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Warrantless Purchase of Location Data Blocked in New Senate Bill (1)

April 21, 2021, 5:38 PM; Updated: April 21, 2021, 7:10 PM

U.S. law enforcement and other government agencies would need a court order to purchase mobile phone location data or similar information under a legislative proposal in the Senate.

The bill from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and 18 other senators, introduced Wednesday, seeks to close what they call a legal loophole that allows for acquiring such information from data brokers without a warrant.

Government agencies usually need a court-ordered warrant to obtain location data directly from phone companies. But bulk information purchased from third-party data brokers falls into a gray area of privacy and security law.

The legislation,...

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