Oh boy: MD court rules that warrantless use of federal cell-phone collectors violates 4th Amendment

Oh boy: MD court rules that warrantless use of federal cell-phone collectors violates 4th Amendment
The Stingray cell-tracker box, bought on the sly recently by a number of government agencies. (Image via OC Register)

[Ed. – The ruling imperils “hundreds, if not thousands” of state convictions, probably including some obtained against looters and inciters during the Baltimore riots.  We’ve written about this and related aspects of the topic before (e.g., here and here).  It is, as they say, decidedly non-trivial.]

A major Maryland court ruling that found police cannot use cellphones as a “real-time tracking device” without a warrant could call into question hundreds, if not thousands, of convictions in Baltimore – and set a precedent for similar privacy cases across the US.

The ruling by Maryland’s second-highest court was the first by an appeals court to hold that using cell site simulator technology known as Stingray without a warrant violates an individual’s fourth amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.

The state has 16 days to appeal against the ruling to the state’s highest court, and legal observers expect it could reach the US supreme court. The attorney general’s office would not say whether it would ask the high court to reverse the ruling, saying it was still evaluating the case.

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