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Location Privacy-Both Sides of The Coin |

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Location Privacy-Both Sides of The Coin

By  - June 22, 2015
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Cell phone tracking is gradually becoming an increasingly reliable ally for the law enforcing authorities with regards to solving crime. Cell phone monitoring helps out the police in tracking down criminals via their phones in considerably less time, and helps them solve cases which would virtually be impossible to unravel without the cell phone tracking facility.

However, at the same time the practice of tracking cell phones is also becoming a massive cause of concern for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) that tout “unreasonable” searches as blatant breach of the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act which guards the masses from unwarranted searches. Both sides of the cell phone tracking coin have their merits, and with the US Congress recently tossing up the coin amidst equally deafening decibels of ‘Heads’ and ‘Tails’, a compromise is what the nation is hankering after.


Heads – Blatant Privacy Violation

The ACLU is adamant – and has been screaming bloody murder accordingly – that police forces take undue advantage of the ambiguous law, which allows them to track people without a warrant or even a probable cause. ACLU is basically making a mockery of the Congress not ‘having enough time’ for the warrant enactment and probable cause requirement needed for the location tracking of potential criminals.

With the proponents of the flipside always throwing the ‘greater good’ argument into the mix, there is all the more chance of the police misusing their powers and keeping tabs on innocent people. While solving a crime, the ‘time factor’ is so pivotal that more often than not there is a tendency of throwing all the legal paperwork out  the window on the part of the cell phone companies to aid the quest of the law enforcing authorities. One can’t really question the cell phone companies aiding the police to solve potential cases of crime, which is why there is the need of an unambiguous law which clarifies the needs of warrant and probable causes in such scenarios.


Tails – Timely Crime Prevention

So what is more important, the privacy of people of their lives? That is the question that law enforcement officials pose. They claim, and with reason, that the time sensitivity of most of the crimes mean that a difference of seconds could be the difference between saving an innocent life or a lack of thereof. By going through the often protracted procedures before getting a search warrant, they would lose precious time, which if spent trying to locate the criminals could end up resulting in the prevention of the crime.

Cases like child abduction, kidnapping, terrorist activities, etc can be forestalled if the police can gather information in time. And cell phone tracking is possibly the quickest way to locate a criminal.

The Compromise

If one had to pick one, privacy or life, one would obviously opt for life but the solution to this debate is not quite as simple as that. There is no question that some law enforcing authorities are misusing cell phone tracking, which is what the privacy proponents are clamoring against. This is where the Congress should step in and pass a law which clarifies the need for a warrant and its flexibility in synchrony with the investigative needs of the authorities. That would allow the masses to breathe easy and force the criminals to do the contrary.