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Posted by: thepinetree on 06/22/2018 12:26 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 06/22/2018 10:58 PM
Expires: 01/01/2023 12:00 AM

In Win For Privacy Supreme Court Rules Warrant Needed For Phone Location Data

Washington, DC...Some paragraphs from Roberts's Opinion..."The Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The “basic purpose of this Amendment,” our cases have recognized, “is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials.” Camara v. Municipal Court of City and County of San Francisco, 387 U. S. 523, 528 (1967). The Founding generation crafted the Fourth Amendment as a “response to the reviled ‘general warrants’ and ‘writs of assistance’ of the colonial era, which allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity.” Riley v. California, 573 U. S. ___, ___ (2014) (slip op., at 27). In fact, as John Adams recalled, the patriot James Otis’s 1761 speech condemning writs of assistance was “the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain” and helped spark the Revolution itself. Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 27–28) (quoting 10 Works of John Adams 248 (C. Adams ed. 1856)).

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For much of our history, Fourth Amendment search doctrine was “tied to common-law trespass” and focused on whether the Government “obtains information by physically intruding on a constitutionally protected area.” United States v. Jones, 565 U. S. 400, 405, 406, n. 3 (2012).More recently, the Court has recognized that “property rights are not the sole measure of Fourth Amendment violations.” Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U. S. 56, 64 (1992). In Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347, 351 (1967),we established that “the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places,” and expanded our conception of the Amendment to protect certain expectations of privacy as well. When an individual “seeks to preserve something as private,” and his expectation of privacy is “one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable,” we have held that official intrusion into that private sphere generally qualifies as a search and requires a warrant supported by probable cause. Smith, 442 U. S., at 740 (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted).

Although no single rubric definitively resolves which expectations of privacy are entitled to protection,1 the
—————— 1 JUSTICE KENNEDY believes that there is such a rubric—the “property-based concepts” that Katz purported to move beyond. Post, at 3 (dissenting opinion). But while property rights are often informative, our cases by no means suggest that such an interest is “fundamental” or “dispositive” in determining which expectations of privacy are legitimate. Post, at 8–9. JUSTICE THOMAS (and to a large extent JUSTICE GORSUCH) would have us abandon Katz and return to an analysis is informed by historical understandings “of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when [the Fourth Amendment] was adopted.” Carroll v. United States, 267 U. S. 132, 149 (1925). On this score, our cases have recognized some basic guideposts. First, that the Amendment seeks to secure “the privacies of life” against “arbitrary power.” Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 630 (1886). Second, and relatedly, that a central aim of the Framers was “to place obstacles in the way of a toopermeating police surveillance.” United States v. Di Re, 332 U. S. 581, 595 (1948).

We have kept this attention to Founding-era understandings in mind when applying the Fourth Amendmentto innovations in surveillance tools. As technology has enhanced the Government’s capacity to encroach upon areas normally guarded from inquisitive eyes, this Court has sought to “assure[ ] preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted.” Kyllo v. United States, 533
U. S. 27, 34 (2001). For that reason, we rejected in Kyllo a “mechanical interpretation” of the Fourth Amendment and held that use of a thermal imager to detect heat radiating from the side of the defendant’s home was a search. Id., at 35. Because any other conclusion would leave homeowners “at the mercy of advancing technology,” we determined that the Government—absent a warrant—could not capitalize on such new sense-enhancing technology to explore what was happening within the home. Ibid.

Likewise in Riley, the Court recognized the “immense storage capacity” of modern cell phones in holding that police officers must generally obtain a warrant before searching the contents of a phone. 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17). We explained that while the general rule allowing warrantless searches incident to arrest “strikes the appropriate balance in the context of physical objects,neither of its rationales has much force with respect to” the vast store of sensitive information on a cell phone. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 9).

The case before us involves the Government’s acquisition of wireless carrier cell-site records revealing the location of Carpenter’s cell phone whenever it made or received calls. This sort of digital data—personal location information maintained by a third party—does not fit neatly under existing precedents. Instead, requests for cell-site records lie at the intersection of two lines of cases, both of which inform our understanding of the privacy interests at stake. The first set of cases addresses a person’s expectation of privacy in his physical location and movements.

