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Mobile Users Gain Privacy Protection In Supreme Court Ruling

By July 6, 2018June 3rd, 2022Cybersecurity

There’s some good news from a recent Supreme Court ruling where privacy is concerned, but take it with a grain of salt.

In a recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant before they can get access to data collected and stored on mobile devices.  Of special significance, the court rejected the “third party rule,” which dates back to the 1970’s and asserts that any data collected by third-parties is automatically devoid of Constitutional protection.

The ruling is undeniably good news, and privacy advocates who have been watching the issue closely hail the decision as a victory for individual privacy. However, it should be noted that in the overwhelming majority of cases, “probable cause” is sufficient for most judges to grant a search warrant to law enforcement officials.

The reality is that probable cause is one of those “squishy” words that can mean wildly different things to different people.  While it serves as a speed bump to accessing data on mobile devices, it’s a relatively modest one that’s unlikely to prevent many instances of law enforcement getting the information they need during the course of their investigations.

All that to say, it’s a good first step, but this ruling alone isn’t enough.  So far, no national government anywhere in the world has been able to craft a set of sensible policies that adequately protect the privacy of individuals on the web.  Corporations collect oceans of data on the consuming public, and increasingly, that data is packaged, resold and used for a variety of purposes.

While most of those purposes are fairly harmless and aimed more at marketing than anything else, other purposes border on or are abuses of the public’s trust.  There are no easy fixes here, but kudos to the Supreme Court for taking an important first step.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.