US court: Police don’t need warrant for cell tower records

MGN

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court in Virginia says police don’t have to get a search warrant to obtain records about cellphone locations in criminal investigations.

The 12-3 decision Tuesday reverses a ruling last year by a three-judge panel in a case closely watched by privacy rights advocates. The Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals now agrees with three other federal appeals courts that said police don’t need a warrant for information obtained from cell towers.

The case involved two men convicted of a series of armed robberies in the Baltimore area. Police used cellphone tower records tracking the suspects’ movements to tie them to the crimes.

The appeals court said a person has no expectation of privacy in information voluntarily turned over to a third party.

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