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The Source: Your Cell Phone And Tracking You In Texas

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Flickr user Emad Ghazipura
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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?

Guests:

  • 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
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive. TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.