Thursday, April 23, 2009

US Attorney used GPS to track cell phones

DailyAdvance
The Associated Press: TRENTON, N.J. — A former federal prosecutor running for governor approved the tracking of citizens through their cell phones without warrants while he was head of the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey, civil rights attorneys said Thursday.

Christopher Christie, a former U.S. Attorney who is the Republican front-runner in the governor's race said all actions were approved by the court.

The American Civil Liberties Union released documents Thursday showing federal officials in New Jersey have gotten judges to approve the surveillance without showing evidence that a crime is taking place.

Tracking without a warrant disregards an internal U.S. Justice Department recommendation that prosecutors obtain probable cause warrants before gathering location data from cell phones.

Using a little-known GPS chip inside a cell phone, federal prosecutors can locate a person to within about 30 feet. They're also able to gather less exact location data by tracing mobile phone signals as they ping off cell towers.


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