In United States v. Knotts, 460 U. S. 276 (1983), we considered the Government’s use of a “beeper” to aid in tracking a vehicle through traffic. Police officers in that case planted a beeper in a container of chloroform before it was purchased by one of Knotts’s co-conspirators. The officers (with intermittent aerial assistance) then followed the automobile carrying the container from Minneapolis to Knotts’s cabin in Wisconsin, relying on the beeper’s signal to help keep the vehicle in view. The Court concluded that the “augment[ed]” visual surveillance did not constitute a search because “[a] person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another.” Id., at 281, 282. Since the movements of the vehicle and its final destination had been “voluntarily conveyed to anyone who wanted to look,” Knotts could not assert a privacy interest in the information obtained. Id., at 281.

This Court in Knotts, however, was careful to distinguish between the rudimentary tracking facilitated by the beeper and more sweeping modes of surveillance. The Court emphasized the “limited use which the government made of the signals from this particular beeper” during a discrete “automotive journey.” Id., at 284, 285. Significantly, the Court reserved the question whether “different constitutional principles may be applicable” if “twenty-four hour surveillance of any citizen of this country [were] possible.” Id., at 283–284.

Three decades later, the Court considered more sophisticated surveillance of the sort envisioned in Knotts and found that different principles did indeed apply. In United States v. Jones, FBI agents installed a GPS tracking device on Jones’s vehicle and remotely monitored the vehicle’s movements for 28 days. The Court decided the case based on the Government’s physical trespass of the vehicle. 565 U. S., at 404–405. At the same time, five Justices agreed that related privacy concerns would be raised by,for example, “surreptitiously activating a stolen vehicle detection system” in Jones’s car to track Jones himself, or conducting GPS tracking of his cell phone. Id., at 426, 428 (ALITO, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 415 (SOTOMAYOR, J., concurring). Since GPS monitoring of a vehicle tracks “every movement” a person makes in that vehicle, the concurring Justices concluded that “longer term GPS monitoring in investigations of most offenses impinges on expectations of privacy”—regardless whether those movements were disclosed to the public at large. Id., at 430 (opinion of ALITO, J.); id., at 415 (opinion of
Cite as: 585 U. S. ____ (2018) 9
Opinion of the Court
In a second set of decisions, the Court has drawn a line between what a person keeps to himself and what he shares with others. We have previously held that “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” Smith, 442
U. S., at 743–744. That remains true “even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose.” United States v. Miller, 425
U. S. 435, 443 (1976).

As a result, the Government is typically free to obtain such information from the recipientwithout triggering Fourth Amendment protections.

This third-party doctrine largely traces its roots to Miller. While investigating Miller for tax evasion, the Government subpoenaed his banks, seeking several months of canceled checks, deposit slips, and monthly statements. The Court rejected a Fourth Amendment challenge to the records collection. For one, Miller could “assert neither ownership nor possession” of the documents; they were “business records of the banks.” Id., at
440. For another, the nature of those records confirmed Miller’s limited expectation of privacy, because the checks were “not confidential communications but negotiable instruments to be used in commercial transactions,” and the bank statements contained information “exposed to [bank] employees in the ordinary course of business.” Id., at 442. The Court thus concluded that Miller had “take[n] the risk, in revealing his affairs to another, that the information [would] be conveyed by that person to the Government.” Id., at 443.

Three years later, Smith applied the same principles in the context of information conveyed to a telephone company. The Court ruled that the Government’s use of a pen register—a device that recorded the outgoing phone numbers dialed on a landline telephone—was not a search.Noting the pen register’s “limited capabilities,” the Court “doubt[ed] that people in general entertain any actual expectation of privacy in the numbers they dial.” 442
U. S., at 742. Telephone subscribers know, after all, that the numbers are used by the telephone company “for a variety of legitimate business purposes,” including routing calls. Id., at 743. And at any rate, the Court explained, such an expectation “is not one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.” Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted). When Smith placed a call, he “voluntarily conveyed” the dialed numbers to the phone company by “expos[ing] that information to its equipment in the ordinary course of business.” Id., at 744 (internal quotation marks omitted).

Once again, we held that the defendant “assumed the risk” that the company’s records “would be divulged to police.” Id., at 745. III The question we confront today is how to apply the Fourth Amendment to a new phenomenon: the ability to chronicle a person’s past movements through the record of his cell phone signals. Such tracking partakes of many of the qualities of the GPS monitoring we considered in Jones. Much like GPS tracking of a vehicle, cell phone location information is detailed, encyclopedic, and effortlessly compiled.

