In re Telephone Info (Koh)

A federal magistrate judge in San Jose, California denied a government request for historical cell site records, ordering the government to seek a search warrant for the information. The government appealed this order to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh who requested the Federal Public Defender argue why the Fourth Amendment would require law enforcement use a search warrant to obtain this information.

United States v. Graham

Defendant Aaron Graham was suspected in a series of armed robberies around Baltimore. Without a warrant, police obtained 221 days of historical cell site location information about Graham from Sprint, which detailed 29,000 location points, an average of 100 data points a day. The trial court denied Graham's motion to suppress and he was convicted after a jury trial.

California's Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) - SB 178

The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), S.B. 178, requires state law enforcement to get a warrant before they can access electronic information about who we are, where we go, who we know, and what we do. Introduced by California State Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine), CalECPA was sponsored by EFF, ACLU of Northern California, and the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and supported by a wide variety of rights groups and technology companies.

United States v. Vargas

In this criminal case, the government installed a pole camera overlooking a defendant's front yard and secretly recorded for more than a month. A federal judge invited EFF to participate as an amicus in the case and in two amicus briefs, EFF argued that prolonged video surveillance of a person's home violates the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and that the government needed to disclose the technical details of the surveillance equipment used.

Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie

EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology ("CDT") have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to crack down on warrantless searches of cell phones, arguing in two cases before the court that changing technology demands new guidelines for when the data on someone’s phone can be accessed and reviewed by investigators. 

State v. Granville

Along with EFF-Austin, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the ACLU of Texas, EFF urged the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to rule that a person has an expectation of privacy in the contents of their cell phone even when the phone is out of their control or custody.

Commonwealth v. Augustine

EFF filed an amicus brief with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, asking it to rule police must get a search warrant in order to access historical cell site information. We argued that as cell phones and especially smartphones become prevalent, and the number of cell towers and cell sites increases, the location information revealed by cell sites becomes more precise. Since location information provides details on a person's movements, associations and affiliations, we argue that it must be protected by a search warrant requirement.

Washington state text message privacy cases

EFF urged the Washington State Supreme Court  to recognize that text messages are “the 21st Century phone call” and require that law enforcement obtain a warrant before reading texts on someone’s phone.

United States v. Andrew Auernheimer

Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer was convicted of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") in New Jersey federal court and sentenced to 41 months in federal prison in March of 2013 for revealing to media outlets that AT&T had configured its servers to allow the harvesting of iPad owners’ unsecured email addresses. EFF was part of Auernheimer’s legal team on appeal before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that fundamental problems with computer crime law result in unfair prison sentences like the one in this case.

Commonwealth v. Rousseau

EFF urged the high court of Massachusetts to protect the rights of passengers in cars that law enforcement are tracking with GPS surveillance technology, arguing that both the driver and the passenger of a car have legal standing to challenge the collection of sensitive location data gathered by the GPS devices.


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