The Fourth Amendment, CSLI Tracking, and the Mosaic Theory
The Fourth Amendment, CSLI Tracking , and the Mosaic Theory
Christian Bennardo 0 1
0 Thi s Note is brought to you for free and open access by FLASH: The F ordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History. It has been accepted for inclusion in Fordham Law Review by an authorized editor of FLASH: The F ordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History. For more information , please contact
1 Fordham University School of Law
Recommended Citation Christian Bennardo, The Fourth Amendment, CSLI Tracking , and the Mosaic Theory, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 2385 (2017). Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol85/iss5/19
Law enforcement officials and privacy advocates have long clashed over
the police’s ability to access and use information related to cell phones
during criminal investigations. From wiretapping to physical searches of
phones, the competing investigatory and privacy interests continue to battle
for priority on a number of different fronts. This Note addresses the
disagreement between academic scholarship and federal circuit courts over
the proper resolution to one particular issue: cell site location information
CSLI refers to the records kept by a cellular service provider indicating
the approximate location of a customer’s phone over time. Police often
procure CSLI from providers to track a suspect’s movements in relation to
criminal activity. However, when they do so without a warrant, courts are
forced to determine whether the police violated the suspect’s Fourth
Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
To date, all of the circuit courts to address this issue have held that
warrantless CSLI monitoring is permitted under the Fourth Amendment.
Many scholars, however, argue to the contrary, criticizing these decisions
and creating a rift between the academic and judicial treatment of CSLI.
This Note explores the CSLI debate by analyzing the circuit courts’
decisions, scholars’ disagreement with those decisions, and the alternative
approaches offered to protect and evaluate CSLI records. This Note
concludes that warrantless CSLI monitoring should be analyzed under the
“mosaic theory” of the Fourth Amendment. In support, it argues that this
theory best addresses the concerns with CSLI tracking and proposes a
standard that courts may use to apply it.
* J.D. Candidate, 2018, Fordham University School of Law; B.A., 2015, Villanova
University. Thank you to Professor Martin S. Flaherty for his invaluable advice and
encouragement throughout this process. I would also like to thank my family for their
unconditional love and support.
By the time you sat down to read this Note today, you likely used your cell
phone to make a number of calls, to send many more text messages and
emails, and to refresh your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. If
you paid your latest bill, your cellular service provider was happy to make
all of these actions possible. However, while you were busy staying
connected with family and friends, your service provider was also hard at
work: recording your location—one phone call, text message, and social
media post at a time.
In fact, service providers approximate and record the location of the cell
phones that they service even when their owners are not actively using them.1
Any time a cell phone is turned on, it automatically identifies and registers
with the nearest cell tower—also called a cell site—every seven seconds in
1. See Susan Freiwald, Cell Phone Location Data and the Fourth Amendment: A
Question of Law, Not Fact, 70 MD. L. REV. 681, 736 (2011).
order to communicate.2 At each registration, the provider obtains and records
a “plethora of information” about the phone, including its approximate
location relative to the cell site with which it registered.3 This data is known
as cell site location information (CSLI).
Because cell phones constantly connect with the nearest tower, providers
possess an almost complete record of a phone’s location over a given time
period.4 As a result, law enforcement officials often obtain and use CSLI
during criminal investigations to locate a suspect near the scene of a recent
crime or to track his movements in relation to a series of crimes.5
Generally speaking, law enforcement’s ability to access and use
cellphone-related information has given rise to a number of questions about the
amount of privacy individuals have with their phones: How much of what
users say is private? What about how they said it or to whom they said it? Is
it reasonable to expect privacy in today’s advanced digital era? And lastly,
do users have any protection from those who wish to access this information?
Questions like these are not novel inquiries. However, the individuals and
institutions considering these issues do not always agree on how to resolve
them. CSLI falls into this category.
In particular, many courts have had to address whether the government
may obtain and use CSLI from an individual’s service provider without a
search warrant. To date, all of the federal circuit courts to confront this issue
have held that warrantless CSLI monitoring is not a Fourth Amendment
violation.6 As these decisions have been handed down, however, both
scholars and students have considered the issue and analyzed specific cases
appearing before the courts.7 Significantly, these commentators are largely
critical of the circuit courts’ holdings and rationales8 and advocate for
protection of CSLI under the Fourth Amendment.9 These criticisms create a
divisive split between judicial and academic treatment of warrantless CSLI
tracking, a split that circuits that have yet to address the issue will have to
consider when CSLI-related cases appear on their dockets.
This Note addresses whether law enforcement officials should be required
to obtain a warrant before procuring CSLI records to monitor an individual’s
movements. Part I discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment
jurisprudence and then explains the mechanics of CSLI and how law
enforcement currently obtains this information under the Stored
Communications Act (SCA).10 Then, Part II articulates the disagreement
between the federal appellate judiciary and academia over the warrantless
procurement of CSLI, and it outlines the alternative approaches that
commentators have proposed to protect and analyze CSLI.
Part III seeks to reconcile the competing arguments in the debate over the
warrantless use of CSLI records. It argues that courts should apply the
“mosaic theory” of the Fourth Amendment to determine the constitutionality
of CSLI monitoring. In doing so, this part joins other scholars who advocate
for the theory, explains why it is best suited to address the underlying
concerns with CSLI disclosure, and adds to the discussion by proposing a
standard under which courts may apply the mosaic theory to CSLI. Lastly,
this part recognizes that the standard it offers does not solve all of the
problems that arise when implementing this theory. Nonetheless, the
standard can serve as an initial step toward creating a more complete, viable
framework that permits the application of the mosaic theory to CSLI tracking.
I. THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, CSLI, AND THE SCA This part explains the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, the mechanics and details of CSLI, and how law enforcement obtains this information under the SCA.
A. Katz and Fourth Amendment Searches
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the “right of the
people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches.”11 Traditionally, the Fourth Amendment protected
only against governmental searches that “physically intruded” upon an
individual’s body or property.12 However, in Katz v. United States,13 the
Supreme Court expanded the Fourth Amendment’s protections and held that
a search can occur even absent physical trespass.14
10. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701–2712 (2012).
11. U.S. CONST. amend. IV.
12. WAYNE R. LAFAVE, SEARCH & SEIZURE: A TREATISE ON THE FOURTH AMENDMENT
§ 2.1(a), at 575–76 (5th ed. 2012); see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 466 (1928)
(holding that the Fourth Amendment is not violated “unless there has been . . . an actual
13. 389 U.S. 347 (1967).
14. Id. at 353 (holding that the government conducted an unreasonable search by using an
electronic listening device attached to a public telephone booth to record the defendant’s
In his concurring opinion in Katz, Justice John Marshall Harlan II
articulated what has become the current two-prong standard for determining
when a search occurs within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.15 A
search occurs when the government’s action violates an expectation of
privacy that is both (
) actually (subjectively) held by an individual and (
recognized by society as (objectively) reasonable.16
However, the Fourth Amendment protects only against “unreasonable”
searches.17 Warrantless searches are presumptively unreasonable.18
Therefore, when the government violates an individual’s reasonable
expectation of privacy without a warrant, an unconstitutional search has
Although Katz broadened the scope of the Fourth Amendment beyond
physical intrusions, just how far its protections extend remains unclear.20
The Katz standard does not “dictate what a reasonable expectation of privacy
is.”21 Instead, it provides a framework for courts and judges to make this
determination on a case-by-case basis.22
B. The Third-Party Doctrine
Although the Katz standard does not predict a specific result,23 the
Supreme Court clarified its analysis in the 1970s, crafting what has become
known as the third-party doctrine. First, in United States v. Miller,24 the
government compelled two banks to disclose all records concerning any
accounts in the defendant’s name.25 The defendant contended that the
government’s procurement of the records was a violation of his Fourth
Amendment rights.26 The Court, however, disagreed and concluded that the
defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the financial
The Court first found that the records were not the defendant’s “private
papers.”28 Rather, the documents obtained were the “business records of the
banks,”29 as the information they contained was recorded and kept by the
banks in the “ordinary course of business.”30 As a result, the Court found
that the defendant did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the
The Court then explained that the Fourth Amendment does not prevent the
government from obtaining “information revealed to a third party . . . even if
the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a
limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be
betrayed.”32 Because the defendant voluntarily conveyed the information in
the records to the banks, the government did not violate his Fourth
Amendment rights by thereafter obtaining that information.33
Three years later, in Smith v. Maryland,34 the Supreme Court reached a
similar conclusion. In that case, the police requested that the defendant’s
phone company install a pen register device to record all of the numbers the
defendant dialed from his home phone.35 The government then obtained the
list of numbers from the phone company and introduced it as evidence against
the defendant in his trial for robbery.36 As in Miller, the defendant contended
that the government’s actions violated his Fourth Amendment rights.37
Once again, however, the Court disagreed and mirrored its reasoning in
Miller to find that the defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy
in the list of numbers. The Court held that “a person has no legitimate
expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third
parties.”38 It explained that regardless of whether a pen register device is
installed, telephone users know they reveal the numbers dialed from their
phones to the phone company.39 Thus, because the defendant “voluntarily
conveyed” the numbers to the telephone company,40 his privacy interest in
the numbers did not satisfy the second prong of the Katz standard.41
Today, Katz, Miller, and Smith are the foundation of the third-party
doctrine—that an individual does not have a reasonable expectation of
privacy in information voluntarily revealed to third parties.42 Because the
individual’s expectation of privacy fails the objective prong of the Katz test,
the government does not conduct an unreasonable search by subsequently
gathering that information.43 Importantly, the methods of generating and
recording information in CSLI records make the third-party doctrine
particularly relevant in this context.