At the same time, the fact that the individual continuously reveals his location to his wireless carrier implicates the third-party principle of Smith and Miller. But while the third-party doctrine applies to telephone numbers and bank records, it is not clear whether its logic extends to the qualitatively different category of cell-site records.After all, when Smith was decided in 1979, few could have imagined a society in which a phone goes wherever its owner goes, conveying to the wireless carrier not just dialed digits, but a detailed and comprehensive record of the person’s movements.

We decline to extend Smith and Miller to cover these novel circumstances. Given the unique nature of cellphone location records, the fact that the information is held by a third party does not by itself overcome the user’s claim to Fourth Amendment protection. Whether the Government employs its own surveillance technology as in Jones or leverages the technology of a wireless carrier, we hold that an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements as captured through CSLI. The location information obtained from Carpenter’s wireless carriers was the product of a search.

The parties suggest as an alternative to their primary submissions that the acquisition of CSLI becomes a search only if it extends beyond a limited period. See Reply Brief 12 (proposing a 24-hour cutoff); Brieffor United States 55–56 (suggesting a seven-day cutoff). As part of its argument, the Government treats the seven days of CSLI requested from Sprint as the pertinent period, even though Sprint produced only two days of records. Brief for United States 56. Contrary to JUSTICE KENNEDY’s assertion, post, at 19, we need not decide whether there is a limited period for which the Government may obtain an individual’s historical CSLI free from Fourth Amendment scrutiny, and if so, how long that period might be. It is sufficient for our purposes today to hold that accessing seven days of CSLI constitutes a Fourth Amendment search.

A person does not surrender all Fourth Amendment protection by venturing into the public sphere. To the contrary, “what [one] seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz, 389 U. S., at 351–352. A majority of this Court has already recognized that individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the whole of their physical movements. Jones, 565 U. S., at 430 (ALITO, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 415 (SOTOMAYOR, J., concurring). Prior to the digital age, law enforcement might have pursued a suspect for a brief stretch, but doing so “for any extended period of time was difficult and costly and therefore rarely undertaken.” Id., at 429 (opinion of ALITO, J.). For that reason, “society’s expectation has been that law enforcement agents and others would not—and indeed, in the main, simply could not—secretly monitor and catalogue every single movement of an individual’scar for a very long period.” Id., at 430. Allowing government access to cell-site records contravenes that expectation. Although such records are generated for commercial purposes, that distinction does not negate Carpenter’s anticipation of privacy in his physical location.

Mapping a cell phone’s location over the course of 127 days provides an all-encompassing record of the holder’s whereabouts. As with GPS information, the timestamped data provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his “familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” Id., at 415 (opinion of SOTOMAYOR, J.). These location records “hold for many Americans the ‘privacies of life.’” Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 28) (quoting Boyd, 116 U. S., at 630). And like GPS monitoring, cell phone tracking is remarkably easy,cheap, and efficient compared to traditional investigative tools. With just the click of a button, the Government can access each carrier’s deep repository of historical location information at practically no expense.

In fact, historical cell-site records present even greater privacy concerns than the GPS monitoring of a vehicle we considered in Jones. Unlike the bugged container in Knotts or the car in Jones, a cell phone—almost a “feature of human anatomy,” Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 9)—tracks nearly exactly the movements of its owner.While individuals regularly leave their vehicles, they compulsively carry cell phones with them all the time. A cell phone faithfully follows its owner beyond public thoroughfares and into private residences, doctor’s offices,political headquarters, and other potentially revealing locales. See id., at ___ (slip op., at 19) (noting that “nearly three-quarters of smart phone users report being within five feet of their phones most of the time, with 12% admitting that they even use their phones in the shower”); contrast Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U. S. 583, 590 (1974) (plurality opinion) (“A car has little capacity for escaping public scrutiny.”). Accordingly, when the Government tracks the location of a cell phone it achieves near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user.

Moreover, the retrospective quality of the data here gives police access to a category of information otherwise unknowable. In the past, attempts to reconstruct a person’s movements were limited by a dearth of records and the frailties of recollection. With access to CSLI, the Government can now travel back in time to retrace a person’s whereabouts, subject only to the retention polices of the wireless carriers, which currently maintain records for up to five years. Critically, because location information is continually logged for all of the 400 million devices in the United States—not just those belonging to persons who might happen to come under investigation—this newfound tracking capacity runs against everyone. Unlike with the GPS device in Jones, police need not even know in advance whether they want to follow a particular individual, or when.

