October 2, 2012
Short Takes On The News: Law School Applications, Cell Phone Location Data, And The PA Voter ID Law
Law school applications are consistently down at law schools across the country, but not everywhere. A press release issued by the University of Kansas School of Law indicates that it was one of eleven schools accredited by the ABA that saw an increase in applicants. Typically, schools with lower applications will generate stories that read more like this or this.
The Justice Department presents its argument to the Fifth Circuit today that it need not get a warrant in obtaining customer cell phone data from carriers. The government is claiming that customers have no privacy interest in location data generated over time. The appeal stems from the denial of a 2703(d) order by a Texas magistrate judge in a criminal investigation. This comes on the heels of the Supreme Court case of United States v. Jones where the Court required the government to get a warrant to place a GPS tracker on a suspect’s car for a 28 day period. One of the issues in the Jones case was the government having to go onto private property to place the bug. The government distinguishes the present case by stating the information sought is collected as a normal business record. CNET has the story with links to the legal documents in the case.
I won’t offer an opinion on whether the government should or should not have to get a warrant in these kinds of cases. I find it ironic, however, that ad networks can blast a coupon through the ether based on location tracking just because someone happens to be walking past a Starbucks. Maybe the government should offer sprinkles with their request.
Finally, a trial judge in Pennsylvania has invalidated parts of the voter ID law after receiving instructions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The law was challenged on grounds that access to ID cards was not in keeping with the enacted law, among others. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court returned the case to the trial court which held hearings on the issue. CBS News has the full story with links to the trial order invalidating the law. [MG]