C. The Technology Behind CSLI
As previously noted, CSLI refers to the information generated by the
communication of a mobile phone and cell tower, or cell site, constructed by
the phone’s service provider. Anytime a cell phone is turned on, it sends out
a radio signal that identifies the nearest tower with which the phone then
“registers” to obtain service.44 The registration process occurs each time the
phone is used to communicate, such as through a phone call or text
message.45 However, even when the phone is not being used to
communicate, the registration process occurs automatically every seven
seconds, so long as the phone is powered on.46 Therefore, the only way to
prevent registration is to turn the phone off.47
As the phone moves from one tower to the next, it continues to register,
and the signal strength fluctuates accordingly, as indicated by the signal icon
on the phone.48 Towers measure the signal strength and, thus, the relative
location of the phone through two methods.49 The first method, known as
time difference of arrival (TDOA), approximates the distance between the
cell phone and tower by calculating the amount of time it takes for the signal
to travel between the two.50 The second method, known as angle of arrival
(AOA), determines a phone’s position based on the angle at which its signal
reaches the tower.51 When three or more towers receive a signal from the
phone, service providers can locate a phone even more precisely using
“triangulation methods.”52 Triangulation uses information about the signal’s
strength and the angle at which it was received at each tower to “virtually
pinpoint” the phone’s location.53
The accuracy of the location data also depends on the number of, and
distance between, cell towers in a given area.54 As the number of towers in
a given region increases, the geographic area that each tower services
decreases.55 In urban areas, cell towers are more concentrated to
accommodate for increased communications.56 In these areas, towers are
typically placed within a few hundred feet of each other.57 Thus, a phone’s
signal has to travel only a few hundred feet to reach the closest tower.58 By
contrast, in rural towns, towers can be located several miles apart.59 As a
result, a phone’s signal must travel several miles before registering with the
closest tower, diminishing the accuracy of the phone’s location.60
At the same time registration occurs, however, the phone’s service
provider records the information used to generate the connection between the
phone and the tower.61 CSLI refers to the information contained in these
records. In particular, at each registration, the service provider records which
cell tower the phone registered with, which portion of the tower is facing the
phone at that time, and how strong the signal is, which indicates the distance
between the phone and tower at the time of registration.62 While CSLI does
not include the content of any particular communication,63 it allows service
providers to estimate the location of the phone within one hundred feet or
Over a period of a time, CSLI allows the service provider to create a
“virtual map.”65 This map is comprised of data points indicating where the
phone’s user has traveled and for how long.66 As a result, service providers
maintain a “virtually complete record of a customer’s location at all times.”67
CSLI records can be further divided into two categories: historical and
prospective location data.68 Historical CSLI allows police to determine the
past locations of a cell phone using information from towers that the phone
previously contacted.69 Prospective, or real-time, CSLI permits police to
determine the phone’s current location as it registers with each tower.70
However, prospective CSLI remains outside the scope of this Note, which
addresses only the government’s ability to obtain historical CSLI from
service providers.71 Significantly, though, at least one scholar found that
many courts have “held that the Fourth Amendment requires a [search]
warrant to obtain such forward-looking data.”72
Nonetheless, law enforcement officials often seek to obtain historical CSLI
from service providers during criminal investigations.73 In many cases,
police use this information to track a suspect’s movements in relation to the
scene of a recent crime.74 Cell site data is particularly useful when
investigating serial crimes such as robberies, assaults, and home invasions.75
Not surprisingly, defendants often challenge the admissibility of this
evidence on the ground that it was obtained in violation of their Fourth
Amendment protections.76 Courts considering these challenges, therefore,
have had to determine whether and how the government may procure CSLI.77
D. The SCA and CSLI Disclosure
The SCA currently regulates the government’s access to cell-phone-related
records.78 The statute divides communication information that the
government seeks into two separate categories.79 The first category, found
under § 2703(a)–(b), includes the content of communications.80 The second
category, found under § 2703(c), includes the “records concerning electronic
communication service or remote computing service.”81 Because CSLI does
not include the content of any communication, “most courts . . . have
assumed” it falls into the latter group.82
Under § 2703(c), the government may compel a service provider to
disclose these “records” by obtaining (
) a search warrant supported by
probable cause,83 (
) consent of the customer for whom they seek the
information,84 or (
) a court order pursuant to § 2703(d).85 In turn, § 2703(d)
provides that a court order will be granted if the government offers “specific
supra note 63, at 89–91 (arguing for a uniform, probable cause standard for access to all CSLI),
and Freiwald, supra note 1, at 738–40 (arguing that the historical nature of the location data
should not change the legal analysis), with Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 174–93
(proposing a statute that governs law enforcement’s access to historical and prospective CSLI
72. Freiwald, supra note 1, at 698–99.
73. See P. Kramer Rice, You Are Here: Tracking Around the Fourth Amendment to
Protect Smartphone Geolocation Information with the GPS Act, 38 SETON HALL LEGIS. J. 17,
23–24 (2013); see also Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 120–21.
74. See, e.g., United States v. Graham, 824 F.3d 421, 424 (4th Cir. 2016); United States
v. Carpenter, 819 F.3d 880, 885 (6th Cir. 2016); United States v. Davis, 785 F.3d 498, 501
(11th Cir. 2015).
75. See Owsley, supra note 2, at 6.
76. See, e.g., Graham, 824 F.3d at 424; Carpenter, 819 F.3d at 885–86; Davis, 785 F.3d
77. See infra Part II.A.
78. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701–2712 (2012).
79. Id. § 2703(a)–(c).
80. Id. § 2703(a)–(b).
81. Id. § 2703(c).
82. Freiwald, supra note 45, at 883. Some scholars, however, question the validity of this
assumption. See infra Part II.B.4.
