A federal judge in New York has rejected the Department of Justice’s request to track people’s cell phone information without first providing probable cause for such investigations.
Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the Eastern District of New York issued an order on Monday denying the Justice Department’s application for disclosure of information regarding wireless subscribers.
The Department of Justice had asked that carriers be required to provide information on individual subscribers, including details on caller location, outbound call origination and call termination, to help in its surveillance of potential suspects.
As part of the request, the Justice Department also asked for clearance to seek such customer data in real time, as callers are using their phones.
If approved, the application would have allowed law enforcement officials to essentially use cell phones as tracking devices to observe where people are traveling and with whom they are speaking without first proving in court why it should be allowed to do so.