We're Close To Strengthening The Privacy Of Your Cell Phone's Location (But Only In California)

Robinson Meyer | The Atlantic | August 24, 2012

Right now, law enforcement can ask your cell provider where your phone is at pretty much any time.

On Wednesday, an American legislature took the most affirmative step so far to limit cell-phone location tracking by law enforcement. The California Location Privacy Act, passed with bipartisan support by the state's Assembly, could protect the location data created by citizens' cell phones, tablets and computers.

Under current law, police don't need a warrant to find out where your cell phone is -- or, since you probably have your cell phone in your pocket, to find out where you are. A law enforcement official can simply ask a cell provider for location data, and then that company gets to choose whether or not to relinquish it.