Whoever the suspect turns out to be, he has effectively been tailed every moment of every day for five years, and the police may—in the Government’s view—call upon the results of that surveillance without regard to the constraints of the Fourth Amendment. Only the few without cell phones could escape this tireless and absolute surveillance.

The Government and JUSTICE KENNEDY contend, however, that the collection of CSLI should be permitted because the data is less precise than GPS information.Not to worry, they maintain, because the location records did “not on their own suffice to place [Carpenter] at the crime scene”; they placed him within a wedge-shaped sector ranging from one-eighth to four square miles. Brief for United States 24; see post, at 18–19. Yet the Court has already rejected the proposition that “inference insulates a search.” Kyllo, 533 U. S., at 36. From the 127 days of location data it received, the Government could, in combination with other information, deduce a detailed log of Carpenter’s movements, including when he was at the siteof the robberies. And the Government thought the CSLI accurate enough to highlight it during the closing argument of his trial. App. 131.

At any rate, the rule the Court adopts “must take account of more sophisticated systems that are already inuse or in development.” Kyllo, 533 U. S., at 36. While the records in this case reflect the state of technology at thestart of the decade, the accuracy of CSLI is rapidly approaching GPS-level precision. As the number of cell sites has proliferated, the geographic area covered by each cell sector has shrunk, particularly in urban areas. In addition, with new technology measuring the time and angle ofsignals hitting their towers, wireless carriers already have the capability to pinpoint a phone’s location within 50 meters. Brief for Electronic Frontier Foundation et al. as Amici Curiae 12 (describing triangulation methods that estimate a device’s location inside a given cell sector). Accordingly, when the Government accessed CSLI fromthe wireless carriers, it invaded Carpenter’s reasonable expectation of privacy in the whole of his physical movements.

The Government’s primary contention to the contrary is that the third-party doctrine governs this case. In its view, cell-site records are fair game because they are“business records” created and maintained by the wireless carriers. The Government (along with JUSTICE KENNEDY)recognizes that this case features new technology, but asserts that the legal question nonetheless turns on a garden-variety request for information from a third-party witness. Brief for United States 32–34; post, at 12–14. The Government’s position fails to contend with the seismic shifts in digital technology that made possible the tracking of not only Carpenter’s location but also everyone else’s, not for a short period but for years and years.

Sprint Corporation and its competitors are not your typical witnesses. Unlike the nosy neighbor who keeps an eye on comings and goings, they are ever alert, and their memory is nearly infallible. There is a world of difference between the limited types of personal information addressed in Smith and Miller and the exhaustive chronicle of location information casually collected by wireless carriers today. The Government thus is not asking for a straightforward application of the third-party doctrine, but instead a significant extension of it to a distinct category of information.The third-party doctrine partly stems from the notion that an individual has a reduced expectation of privacy in information knowingly shared with another. But the fact of “diminished privacy interests does not mean that the Fourth Amendment falls out of the picture entirely.” Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 16). Smith and Miller, after all, did not rely solely on the act of sharing. Instead, they considered “the nature of the particular documents sought” to determine whether “there is a legitimate ‘expectation of privacy’ concerning their contents.” Miller, 425

U. S., at 442. Smith pointed out the limited capabilities of a pen register; as explained in Riley, telephone call logs reveal little in the way of “identifying information.” Smith, 442 U. S., at 742; Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 24). Miller likewise noted that checks were “not confidential communications but negotiable instruments to be used in commercial transactions.” 425 U. S., at 442. In mechanically applying the third-party doctrine to this case, the Government fails to appreciate that there are no comparable limitations on the revealing nature of CSLI.

The Court has in fact already shown special solicitude for location information in the third-party context. In Knotts, the Court relied on Smith to hold that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in public movements that he “voluntarily conveyed to anyone who wanted to look.” Knotts, 460 U. S., at 281; see id., at 283 (discussing Smith). But when confronted with more pervasive tracking, five Justices agreed that longer term GPS monitoring of even a vehicle traveling on public streets constitutes a search. Jones, 565 U. S., at 430 (ALITO, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 415 (SOTOMAYOR, J., concurring). JUSTICE GORSUCH wonders why “someone’s location when using a phone” is sensitive, post, at 3, and JUSTICE KENNEDY assumes that a person’s discrete movements “are not particularly private,” post, at 17. Yet this case is not about “using a phone” or a person’s movement at a particular time. It is about a detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment, over several years.

