A group of tech companies including names like Facebook, Apple and the biggest wireless operator in the United States, Verizon Communications have urged the US Supreme Court to make it harder for government officials to access an individual's cellphone location data.
A legal brief was filed in the court yesterday signed by Apple, Facebook, Google, Airbnb and Dropbox who jointly said that “they believe the Court should refine the application of certain Fourth Amendment doctrines to ensure that the law realistically engages with Internet-based technologies and with people’s expectations of privacy in their digital data.”
Arguing that some interpretations of the law “are not sustainable” in the modern world, the tech companies write that the courts should take “a more flexible approach that realistically reflects the privacy people expect in today’s digital environment.”
The legal brief is related to the Carpenter v. United States case that will be up for hearing in the Supreme court this fall from Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted for a string of robberies after police obtained his cell phone location from a third-party telecom. The case will be closely watched, as the court’s decision may have profound implications for privacy in the digital age.
In their brief, the companies said the Supreme Court should clarify that when it comes to digital data that can reveal personal information, people should not lose protections against government intrusion “simply by choosing to use those technologies.”