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Location Privacy Warrant Lines Still Murky After Carpenter

September 06, 2019

Fenwick privacy and cybersecurity counsel Hanley Chew spoke to Law360 about how technology companies are trying to protect their customers’ privacy by pushing for broader applications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Carpenter v. United States decision, which held that cell tower records can only be obtained with a search warrant.

District courts have been sticking with a strict interpretation of Carpenter, not requiring law enforcement to get warrants to access online search histories and other sensitive, digital information. But appellate courts could extend privacy protections beyond cell-tower information, which would be a welcome development for tech companies.

Chew, a former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of California, told Law360, "Tech companies are more aware of the significance and importance of privacy to their customers and subscribers, so they're taking more measures and steps to ensure the privacy of their customers and pushing back on demands by the government for the data in their possession by trying, like the defense bar, to have more things afforded protections of a search warrant rather than a subpoena." 

The full interview can be found on Law360 (subscription required).