83. 18 U.S.C. § 2703(c)(
84. Id. § 2703(c)(
85. Id. § 2703(c)(
and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe”
the information sought is relevant to a current investigation.86
Importantly, the “specific and articulable facts” standard is less stringent
than the probable cause standard required to obtain a search warrant.87 As a
result, the government often procures CSLI using a court order under
§ 2703(d), commonly referred to as a “‘d’ order,”88 rather than a warrant.89
E. The Supreme Court and Government Surveillance
The Supreme Court has not yet addressed whether the warrantless
procurement of CSLI, such as through the use of a “d order,” violates the
Fourth Amendment. However, the Court has decided similar cases involving
technological surveillance by the government. These decisions inform the
First, in United States v. Knotts,90 the government placed a beeper inside a
chemical container, which the defendant then transported from Minnesota to
Wisconsin by car.91 The beeper emitted periodic radio signals, which the
government picked up using a radio receiver.92 This enabled the government
to track the container and, thus, the defendant’s location from one state to the
next.93 Before trial, the defendant moved to suppress the location
information obtained through the beeper.94
The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which held that the
warrantless monitoring of the defendant’s location did not violate his Fourth
Amendment rights.95 Because he “travelled over . . . public streets,” the
defendant “voluntarily conveyed” his location to anyone who looked his
way.96 As a result, the Court held that a person “traveling in an automobile
on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his
movements from one place to another.”97
Second, in United States v. Karo,98 the government again placed a beeper
inside a chemical container, which was then used to locate the container
inside of the defendant’s home.99 The Court held the government’s
warrantless monitoring violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment
protections.100 Distinguishing Knotts, the Court found the government
gained information about the inside of the defendant’s home that could not
otherwise be visually verified.101 As a result, the Court held that the
warrantless monitoring of property within one’s home, which is hidden from
“public view,” violates the privacy interests one has within his home.102
Lastly, in United States v. Jones,103 the government installed a global
positioning system (GPS) device on the defendant’s car and tracked its
movements for twenty-eight days.104 Relying on the traditional
trespassbased approach of the Fourth Amendment, the Court held that the
government violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights because it
“physically occupied private property” without a warrant to install the
device.105 However, five Justices wrote or joined concurring opinions
analyzing the case under a different approach, focusing on the government’s
GPS surveillance rather than the trespass.
Justice Alito, writing for Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, wrote that
“long term GPS monitoring in investigations of most offenses impinges on
[one’s] expectation of privacy.”106 Although he noted that short-term
monitoring would not implicate the Fourth Amendment,107 Justice Alito
doubted that people expect law enforcement to trace an individual’s
movements over a long period of time.108 Justice Alito did not specify at
what point the monitoring becomes a search within the meaning of the Fourth
Amendment.109 However, he noted that “the line was surely crossed before
the 4-week mark.”110
Justice Sotomayor, writing alone, also focused on the government’s use of
GPS surveillance and framed the issue in the case under a similar
approach.111 Although she agreed with Justice Alito’s concerns about
longterm monitoring,112 Justice Sotomayor wrote first that “even short-term
monitoring” can be problematic.113 She noted that GPS monitoring creates
a “comprehensive record of a person’s public movements that reflects a
wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and
sexual associations.”114 Focusing on the “sum of one’s public
movements,”115 she then stated that the proper inquiry is “whether people
reasonably expect that their movements will be recorded and aggregated in a
manner that enables the Government to ascertain, more or less at will, their
political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and so on.”116
Justice Sotomayor also questioned validity of the third-party doctrine.117
She stated that the doctrine is “ill suited to the digital age,”118 as people today
reveal a vast amount of information about themselves to third parties in
carrying out “mundane tasks.”119 In her view, information that has been
disclosed to “some member of the public for a limited purpose” does not
necessarily lose Fourth Amendment protection solely for that reason.120
Nonetheless, because Jones dealt with GPS devices and because the
majority’s holding was rooted in trespass, circuit courts have not applied
Jones in the context of CSLI, where physical trespass is absent. And despite
Justices Alito’s and Sotomayor’s concurring opinions, circuit courts have
continually held that the warrantless procurement of CSLI is not a Fourth
Amendment violation.121 However, many scholars disagree with these
decisions and support the opposite position using a number of different
II. CSLI TRACKING: JUDICIAL OUTCOMES AND ACADEMIA’S RESPONSE This part articulates the disagreement between the federal appellate judiciary and academia over the warrantless use of CSLI records.
A. Circuit Court Treatment of CSLI
As discussed, § 2703(c) of the SCA permits the government to obtain CSLI
with a court order rather than a search warrant.123 And because the “specific
and articulable facts” standard required for such an order is less stringent than
the probable cause standard required for a warrant,124 the government
commonly relies on this section to procure CSLI from service providers.125
When defendants move to suppress this evidence on Fourth Amendment
grounds, the central inquiry under Katz is whether mobile phone customers
have a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI.126
To date, four of the five circuit courts to address this question have
answered in the negative.127 In these jurisdictions, therefore, the government
may lawfully procure CSLI from service providers without a warrant. In
support of their holdings, the circuit courts have relied primarily on two
rationales. First, all of these circuit courts found that the third-party doctrine
prevents individuals from maintaining a reasonable expectation of privacy in
CSLI.128 Second, most of these circuits also found that the data contained in
CSLI is analogous to the business records kept by a private company, which
are not subject to Fourth Amendment protections.129
1. Application of the Third-Party Doctrine
First, as noted, most of the circuits have used the third-party doctrine to
conclude that mobile phone users do not have a reasonable expectation of
privacy in CSLI. Recently, for example, in United States v. Graham,130 the
government procured CSLI for the defendants’ cell phones for 221 days.131
The government obtained the information through a court order under
§ 2703(d) of the SCA132 and then used the CSLI to track the defendants’
locations in relation to several robberies.133
At trial, the defendants moved to suppress the CSLI evidence.134 The
district court denied the motions,135 and the defendants appealed to the
Fourth Circuit, where a three-judge panel held that the government’s
warrantless procurement of CSLI was an unreasonable search under the
Fourth Amendment.136 However, after a rehearing en banc, the Fourth
Circuit reversed the panel’s decision.137
The court expressly held that “individuals do not have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in . . . CSLI.”138 In support of its holding, the court
noted that the third-party doctrine resolved any issues regarding the
government’s procurement of CSLI139: by using their cell phones, the
defendants necessarily revealed their location to their third-party service
provider, Sprint/Nextel.140 Therefore, they could not claim a reasonable
expectation of privacy in the information,141 and the government was
permitted to obtain the CSLI using only a court order.142
The Fourth Circuit found support for its application of the third-party
doctrine to CSLI in its sister circuits’ decisions.143 In United States v.