Such a chronicle implicates privacy concerns far beyond those considered in Smith and Miller. Neither does the second rationale underlying the third-party doctrine—voluntary exposure—hold up when it comes to CSLI. Cell phone location information is not truly “shared” as one normally understands the term. In the first place, cell phones and the services they provide are “such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life” that carrying one is indispensable to participation in modern society. Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 9).

Second, a cell phone logs a cell-site record by dint of its operation,without any affirmative act on the part of the user beyond powering up. Virtually any activity on the phone generates CSLI, including incoming calls, texts, or e-mails and countless other data connections that a phone automatically makes when checking for news, weather, or social media updates. Apart from disconnecting the phone from the network, there is no way to avoid leaving behind a trail of location data. As a result, in no meaningful sense does the user voluntarily “assume[] the risk” of turning over a comprehensive dossier of his physical movements. Smith, 442 U. S., at 745.

We therefore decline to extend Smith and Miller to the collection of CSLI. Given the unique nature of cell phone location information, the fact that the Government obtained the information from a third party does not overcome Carpenter’s claim to Fourth Amendment protection. The Government’s acquisition of the cell-site records was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

* * * Our decision today is a narrow one. We do not express a view on matters not before us: real-time CSLI or “tower dumps” (a download of information on all the devices that connected to a particular cell site during a particular interval). We do not disturb the application of Smith and Miller or call into question conventional surveillance techniques and tools, such as security cameras. Nor do we address other business records that might incidentally reveal location information. Further, our opinion does not consider other collection techniques involving foreign affairs or national security. As Justice Frankfurter noted when considering new innovations in airplanes and radios,the Court must tread carefully in such cases, to ensure that we do not “embarrass the future.” Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Minnesota, 322 U. S. 292, 300 (1944).4

Having found that the acquisition of Carpenter’s CSLI was a search, we also conclude that the Government must generally obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before acquiring such records. Although the “ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a governmental search is ‘reasonableness,’” our cases establish that warrantless searches are typically unreasonable where “a search is undertaken by law enforcement officials to discover evidence of criminal wrongdoing.” Vernonia School Dist. 47J
v. Acton, 515 U. S. 646, 652–653 (1995). Thus, “n theabsence of a warrant, a search is reasonable only if it falls within a specific exception to the warrant requirement.” Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 5).
The Government acquired the cell-site records pursuant to a court order issued under the Stored Communications Act, which required the Government to show “reasonable grounds” for believing that the records were “relevant and
—————— 4 JUSTICE GORSUCH faults us for not promulgating a complete code addressing the manifold situations that may be presented by this new technology—under a constitutional provision turning on what is “reasonable,” no less. Post, at 10–12. Like JUSTICE GORSUCH, we “do not begin to claim all the answers today,” post, at 13, and therefore decide no more than the case before us material to an ongoing investigation.” 18 U. S. C. §2703(d). That showing falls well short of the probable cause required for a warrant. The Court usually requires “some quantum of individualized suspicion” before a search or seizure may take place. United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U. S. 543, 560–561 (1976). Under the standard in the Stored Communications Act, however, law enforcement need only show that the cell-site evidence might be pertinent to an ongoing investigation—a “gigantic” departure from the probable cause rule, as the Government explained below. App. 34. Consequently, an order issued under Section 2703(d) of the Act is not a permissible mechanism for accessing historical cell-site records. Before compelling a wireless carrier to turn overa subscriber’s CSLI, the Government’s obligation is a familiar one—get a warrant.

JUSTICE ALITO contends that the warrant requirement simply does not apply when the Government acquiresrecords using compulsory process. Unlike an actual search, he says, subpoenas for documents do not involvethe direct taking of evidence; they are at most a “constructive search” conducted by the target of the subpoena. Post, at 12. Given this lesser intrusion on personal privacy, JUSTICE ALITO argues that the compulsory production ofrecords is not held to the same probable cause standard.In his view, this Court’s precedents set forth a categorical rule—separate and distinct from the third-party doctrine—subjecting subpoenas to lenient scrutiny without regard to the suspect’s expectation of privacy in the records. Post, at 8–19.

