That clears that up

“Court Ruling Boosts Phone Privacy,” The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2018 A1.  The Supremes’ rule that, in order to get your cell phone’s location data from your service provider, the government needs a warrant.

This raises several interesting Information-related points.  First, who owns that information?  Second, who (beyond the “owner”) has possession of that information? Third, who does the warrant get served on – the third party (also) in possession of this data, or the person who owns it and who doesn’t possess this data, and who in fact seldom knows that this data exists? Fourth, what else, beyond cell phone location data, is within this special zone of privacy, both today and in the future?  Fifth, what exactly are the exceptions?  Are they limited to bomb threats and shooters and child abductors?  Or is that somewhat flexible, too?  Does this hinge on “reasonableness,” which is somewhat loosy-goosey except in retrospect?  Does this apply to your Metro card?  Or your PayPal account?

And, then, as a Governance point, how does one justify this expansion of protection to things that are not “their persons, houses, papers, and effects …”?  Expanding a right to privacy that does not exist in the express language of the Constitution.

I haven’t read the decision and the dissents, just some news reports.  But didn’t a statute passed by Congress allow the government to access your data when stored with third parties? Is that statute (the Stored Communications Act) now valid or invalid?

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Filed under Access, Compliance, Duty, Governance, Government, Information, Ownership, Ownership, Privacy

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