Carpenter,144 for example, the Sixth Circuit confronted facts similar to those
in Graham. In Carpenter, the government obtained a year’s worth of CSLI,
which was used to track the defendants’ location in relation to a robbery and
other related crimes.145 The government compelled the defendants’ service
providers to disclose the information through a court order under
Relying on the third-party doctrine, the Sixth Circuit held that mobile
phone users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI.147 The
court found that cell phone users knowingly expose their location to their
service providers for at least two reasons.148 First, most cell phone users have
seen their phone’s signal strength fluctuate through its signal icon.149 Thus,
users know that they are exposing their location to the nearest tower and the
service provider that operates it.150 Second, cell phone users know that they
will be billed for “roaming” charges when they use their phone outside of the
provider’s network.151 Thus, customers should know that service providers
record their locational information.152 As a result, the court held that cell
136. Id. at 343. Although the panel found that the warrantless procurement of CSLI
violated the defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights, it affirmed the district court’s denial of the
suppression motions on other grounds. Id. at 361, 363. Nonetheless, as the Fourth Circuit later
noted en banc, the panel’s holding instructed the government to first secure a search warrant
before procuring CSLI from providers in the future. Graham, 824 F.3d at 424.
137. Graham, 824 F.3d at 424 (holding that “the Government’s acquisition of historical
CSLI from Defendants’ cell phone provider did not violate the Fourth Amendment”).
138. Id. at 428.
139. Id. at 427.
141. Id. at 435–36.
142. Id. at 438.
143. Id. at 428 (noting that the Fifth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits have held that mobile
phone users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI).
144. 819 F.3d 880 (6th Cir. 2016).
145. Id. at 884.
146. Id. at 886.
147. Id. at 888.
phone users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI because they
knowingly expose their location to their service providers.153
The Fifth Circuit, in In re Application of the United States for Historical
Cell Site Data,154 took a position similar to that of the Fourth and Sixth
Circuits. The court noted first that cell phone use is completely voluntarily
on the part of the user.155 Second, the court found that mobile phone
customers “understand” that their location is being used by the service
provider to deliver a signal to the customer’s phone.156 Therefore, the user’s
knowledge that their location will be revealed to their third-party provider
precludes a claim of privacy in CSLI.157 As a result, the court held that a
warrant is not required to obtain it.158
2. The Business Record Analogy
Some circuits have considered not only the method of collecting CSLI but
also the nature of the data it contains. The Sixth Circuit, for example, noted
that the information contained in CSLI excludes the actual content of any
communication.159 Rather, the court found that CSLI merely represents the
“information necessary to get those communications from point A to point
B.”160 In doing so, the Sixth Circuit analogized CSLI to the business records
discussed in Miller and Smith.161 It found that CSLI was “created and
maintained”162 by the service provider for legitimate purposes.163 While the
Fourth Amendment protects the private contents of communications,
individuals do not maintain a protected interest in the business records
created by a company.164 The government’s subsequent gathering of that
information is therefore not a violation of a cell phone user’s privacy.165
The Eleventh Circuit also found this rationale persuasive. In United States
v. Davis,166 the government obtained CSLI for a period of sixty-seven days
to trace the defendant’s location in relation to series of seven robberies.167
After the defendant was convicted, he appealed to the Eleventh Circuit.168 A
three-judge panel held that because the government obtained the data
pursuant to a court order rather than a warrant, the defendant’s Fourth
Amendment rights were violated.169 After a rehearing en banc, however, the
Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision, holding that the defendant did not
have a constitutionally protected privacy interest in CSLI.170
The court held that the defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of
privacy in CSLI in part because the information constituted a business record
of the service provider.171 The court found that the CSLI records did not
belong to the defendant, “even if [they] concern[ed] him.”172 Rather, the
“records were created by [the service provider], stored on its own premises,
and subject to its control.”173 The court further explained that CSLI excluded
the “private communications” of the defendant and was used by the company
only for legitimate business purposes.174 Therefore, the defendant could not
claim ownership of, or privacy in, the CSLI records.175 As a result, the
government was not required to obtain a warrant before compelling the
service provider to disclose the locational information.176
3. The Third Circuit’s Discretionary Standard
Although most circuits have based their holdings on the third-party
doctrine, the Third Circuit declined to do so. Its holding in In re Electronic
Communication Service to Disclose177 departs from those of its sister circuits
in a significant way. In that case, a magistrate judge denied the government’s
request for a court order compelling a service provider to disclose CSLI.178
In doing so, the magistrate judge held that a cell phone is a “tracking device,”
which is not governed by the SCA.179 Consequently, the government was
required to show probable cause to obtain a search warrant before accessing
the phone’s locational information.180
On appeal, the Third Circuit rejected the government’s argument that cell
phone users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI based on the
third-party doctrine.181 The court found that a “cell phone customer has not
‘voluntarily’ shared his location information with a cellular provider in any
meaningful way,” as the customer is likely unaware that his provider collects
such data.182 Nevertheless, the court declined to directly address whether
individuals maintain a privacy interest the location information.183 Instead,
the Third Circuit turned to the language of the SCA to determine whether a
warrant was required to obtain it.
