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The Courts

NY Court Says Police Can't Track Suspect With GPS 414

SoundGuyNoise sends in a story that brings into relief just how unsettled is the question of whether police can use GPS to track suspects without a warrant. Just a couple of days ago a Wisconsin appeals court ruled that such tracking is OK; and today an appeals court in New York reached the opposite conclusion. "It was wrong for a police investigator to slap a GPS tracking device under a defendant's van to track his movements, the state's top court ruled today. A sharply divided NY Court of Appeals, in a 4-3 decision, reversed the burglary conviction of defendant Scott Weaver, 41, of Watervliet. Four years ago, State Police tracked Weaver over 65 days in connection with the burglary investigation."
Encryption

New State Laws Could Make Encryption Widespread 155

New laws that took effect in Nevada on Oct. 1 and will kick in on Jan. 1 in Massachusetts may effectively mandate encryption for companies' hard drives, portable devices, and data transmissions. The laws will be binding on any organization that maintains personal information about residents of the two states. (Washington and Michigan are considering similar legislation.) Nevada's law deals mostly with transmitted information and Massachusetts's emphasizes stored information. Between them the two laws should put more of a dent into lax security practices than widespread laws requiring customer notification of data breaches have done. (Such laws are on the books in 40 states and by one estimate have reduced identity theft by 2%.) Here are a couple of legal takes on the impact of the new laws.
The Courts

DOJ Needs Warrant To Track Your Cell's GPS History 122

MacRonin recommends a press release over at the EFF on their recent court victory affirming that cell phone location data is protected by the Fourth Amendment. Here is the decision (PDF). "In an unprecedented victory for cell phone privacy, a federal court has affirmed that cell phone location information stored by a mobile phone provider is protected by the Fourth Amendment and that the government must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before seizing such records. EFF has successfully argued before other courts that the government needs a warrant before it can track a cell phones location in real-time. However, this is the first known case where a court has found that the government must also obtain a warrant when obtaining stored records about a cell phones location from the mobile phone provider."

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