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Cell Phone Location Information: Not Voluntarily Conveyed Urging the Legislature to Reestablish Privacy Rights After United States v. Graham

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Following the Fourth Circuit’s panel decision in United States v. Graham, a crisp, Fourth-Amendment-breeze emanated from the Constitution as the third-party doctrine was found inapplicable to cell site location information (CSLI). The low bar of “reasonable suspicion” needed for law enforcement to obtain the cell phone data constantly stored by the nation’s cell service providers was finally challenged. That is, until Graham was reheard en banc. Constrained by precedent, the en banc rehearing reversed course and maintained the argument that CSLI is “voluntarily conveyed,” excepting it from the Fourth Amendment protections of probable cause. In light of the latest Graham decision, this Comment argues the outdated definitions for voluntary conveyance and, thus, the third-party doctrine are inapplicable to modern technology like CSLI, and urges the legislature to require a probable cause warrant before the government can obtain the peoples’ cell phone location information.



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