First, the court rejected the contention that a cell phone is a tracking device
and, therefore, not covered by the SCA.184 Rather, the court noted that
§ 2703(d) of SCA applies to CSLI because the information is derived from
“wire communication,”185 which is explicitly governed by the statute and
accessible by the government with a court order.186 Thus, it held that
“CSLI . . . is obtainable under a § 2307(d) order,” regardless of the
thirdparty doctrine’s effect and “that such an order does not require the traditional
probable cause determination.”187
However, the court then explained that a court order may not be sufficient
in all circumstances and granted the magistrate judge discretion in
determining whether a warrant should be required in a given case.188 Section
2703(d) states that a “court order for disclosure . . . may be issued by any
court that is a court of competent jurisdiction and shall issue only if” the
“specific and articulable facts” standard is met.189 The Third Circuit
explained that the word “may” is the “language of permission”190 and that
the phrase “only if” is used to denote a necessary condition, not a sufficient
one.191 As a result, the court held that even if the government meets the
“specific and articulable facts” standard required for a court order, the SCA
“gives the [magistrate judge] the option to require a warrant showing
probable cause.”192 Nonetheless, in remanding the case, the Third Circuit
noted that although requiring a warrant is an available option, it should be
“used sparingly because Congress also included the option of a § 2703(d)
B. Academic Treatment of CSLI
As the circuit courts have ruled on CSLI-related cases, scholars and
students have tracked this issue and analyzed the courts’ decisions.194
Significantly, this scholarship clashes with the circuit courts’ holdings, as
many commentators argue that cell phone users do, in fact, have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in CSLI.195 In support of this conclusion, they
contend that the third-party doctrine is inapplicable to locational data,196
reject the proposition that CSLI is merely a business record,197 and even
question whether § 2703(c) of the SCA governs cell phone location data at
1. A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in CSLI
On a fundamental level, many scholars and commentators disagree with
the notion that mobile phone customers lack a reasonable expectation of
privacy in CSLI.199 To the contrary, cell phone users maintain “both a
subjective and an objective expectation of privacy” in location data,
satisfying the Katz standard and rendering the government’s warrantless
procurement of CSLI an unreasonable search.200
First, as to the subjective prong, CSLI reveals a “large amount of sensitive
and private information about a person’s movements and activities in public
and private spaces.”201 However, people “regard access to their location data
as yielding private data”202 and would be “unpleasantly surprised, if not
outraged to learn” that the government could freely obtain their location
information without a warrant.203 Thus, cell phone users “surely entertain a
subjective expectation of privacy” in CSLI.204
Second, the objective prong of Katz is also satisfied, as “Americans have
a reasonable expectation of privacy in their cell phone records” as well.205
Generally, people do not expect their locations and movements to be
monitored by the government through their cell phones.206 And because cell
phones play a “vital role” in today’s era of private communication,207
denying Fourth Amendment protection to location data ignores the “set of
expectations that Americans have” with respect to this information.208
2. The Third-Party Doctrine Does Not Apply
Equally important, scholars further argue that the third-party doctrine is
inapplicable to CSLI and does not diminish or eliminate a cell phone user’s
reasonable expectation of privacy in their location data.209 First, mobile
phone customers do not “voluntarily” convey their location to service
providers.210 Because registration automatically occurs every seven seconds,
users do not enter locational information into their phones—as the defendant
in Smith had done with the numbers he dialed—nor otherwise “affirmatively
transmit” their location to the service provider.211 Rather, the only
affirmative action on the part of the user is buying the phone, as CSLI is an
automatically generated byproduct.212 Therefore, cell phone users could only
“voluntarily” reveal their location if they understood the mechanics of CSLI
prior to buying the phone.213
However, most cell phone users simply lack this knowledge.214 Although
service providers may include information about CSLI in their contracts,
customers rarely read these agreements, and even if they do, it is likely not
in an effort to find a CSLI-related provision.215
Moreover, even assuming that cell phone users are aware of registration
and the resulting CSLI, they remain unable to prevent disclosing their
location to service providers.216 Today, cell phones are a ubiquitous part of
society.217 Family members, friends, and employers all require us to carry
and use them, making it “very hard in today’s world to exist without a cell
phone.”218 As a result, they have become necessary in the modern era and
refusing to own a phone or keeping one turned off at all times to avoid
location disclosure is not practical.219
3. CSLI Is Not a Business Record
In addition to criticizing the third-party doctrine, commentators have also
attacked the proposition that CSLI is merely a record kept by the service
provider in the ordinary course of business.220 At least one scholar suggests
that when the government compels service providers to disclose CSLI, the
providers do not produce anything that resembles a routine business
record.221 Rather, the documents disclosed look more like either
“customized report[s]” tailored to the government’s request or, on the other
end of the spectrum, “raw data.”222 In either case, the documents produced
during CSLI disclosure hardly look like information that would be regularly
kept or presented to a customer.223
In addition to the records’ form, the nature of the data contained in CSLI
also “needs to be addressed,”224 as this information should not be treated like
ordinary business records.225 CSLI provides detailed information about
people’s communication, movements, and activities—disclosing more
personal information, such as where users go and how long they spend there,
than the banking records in Miller.226 Because CSLI reveals this “large
amount of sensitive and private information,”227 it more closely resembles
