May 5, 2015 2:00 pm -


A federal appeals court says a warrant isn’t needed for cellphone tower tracking.

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overturning a three-judge panel of the same court, concluded that authorities properly got 67 days’ worth of records from MetroPCS for Miami robbery suspect Quartavious Davis using a court order with a lower burden of proof.

In its 9-2 decision, the 11th Circuit decided Davis had no expectation of privacy regarding historical records establishing his location near certain cellphone towers. The records were key evidence used to convict Davis of a string of armed robberies, leading to a 162-year prison sentence.

In fact, Circuit Judge Frank M. Hull wrote for the majority, it’s clear that cellphone users in today’s society understand how companies collect data about calls and that cell towers are a key part of that.

“We find no reason to conclude that cellphone users lack facts about the functions of cell towers or about telephone providers’ recording cell tower usage,” Hull wrote. “This cell tower method of call connecting does not require a different constitutional result just because the telephone company has decided to automate wirelessly.”

Two judges dissented, contending the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause and a search warrant for such records and some judges in the majority agreed in separate opinions that the U.S. Supreme Court should make the ultimate decision. Davis attorney David O. Markus said the dissent could provide a “roadmap” for a likely appeal to the high court.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

6 responses to Court Says Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Not Illegal

  1. Pilotshark May 5th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    So this “get the latest from Alan ” banner is getting very very annoying and just about ready to say GOOD BY!!
    i have signed up and it still shows up. SMH

    sorry to vent OT.

    • fahvel May 6th, 2015 at 4:07 am

      no pilot, you’re right. It is annoying to the point of finding another site where nice people (not tooth decay) can assemble without being spied upon by some idiot info collecting site. Kinda makes me wonder about this site or the fact that it seems to be being handled from abroad.

    • bpollen May 6th, 2015 at 4:11 am

      Do you use Adblock? I haven’t seen this banner of which you speak.

  2. Budda May 5th, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I always turn my phone off….it’s there for me, not incoming jibber-jabber. If you are really concerned, take the sim card out and use other phones.

  3. robert May 5th, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    so georgia likes to support the patriot act

    what else is new ?

  4. illinoisboy1977 May 5th, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Something to remember: The cell phone company is actually the owner of the records. As long as they voluntarily give up the information, no warrant is needed. Also, historically, phone records have been subject to scrutiny with nothing more than a subpoena. The Supreme Court will have the final word on this, I’m sure. However, I can see them upholding the tradition of a lower burden of proof, for the records.