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.
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.
In this criminal case, the government installed a pole camera overlooking a defendant's front yard and secretly recorded for more than a month.
EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology ("CDT") 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In May 2011, EFF partnered with the ACLU and the ACLU of Vermont to urge the Vermont Supreme Court to authorize courts to impose limitations on the police's ability to search computers and other forms of electronic evidence.
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.