Police Cellphone Tracking May Be Going Too Far, But It Is Great For Emergencies

Posted Apr 1, 2012

Law enforcement agencies, big and small, have stepped up their abilities to track cellphones. Several businesses have been created purely on the business model that they will provide surveillance fees to determine a person’s location, phone call tracing, and texts. While this may seem like a violation of privacy, this could be a great tool for emergencies like child abductions, drug cases, and murders.

The American Civil Liberties Union says that the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions. Unfortunately the police may act on cellphone tracking without judicial orders. Some departments require warrants for tracking cellphones in non-emergencies, but others claim broad discretion to grab records on their own.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, police were able to use a cellphone locator in February to find a stabbing victim that was in the basement hiding from his attacker. In Nevada, training manuals warned officers to use cell tracing to locate someone without a warrant only for life-threatening emergencies.

I may be new-fashioned (opposite of old-fashioned), but I am pro-cellphone tracing. Being a police officer is not an easy job. If cellphone tracking can help save lives, keep it up. If someone feels like their privacy has been violated, the court system is at their disposal.