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The Source: Your Cell Phone And Tracking You In Texas

Flickr user Emad Ghazipura

Do police need a warrant to access location data and other meta information from your cell phone in Texas?

A hearing in the state senate yesterday had conflicting answers that may surprise you. Electronic privacy advocates like Scott Henson say they don't, but he wants a law changing that. Law enforcement officials like Bill Exley, an assistant district attorney with Harris County, says they do have to get a warrant, but he wants to change it so they don't. 

Your cell phone can provide a wealth of data to Texas law enforcement. Your calls give location data, and if a smartphone, the data stream that populates your email and text can continue to track your movements. 

What is the state of tracking cell phones in Texas?


  • Rep. Bryan Hughes, (R-Mount Pleasant) sits on the criminal jurisprudence committee in the Texas House. Last legislative session he unsuccessfully tried to get a law passed to provide additional electronic privacy protections and require warrants for this data.
  • Scott Henson, member of the Texas Electronic Privacy Coalition and blogs about justice issues at gritsforbreakfast
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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive