Currently authorities don’t need a warrant for access to email, and even email drafts, that are more than 180 days old.

But everyone doesn’t support the bill; some police officers and prosecutors are arguing that the higher standard of proof would make it harder to catch criminals in long-term investigations.

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