the private communications that were protected by the Fourth Amendment in
Miller than the financial information that was not.228
4. Section 2703(c) Does Not Govern CSLI
Lastly, some commentators have also questioned whether § 2703(c) of the
SCA governs CSLI at all.229 Congress defines a mobile “tracking device” as
“an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the
movement of a person or object.”230 Because a cell phone creates a record
of its user’s movements through CSLI, “[i]t makes sense to view a cell phone
as a tracking device.”231 However, while § 2703(c) covers information
relating to “electronic communication services,”232 the SCA explicitly
excludes “tracking device[s]” from its definition of “electronic
communication.”233 Thus, cell phones “should be excluded from the scope
of records” obtainable under § 2703(c).234
Moreover, even if “tracking devices” were included within the SCA’s
definition of “electronic communication,” they could still fall outside the
scope of § 2703(c).235 This section does not govern the content of any
particular communication, as the government may obtain the “contents
of . . . electronic communications” only under § 2703(a).236 As one scholar
notes, “The question is, what counts as contents, and what counts as
noncontent” information?237 In answering this question, however, a “judge
could view location data as content information” and therefore obtainable
only under § 2703(a), not § 2703(c).238
As a result, courts could construe location records to fall outside the scope
of § 2703(c) by either viewing cell phones as tracking devices or location
records as content information.239 In either case, the government would be
required to obtain a warrant before procuring a cell phone’s locational
C. Protection of CSLI Records
The discourse surrounding CSLI not only scrutinizes the circuit courts’
decisions but also further advocates for the protection of cell phone location
data under the Fourth Amendment. Notably, however, scholars do not agree
on the extent and nature of that protection and which governmental institution
is best suited to implement it.
1. Judicial Intervention and the Warrant Requirement
Because many scholars contend that individuals maintain a reasonable
expectation of privacy in CSLI,241 they also argue that the judiciary should
require the government to obtain a search warrant before procuring this data
from service providers.242 Given the “accuracy and precision” with which
CSLI can locate criminal suspects,243 a warrant requirement affords innocent
Americans protections against overreaching law enforcement activity.244
And because the technology continues to develop at a rapid pace,245 making
233. Id. § 2510(12)(C).
234. Freiwald, supra note 45, at 884.
235. See id. at 885.
236. 18 U.S.C. § 2703(a).
237. Kerr, supra note 88, at 1228.
238. Freiwald, supra note 45, at 885.
239. See id.
240. See id.
241. See supra Part II.B.1–3.
242. See Freiwald, supra note 1, at 748; Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1191, 1195;
see also Curtis et al., supra note 63, at 89–91.
243. Harrington, supra note 194, at 392; see Freiwald, supra note 1, at 724–25 (discussing
how CSLI can even permit police to ascertain when an individual is in his own home).
244. Freiwald, supra note 1, at 726 (arguing that the “richness and precision” of CSLI and
the likelihood that law enforcement will overcollect data mandates a warrant protection).
245. See Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 315.
it easier for the government to obtain a person’s information, the law must
respond accordingly by heightening the Fourth Amendment’s protections.246
However, because the federal appellate courts have not yet held that a
warrant is necessary, some commentators suggest that state courts should
implement the requirement.247 Although a decision from the Supreme Court
or circuit courts would be “preferential,”248 state courts are in a unique
position to address the problem because they can act as “laboratories in the
constantly changing world of technology.”249
The Fourth Amendment acts as a “constitutional floor,” establishing the
minimum level of protection states must provide to their citizens.250
However, each state has an “analog” to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution.251 State courts, therefore, are free to interpret their
constitutional provisions to accord greater protection to individual rights than
do the provisions of the federal Constitution.252 For example, the Supreme
Court of New Jersey held that cell phone users have a reasonable expectation
of privacy in CSLI, forcing police to obtain a warrant before procuring
location data from providers.253 While few states have followed New
Jersey’s lead,254 one scholar argues that the New Jersey Supreme Court’s
holding was “correct” and urges others to follow accordingly.255
2. Legislative Solutions and the SCA
Although a judge may impose a warrant requirement, some commentators
argue for a legislative resolution to warrantless CSLI disclosure.256 For
example, some scholars contend that Congress or state legislatures should
enact a statutory warrant requirement for all CSLI requests by the
government,257 while others suggest the SCA’s standard for a court order
should be amended.258
The latter approach, proposed by two scholars, permits the government to
compel a service provider to disclose historical CSLI using only a court
order.259 However, to obtain the order, the government must satisfy two
requirements.260 First, it must demonstrate “specific and articulable facts
showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the location
information requested is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal
investigation.”261 Second, the government must also demonstrate “specific
and articulable facts showing that a reasonable and sufficient nexus exists
between the alleged or suspected criminal activity . . . and the scope of the
location data requested.”262
To be clear, the authors did not propose a warrant requirement for
historical CSLI disclosure. However, they hoped that requiring the
government to justify the scope of its request properly weighed the privacy
interest of mobile phone users without unduly limiting the police’s ability to
investigate suspected criminal activity.263
3. A Mosaic Approach to CSLI Protection
Finally, some commentators suggest that the “mosaic theory” of the Fourth
Amendment should serve as the basis of protection for CSLI.264 Generally,
the mosaic theory proposes that courts “apply the Fourth Amendment search
doctrine to government conduct as a collective whole rather than in isolated
