A criminal defendant's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when law enforcement agents obtained cellular location data from his cell phone provider without a warrant, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled. The court noted that at the time the agents asked the provider to “ping” the defendant's cell phone in order to discern his location, he was in a car on a public roadway. The court concluded that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his location when he was at a place that was open to visual surveillance.
Devega v. State of Georgia, 689 S.E.2d 293 (Ga. Feb. 1, 2010) Download PDF
Editor's Note: The subject of warrantless searches of cellular location information is also before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in In re Application of the United States of America, No. 08-4227 (Third Cir.). The Government is appealing a district court order requiring law enforcement agents to obtain a warrant in order to obtain cell site data from a cellular carrier. The issues are discussed on the Proskauer New Media and Technology law blog.