Geo Tracking and Its Detrimental Effects on Criminal Cases
Gone are the good old days where a criminal defense attorney could claim “I was not there”. Why? Because of the little communication devices we all carry in our hands, in our pockets, in our purses, 24 hours, 7 days a week. These cell phone devices have become a so called appendage to our bodies due to our insatiable need to always be connected. Our every single movement is “geo-tracked” by our cell phone providers. I recently had the not so pleasurable experience of defending someone whose moves placed him at the crime scene within minutes before the shooting, during the shooting and right after the shooting. The geo-tracking was overwhelmingly persuasive and negative. So what exactly is geo tracking and is it lawful for the government to have access to our every single move?
Geotracking refers to the use of location technologies such as GPS or IP addresses to identify and track the whereabouts of connected electronic devices. Because these devices are often carried on an individual’s person, geolocation is often used to track the movements and location of people and surveillance. If living in Florida, our state government allows law enforcement and investigators to have access to this tracking. Specifically, Florida Statute Section 934.23, titled “Required disclosure of customer communications or records” allows investigators or law enforcement officer access to the contents of a wire or electronic communication that have been in electronic storage in an electronic communications system for 180 days or less, only pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge. This can be done without notice to the subscriber.
So there you have it. Geotracking tracks our every single move and yes, it is lawful for the government to obtain the history of our every single move. Scary……