Supreme Court Protects Cell Phone Users’ Constitutional Privacy Rights

June 22, 2018

In a major victory for privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the government needs a warrant to obtain location information from cell phones showing where a user has been. The Court found that cell phone users have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment – echoing similar points made in a Brennan Center friend of the court brief filed in the case, Carpenter v. United States.

“Almost every American uses a cell phone, and the Court correctly affirmed that those who do so do not give up their constitutional privacy rights,” said Rachel Levinson Waldman, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “The Supreme Court has now said that information collected by our cell phones and stored by companies is protected under the Fourth Amendment against warrantless search. That makes Carpenter a key ruling in interpreting our laws to reflect the realities of how personal information is generated and collected in the 21st century.”

Levinson-Waldman broke down the stakes in Carpenter earlier this month. Read her summary here.
Read the Brennan Center’s amicus brief.

Read more about the Brennan Center’s work on Liberty & National Security.

For more information or to speak with an expect, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292-8381 or