HOUSTON — A federal judge in Houston has ruled that authorities need a search warrant to obtain cellphone records that can be used to track a person's movements.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes's order upheld a magistrate judge's 2010 ruling denying a request by federal authorities in three separate criminal investigations to compel cellphone companies to provide — without a search warrant — 60 days of records for several phones.
Hughes said in his ruling that cellphone data is constitutionally protected from intrusion and can only be acquired with a search warrant. The ruling was issued Nov. 11 and made public this week.
Other judges around the country have issued similar rulings, which have stirred debate about whether search warrants are required to obtain such cellphone data.
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