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February 9, 2010
11:39 AM


Rachel Myers, ACLU National, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;
Sara Mullen, ACLU of PA, (215) 592-1513 x122
Rebecca Jescheke, EFF, (415) 436-9333 x125;
Brock N. Meeks, CDT, (202) 637-9800 x114; 

ACLU, EFF And CDT In Court Thursday For Arguments In Cell Phone Tracking Case

Tracking Individuals Without Probable Cause Is Unconstitutional, Say Groups

PHILADELPHIA - February 9 - The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Pennsylvania, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) will be in federal court on Thursday to argue for more privacy protections in the use of cell phones as tracking devices by law enforcement agents.

On November 21, 2007, the United States applied for court permission to obtain information about the location of an individual's cell phone, without showing probable cause that tracking the individual would turn up evidence of a crime. A magistrate judge denied the government's request and a district court upheld that decision in September 2008. The government is appealing the ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

The ACLU, ACLU of Pennsylvania, EFF and CDT filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the district court decision, arguing that district courts must require the government to show probable cause before permitting the government to obtain information about the location of a cell phone.

The brief is available online at:

Oral arguments in the case called "In the matter of the application of the United States of America for an order directing a provider of electronic communication service to disclose records to the government." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will decide whether government agencies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware must show probable cause before tracking people's cell phone locations.

Kevin Bankston of EFF and Susan Freiwald of the University of San Francisco School of Law will argue before Judges Dolores K. Sloviter and Jane R. Roth of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and A. Wallace Tashima of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting by designation.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
9:30 a.m. EST 

United States Courthouse
Albert Branson Maris Courtroom, 19th Floor
6th and Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA




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