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When can cell phone data be used in a criminal case?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Cell phone data has become a valuable source of evidence in modern criminal investigations. The presence of smartphones and widespread usage have made it increasingly common for law enforcement agencies to use this technology to gather crucial information that can help solve crimes.

However, using cell phone data in criminal cases must adhere to strict legal guidelines to protect individuals’ privacy rights. Below are the key situations where cell phone data can be utilized in a criminal case.

Location data and geolocation services

Cell phones constantly communicate with nearby cell towers to maintain connectivity. This generates location data that can be used to establish a suspect’s whereabouts at specific times. Law enforcement can obtain this data with a warrant to track suspects’ movements or corroborate alibis.

Call records and text messages

Call logs and text messages can provide essential communication patterns and contacts relevant to a criminal investigation. Accessing this data requires proper legal authorization, such as a subpoena or search warrant.

Internet activity and social media

Cell phones also access the internet and various social media platforms. In criminal cases involving cybercrime, cyberbullying or online harassment, internet activity data can offer insights into a suspect’s online behavior and interactions.

GPS tracking applications

Some individuals voluntarily use GPS tracking apps, such as fitness tracking or family safety. In certain cases, this data can be used to corroborate alibis or identify a suspect’s movements.

While cell phone data can provide invaluable insights into criminal investigations, its usage must be subject to legal procedures and safeguards to protect the privacy rights of individuals. To ensure it is admissible in court, law enforcement agencies must obtain proper authorization, such as warrants and subpoenas, before accessing cell phone data. If you think your rights were violated, it’s time to learn more about your legal rights.