U.S. must give info on cellphone tracking

Sept. 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department must provide information on cases in which warrantless cellphone tracking was used to get convictions, a federal appeals court says.

Three judges on the federal appellate court in Washington ruled Tuesday for the American Civil Liberties Union in cases in which defendants were convicted or pleaded guilty and evidence included location information from cellphones, The Hill reported. The panel did not order federal prosecutors to supply docket numbers and names in cases where defendants' phones were tracked but guilty verdicts did not result.

"Today's decision is a significant victory in the fight against warrantless tracking of Americans by their government," Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the ACLU, said in a blog. "There is no good reason for DOJ to keep this case information secret, except to keep the American people in the dark about what its own government is doing and stifle debate about the new tracking powers the government is claiming."

Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, said federal lawyers had not yet decided whether to appeal.

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