Marcia Coyle, senior Washington correspondent at The National Law Journal, gives her perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court argument Wednesday over digital privacy.
The question the court tackled in the case Carpenter v. United States centers on whether the authorities need a warrant to obtain cell site location information—essentially, the data shared between your phone and a tower. That information can put you in a certain place at a certain time—and potentially implicate you in a crime.
Coyle, appearing on the PBS NewsHour program, said in a conversation with John Yang:
“First of all, there’s a question of this information. How sensitive is it really? Justice Kennedy, for example, said it doesn’t seem as though it’s as sensitive as bank records, and the court, 40 years ago, said the government could get bank records without a search warrant, because—and this is the government’s whole argument here—when you give information to a third party, you lose your expectation of privacy.”
She continued: “And the government’s arguing, that’s what happens here. You use your cell phone, it pings the cell tower, the cell company makes a record, that’s the third party. You have no expectation of privacy.”
Read the transcript here, or watch the clip below. The segment on the U.S. Supreme Court case begins at 24:47.