WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether the government needs a warrant to obtain information from cellphone companies showing their customers’ locations.
The new case, Carpenter v. United States, No. 16-402, concerns historical data held by cellphone companies that shows users’ movements over time and could, for instance, place them at the scene of a crime.
In 1979, in Smith v. Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled that a robbery suspect had no reasonable expectation that his right to privacy extended to the numbers dialed from his phone. The court reasoned that the suspect had voluntarily turned over that information to a third party: the phone company.