The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a person doesn’t hand over their right to privacy just because they use a mobile phone.

In the opinion released last month, the high court ruled that a man convicted of a string of robberies was wrongly tracked by the government that got his mobile phone data from the carrier.

The court essentially said law enforcement must get a warrant to track someone using their phone data.

The initial rules had been put in place in the 1970s, before cell phones became so common. Justice John Roberts said in the opinion that getting this type of data from a person’s cell phone provider “provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.”

“They now have to have probable cause to believe that person is committing a crime and demonstrate that probable cause to a judge before they go demanding location data,” said Ben Ruddell, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

There was little to nothing stopping a law enforcement agency from demanding personal data before this ruling, Ruddell said.

“All it would have to do is go to the person’s cell phone company and demand that information,” he said.

Prosecutors argue this ruling will makes catching criminals harder.

Technology has become so advanced that an agency is able to operate a device that mimics a cell tower. Once a phone connects to the device, thinking it’s a point of connection, the controller can extract data from, control, or even contact other devices using the linked phone. All this happens without the user’s knowledge. Illinois requires a warrant before such devices can be used.

From: Illinois News Network