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Police don't need warrant for your phone location data, court finds

The ruling ends a split between the courts on whether asking a company for location data provided by users requires a warrant.

Josh Miller

The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that police asking a company to provide phone location data offered up by users does not represent a search under the Fourth Amendment and can be done without a warrant.

It's commonplace for many apps to request access to your location data, and the ruling was based on an earlier Supreme Court precedent that information volunteered to a third party is fair game.

Judge Wynn, a dissenting voice on the court, mirrored the concerns of privacy advocates:

"Only time will tell whether our society will prove capable of preserving age-old privacy protections in this increasingly networked era. But one thing is sure: this Court's decision today will do nothing to advance that effort."