Commonwealth v. Augustine

The Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (pdf) on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the case, Commonwealth v. Augustine, in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The case concerns whether law enforcement officers can obtain someone’s cell phone location data without first obtaining a warrant. The brief argues that the protections of the US and Massachusetts Constitutions prohibit law enforcement from warrantlessly poring over records of people’s movements. Law enforcement officers must demonstrate probable cause to a neutral member of the judicial branch and act according to a valid warrant before such intense intrusion into people’s privacy is appropriate. Without demonstrating reason to believe that a crime has occurred and that the privacy intrusion is likely to provide specified information relating to the crime, the government has not met its burden.

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