The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Carpenter v. United States, ruling that the collection of historical cell-site location information (CSLI) during criminal investigation is a search under the Fourth Amendment, was seen as a vindication for those arguing for higher privacy standards. CSLI data allows law enforcement authorities to roughly estimate the location of a cell-phone holder over potentially long periods of time.
But the court was clear that this case should not influence Fourth Amendment considerations in other types of situations. “Our decision today is a narrow one,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. in the majority opinion.
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