But this Court has never held that the Government may subpoena third parties for records in which the suspect has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Almost all of the examples JUSTICE ALITO cites, see post, at 14–15, contemplated requests for evidence implicating diminished privacy interests or for a corporation’s own books.5 The lone exception, of course, is Miller, where the Court’s analysis of the third-party subpoena merged with the application of the third-party doctrine. 425 U. S., at 444 (concluding that Miller lacked the necessary privacy interest to contest the issuance of a subpoena to his bank).

JUSTICE ALITO overlooks the critical issue. At some point, the dissent should recognize that CSLI is an entirely different species of business record—something that implicates basic Fourth Amendment concerns about arbitrary government power much more directly than corporate tax or payroll ledgers. When confronting new concerns wrought by digital technology, this Court has been careful not to uncritically extend existing precedents. See Riley, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 10) (“A search of the information on a cell phone bears little resemblance to the type of brief physical search considered [in prior precedents].”).

If the choice to proceed by subpoena provided a categorical limitation on Fourth Amendment protection, no type of record would ever be protected by the warrant requirement. Under JUSTICE ALITO’s view, private letters, digital contents of a cell phone—any personal information reduced to document form, in fact—may be collected by
—————— 5See United States v. Dionisio, 410 U. S. 1, 14 (1973) (“No person can have a reasonable expectation that others will not know the sound of his voice”); Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U. S. 408, 411, 415 (1984) (payroll and sales records); California Bankers Assn. v. Shultz, 416
U. S. 21, 67 (1974) (Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements); See v. Seattle, 387 U. S. 541, 544 (1967) (financial books and records); United States v. Powell, 379 U. S. 48, 49, 57 (1964) (corporate tax records); McPhaul v. United States, 364 U. S. 372, 374, 382 (1960) (books and records of an organization); United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U. S. 632, 634, 651–653 (1950) (Federal Trade Commission reporting requirement); Oklahoma Press Publishing Co. v. Walling, 327 U. S. 186, 189, 204–208 (1946) (payroll records); Hale v. Henkel, 201 U. S. 43, 45, 75 (1906) (corporate books and papers). subpoena for no reason other than “official curiosity.” United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U. S. 632, 652 (1950). JUSTICE KENNEDY declines to adopt the radical implications of this theory, leaving open the question whether the warrant requirement applies “when the Government obtains the modern-day equivalents of an individual’s own ‘papers’ or ‘effects,’ even when those papers or effects are held by a third party.” Post, at 13 (citing United States v. Warshak, 631 F. 3d 266, 283–288 (CA6 2010)). That would be a sensible exception, because it would prevent the subpoena doctrine from overcoming any reasonable expectation of privacy. If the third-party doctrine does not apply to the “modern-day equivalents of an individual’s own ‘papers’ or ‘effects,’” then the clear implication is that the documents should receive full Fourth Amendment protection. We simply think that such protection should extend as well to a detailed log of a person’s movements over several years.

This is certainly not to say that all orders compelling the production of documents will require a showing of probable cause. The Government will be able to use subpoenas to acquire records in the overwhelming majority of investigations. We hold only that a warrant is required in there are case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party.

Further, even though the Government will generally need a warrant to access CSLI, case-specific exceptionsmay support a warrantless search of an individual’s cell-site records under certain circumstances. “One well-recognized exception applies when ‘“the exigencies of the situation” make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that [a] warrantless search is objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.’” Kentucky v. King, 563
U. S. 452, 460 (2011) (quoting Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U. S. 385, 394 (1978)). Such exigencies include the need to pursue a fleeing suspect, protect individuals who are threatened with imminent harm, or prevent the imminent destruction of evidence. 563 U. S., at 460, and n. 3.

As a result, if law enforcement is confronted with an urgent situation, such fact-specific threats will likely justify the warrantless collection of CSLI. Lower courts, for instance, have approved warrantless searches related to bomb threats, active shootings, and child abductions. Our decision today does not call into doubt warrantless access to CSLI in such circumstances. While police mustget a warrant when collecting CSLI to assist in the mine-run criminal investigation, the rule we set forth does notlimit their ability to respond to an ongoing emergency.
* * * As Justice Brandeis explained in his famous dissent, the Court is obligated—as “subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the Government”—to ensure that the “progress of science”does not erode Fourth Amendment protections. Olmstead v. United States, 277 U. S. 438, 473–474 (1928). Here the progress of science has afforded law enforcement a powerful new tool to carry out its important responsibilities. At the same time, this tool risks Government encroachment of the sort the Framers, “after consulting the lessons of history,” drafted the Fourth Amendment to prevent. Di Re, 332 U. S., at 595.

