Court Holds Geofence Warrant Unconstitutional

In Analysis by Michael Rae

In the first order of its kind, a federal district court has held that a warrant used to identify all devices in the area of a bank robbery, including the defendant’s, “plainly violates the rights enshrined in [the Fourth] Amendment.” The court questioned whether similar warrants could ever be constitutional.
The case is United States v. Chatrie, and addresses a controversial tool called a geofence warrant. The police issued the warrant to Google seeking information on every device within the area of the robbery during a one-hour period. The geographic area was about 17.5 acres (about 3 and a half times the footprint of a

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