It appears as though draft privacy legislation is in the works that will clarify what legal standards law enforcement officials must meet, prior to utilizing geolocation data generated by an individual’s mobile phone, to track an individual’s physical movements. At present, there are no clear guidelines on this issue which complicates matters for communications service providers that are requested to turn over related location information to the government. It is anticipated that a bill will be introduced within the next month that will mandate that the government first obtain a warrant before being permitted access to geolocation information on individuals within the United States.
Currently, federal courts are split on issues regarding government requests for geolocation data. The result has been contradictory legal interpretation and jurisdictional conflicts. Clarification on these issues will most certain assist law enforcement officials and communications service providers that wish to comply in good faith with legitimate government requests. Service providers will also benefit from legal clarification and be better able to protect their customers’ privacy.