Few days back, the US department of justice condemned a man for jail time because he created an app that could spy on others. Though the app was taken down immediately, however, what followed was a series of events and discussions where the people demanded strict rules and laws to be implemented against phone tracking. Thankfully, the government did act swiftly on this matter and created new guidelines for technologies that could track mobile phones.
What’s important is that the new rules don’t just imply to the common folks. Even federal agencies will have to abide by these rules and obtain a search warrant before they can make use of the technology that helps in tracking smartphones. Till now, FBI could easily use cell-site simulators for tracking the location of their suspects without getting a warrant, but now they’ll have to.
According to the new guidelines, once the federal agencies receive the location of the target device, they will have to delete all its data as soon as possible. The policy makers have also made it pretty clear that cell-site simulators should not be sued for collecting personal content of communication which includes emails, contacts, messages etc.
While American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has recognised these new rules as a positive step, however, they have also pointed to some serious exceptions of these new rules. For instance, this policy is not applicable on state and local police departments or other federal agencies. ACLU was also concerned since these new rules did not cover exigent circumstances where search warrants are hardly required for cell tracking.
Undoubtedly, these new measures instil positivity, however, they still need some refinement so that things become a lot less complicated for the common people as well as the local authorities.