We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information. In light of the deeply revealing nature of CSLI,its depth, breadth, and comprehensive reach, and the inescapable and automatic nature of its collection, the fact that such information is gathered by a third party does not make it any less deserving of Fourth Amendment protection. The Government’s acquisition of the cell-site records here was a search under that Amendment.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and Opinion of the Court the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

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Posted on: 2018-06-22 12:27:42   By: Anonymous

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2018-06-22 13:55:14   By: Anonymous
    I passed a law in 1996 that separates kids from parents who enter the U.S. illegally ….. Clinton
    I enforced the law he passed for 2 terms ….. Obama
    Isn't it hilarious that democrat's are demonizing me for enforcing THEIR law ? !! ….. PRESIDENT TRUMP

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      Posted on: 2018-06-22 15:39:52   By: Anonymous
      9:23 PM 06/19/2018
      Benny Johnson, The Daily Caller

      The media and political class become more and more outraged over the
      Trump administration’s decision to detain and prosecute immigrants illegally crossing the border.

      Lost in the debate is any acknowledgment that President Obama’s administration also used detention facilities.

      Current U.S. immigration laws, when enforced, have the consequence of temporarily separating adults who arrive with children into separate detention facilities in order to prosecute the adults.

      The policy of prosecuting immigrants for crossing the border illegally has been in place for multiple administrations. The Obama administration prosecuted half a million illegal immigrants and similarly separated families in the process. So did the Bush administration.

      Photos of border detention facilities from the Obama-era, taken during 2014, look nearly identical to the ones taken during the Trump era.

      You never see them, however. Here they are, taken in 2014 during a media tour of Obama-era detention facilities in Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona.

      As the Daily Caller previously reported, “Obama administration prosecuted nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants between FY 2010-FY2016. They referred 1/5 of illegals for prosecution, which often resulted in family separations.”


      [Reply ]

        Posted on: 2018-06-22 16:05:52   By: Anonymous
        I can't stop child seperations with an executive order. - Donald Trump

        [Reply ]

          Posted on: 2018-06-22 16:08:57   By: Anonymous
          I just grab them by the p---y. - Donald Trump

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Cant believe it
Posted on: 2018-06-22 12:54:04   By: Anonymous
In the age of a Dictatorship, there is still a Constitution, I thought it was gone with Kim, Putin,Duarte and all the role models your President thinks are heroes, and Great leaders
If you want be considered a great leader follow Obama's steps and CARE about your people, not you idiotic ego
This man ( use that word lightly as he appears no older than 6 or maybe 7 if you stretch)cares only about self.
If you Trumptards think you can reverse his fortunes (which 63% of America does not)

[Reply ]

    Re: Cant believe it
    Posted on: 2018-06-22 13:30:14   By: Anonymous
    You're incorrect, that's 62% of CALIFORNIANS, the rest of the Nation agrees with Trump.

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      Re: Cant believe it
      Posted on: 2018-06-22 13:58:43   By: Anonymous
      I can't believe our original "Can't believe" poster can't put a sentence together--no wha i mean. I'm curious about the information retained on cell phones. If you smash them with a hammer (hello Hillary Clinton) does that destroy the information?

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    Re: Cant believe it
    Posted on: 2018-06-22 13:57:47   By: Anonymous
    "If you want be considered a great leader follow Obama's steps and CARE about your people"

    Seriously? Obama used drones to assassinate US citizens without a trial, allowed the continued use of secret FISA courts with gag orders, fully supported the Patriot Act, and continued the security theater that is the TSA. Obama cared about the people the same way Joseph Stalin and Donald Trump did!

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      Re: Cant believe it
      Posted on: 2018-06-22 15:14:43   By: Anonymous
      Don't forget Obama's proud legacy of discord and divisiveness among the people. Pitting citizen against citizen, painting targets on the backs of police, encouraging rioting, looting, mayhem and destruction in cities and fanning the flames of racism.
      Of course, if you caused the unemployment and poverty of a large sector of Americans, I guess you'd have to give them something to do.

      [Reply ]

        Re: Cant believe it
        Posted on: 2018-06-22 16:02:26   By: Anonymous
        Remember to breathe, and remember you're winning.

        [Reply ]

          Re: Cant believe it
          Posted on: 2018-06-22 17:17:16   By: Anonymous
          I like pie.

          [Reply ]

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