Laura Prather in The Dallas Morning News: Texas Civil Liberties Advocates Seek Limits on Law Enforcement Tracking Cellphones

01/16/2013

Smartphones and certain apps can help you find where your kid is hanging out, check on the whereabouts of an absent co-worker or spy on your spouse.

But the satellite navigation that allows for such tasks also helps police track a phone user’s exact location, and Texas civil liberties advocates say that kind of surveillance without court approval goes too far.

They want to update state law to require a court-ordered warrant for cellphone GPS tracking by law officers, with some exceptions. Police can currently track someone’s whereabouts by requesting cellphone company records, said Scott Henson, whose Austin-based gritsforbreakfast.org is influential among criminal-justice policy watchers...

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas could find that public reporting aspect of the proposal appealing, though it would need to see the filed bill before expressing support, said attorney Laura Prather, co-chair of the foundation’s legislative committee.

“We’re about transparency and having checks and balances on the system,” Prather said.

Excerpted from The Dallas Morning News, January 16, 2013. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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