Google, Facebook ask Supreme Court to protect cellphone data under Fourth Amendment

Google, Facebook ask Supreme Court to protect cellphone data under Fourth Amendment
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Apple, Facebook, Google and other major technology companies asked the Supreme Court late on Monday night to rule that their users’ data should be protected from warantless search and seizure by the government.

The companies filed a brief in the case Carpenter v. United States, which the court has taken up to decide whether certain cellphone data is protected under the Fourth Amendment.

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“Whether email, cloud computing, location-based tracking, or any other digital functionality is at issue, users consider many types of collected electronic data to be private—particularly given the personal details that information can reveal—regardless of whether transmission to a third party has occurred behind the scenes in the creation or processing of that data,” the group argues.

The namesake of the case is Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted of a string of armed robberies in 2010 and 2011. At trial, prosecutors presented cellphone location data from Carpenter and his accomplices that was obtained from service providers without a warrant.

The companies, which stressed that they took no position on Carpenter’s guilt, argued that their customers “understand that data is collected by service providers as part of providing digital technologies, customers still expect privacy with respect to other parties, including the government.”

Twitter, Verizon, Microsoft and Snap are also among the companies that filed.