The Chicago Sun-Times wrote an editorial about Illinois' need for a law to protect citizen's privacy and place limits on data collection from cellphone use. The law on whether a warrant is required from officials who wish to obtain cellphone data varies from state to state. The most recent ruling in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cellphone tracking data are nothing more than business records that can be obtained with a court order -- which is much easier for officials to obtain than a warrant.
Last spring, Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) introduced legislation that would require authorities in Illinois to get search warrants before collecting cellphone tracking data, but he pulled the bill back to give time for debate over concerns raised by law enforcement. For example, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office argued the bill was so restrictive it would ban authorities from Internet searches the general public can do. Also, any bill requiring search warrants should have some exceptions, such as emergencies or searches for missing persons. Taking time to craft a workable bill is wise, but this is an issue that must be addressed in the next legislative session.