In 2014, the Florida Supreme Court protected privacy by ruling that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to track cell phone location data without a warrant. Police departments in Florida and around the country have been using metadata from cell phones to track a person’s location in real time without obtaining warrant. The ruling also covered the use of StingRays, a technology often used by law enforcement to track people. This device tricks cellphones into sending it their location information, as it is a cell-site simulator.
The ACLU defended the 2014 Florida decision by saying that it not only gives location information, but the most private information in our lives—like doctor’s visits.
Even though this has been the ruling in Florida since 2014, other states have continued to use StingRays. However, on September 21, 2017, an appellate court in D.C. ruled with Florida, finding that warrants must be issued prior to StingRays being used. This ruling is now the fourth such ruling in the country.
There are still 72 simulators in 24 states according to the ACLU; and there could be many more. It looks like this issue could go before the highest court in the land for a final decision.