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McAuliffe Signs Bill Limiting Cell Phone Tracking By Police

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill authored by Republican Del. Bob Marshall and backed by the Virginia ACLU that limits how far police can go when tracking people.

A smart phone is often one's link to business and social life. It’s a remote-control, mobile gaming device, and a GPS when lost. The latter is also how law enforcement can know a person’s every move. Prior to this law, police could hone in on anyone's location without their knowledge or a warrant.

Marshall says it’s alarming that many people who don’t think they’re doing anything wrong are either oblivious or just don't care that law enforcement has that capability and has been using it.

"There are so many federal laws and regulations that end of making innocent things into felonies that Mother Theresa could be convicted of something. The bill that I authored says police have to have a warrant to go do live-tracking [of a] cell phone. We have an exception for an emergency like if a child has a cell phone and the child is lost," he explains.

The state ACLU applauds the new law, but says more needs to be done. Law enforcement can still see where people were in the past, including political rallies, doctor's offices, or anywhere someone wants to remain private. The ACLU is urging both the governor and lawmakers to protect historic location information next.


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