Montana Passes Broad Location-Tracking Protections

Law enforcement in Montana must now get a warrant before using information like cell phone location data to track individuals.

by / June 20, 2013

According to an article by the ACLU, Montana is the first state in the country to pass legislation requiring law enforcement to get a warrant before they track an individual's whereabouts or activities via their use of personal technology.

"Perhaps Montanans, known for their love of freedom and privacy, intuitively understand how sensitive location information can be and how much where you go can reveal about who you are," ACLU advocacy and policy strategist Allie Bohm writes.

A bill by state Rep. Daniel Zolnikov mandates that a probable cause warrant must be granted before any tracking activity is performed using cell phone location information, social networking activity or GPS tracking. The ACLU notes that some states do have legislation dealing only with GPS tracking.

While some public safety agencies throughout the country already obtain warrants prior to cell phone tracking, Montana is the first state to pass statewide legislation to that effect. In other states, including Maine and Texas, similar measures have made progress in the legislature, but have not yet passed.

As the ACLU article notes, Texas made history earlier this month by ensuring the privacy of email communications, regardless of how old it is.

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