steps.”265 More specifically, rather than considering whether a particular
governmental act is a search, the theory focuses on whether a series of acts
together constitutes a search.266 Thus, “premised on aggregation,” it asks
“whether a set of nonsearches aggregated together amount to a search
because their collection and subsequent analysis creates a revealing mosaic”
about the targeted individual’s life.267 Before turning to theory’s application
to CSLI, however, it is helpful to consider again the opinions in Jones, from
which the mosaic theory stems.268
In Jones, the government physically placed a GPS tracking device on the
defendant’s car and used it to monitor the vehicle’s location over
twentyeight days.269 Although the majority resolved the case on trespass
grounds,270 Justices Alito and Sotomayor analyzed the case on a different
basis, focusing on the government’s use of GPS surveillance. Justice Alito
stated that because people do not expect law enforcement to track an
individual’s movements over an extended period of time, long-term
monitoring “impinges on [one’s] expectations of privacy.”271 He then added
that although the government monitored the defendant’s location for
twentyeight days, the surveillance transformed into a search at some point “before
the 4-week mark.”272 Thus, importantly, Justice Alito’s opinion considers
the amount or period of time over which the government’s conduct persists,
“which is critical to the mosaic approach.”273
Similarly, Justice Sotomayor’s concurrence also “clearly echoes the
mosaic theory.”274 She suggested that, in cases of GPS monitoring, the
proper inquiry focuses on the “sum of one’s public movements.”275 Justice
Sotomayor then stated that, in the context of government surveillance, the
analysis should ask whether people “reasonably expect that their movements
will be recorded and aggregated in a manner that enables the Government to
ascertain, more or less at will, their political and religious beliefs, sexual
habits, and so on.”276 Although she agreed with Justice Alito’s concern about
long-term monitoring, she suggested that even short-term surveillance may
be troublesome, depending on the amount of information the police are able
to gather about the individual from the “sum” of their movements.277
Taken together, Justices Alito’s and Sotomayor’s opinions “create” the
mosaic theory.278 They focus on the “collective sum of government action,”
including the amount of time over which the government acts as well as the
268. Id. In fact, the theory was first considered in United States v. Maynard, 615 F.3d 544
(D.C. Cir. 2012), which was subsequently reviewed by the Supreme Court under the name
United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). Kerr, supra note 265, at 320.
269. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 948.
270. Id. at 949 (holding that the government violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment
rights because it “physically occupied private property” without a warrant when it installed
the device on the defendant’s car).
271. Id. at 964 (Alito, J., concurring).
273. Kerr, supra note 265, at 327.
274. Id. at 328.
275. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 956 (Sotomayor, J., concurring).
277. Id. at 955.
278. Curtis et al., supra note 63, at 74.
amount and nature of the information it gathers, rather than on the
government’s individual actions or singular pieces of data they obtain.279
As noted, some commentators suggest that courts apply the mosaic
approach when considering law enforcement’s ability to obtain CSLI from
service providers.280 As a “more efficient and cost-effective” method of
surveillance, “CSLI reveals more about a person” than GPS tracking because
“people carry their cell phones wherever they go: in purses and pockets, to
the doctor’s office, to a political gathering, in their own home, and even
inside their bedroom.”281 Thus, CSLI generates a wealth of information that
has never before been available in one place to law enforcement officials.282
As a result, law enforcement’s “[l]ong-term, continuous monitoring of cell
site location information . . . fall[s] squarely within the contours of the mosaic
theory.”283 As Justices Alito and Sotomayor suggested, society would not
expect the police to covertly track and aggregate a person’s every movement
for long periods of time.284 Because CSLI permits this kind of surveillance,
cell site location tracking calls for Fourth Amendment protection.285
However, while the mosaic theory may be one of the “most compelling
approach[es]” to address government surveillance,286 some scholars have
pointed out the practical problems that arise when trying to implement it.287
In particular, Professor Orin S. Kerr thoughtfully details at least four issues
that courts will need to address in order to administer the approach.288
The “first question concerns the standard that would govern the mosaic
theory.”289 Courts will have to articulate what “test determines when a
mosaic has been created.”290 Otherwise stated, courts will have to develop a
standard for determining at what point the government’s action gathers
enough information about an individual such that their Fourth Amendment
rights have been implicated.291 Moreover, in developing this standard, courts
will also have to determine which “stages of surveillance a mosaic search”
includes.292 Under this theory, it is unclear whether the government could
279. Kerr, supra note 265, at 328.
280. See supra note 264 and accompanying text.
281. Selva et al., supra note 264, at 255.
284. See id.
286. Id. at 256.
287. See, e.g., Henderson, supra note 4, at 823–25 (analyzing the “administrability” of the
mosaic theory); Kerr, supra note 265, at 328–43 (describing the challenges that come with
implementing the mosaic approach).
288. Kerr, supra note 265, at 329–30.
289. Id. at 329.
291. See id. at 330–31 (arguing that the opinions from Maynard and Jones suggest three
different standards for making this determination, all of which present their own issues of
292. Id. at 329.
satisfy this standard simply by collecting data or whether “subsequent
analysis and use” of that data would also be required.293
The second issue that arises when implementing the mosaic theory is a
“grouping question.”294 Because the theory considers the “collective whole”
of government conduct, courts will need to determine which conduct, or
types of conduct, should be “grouped” together when evaluating whether that
conduct poses a Fourth Amendment issue.295 In turn, this will force courts
to address several items, including which types of surveillance methods
prompt the mosaic approach (e.g., GPS or CSLI tracking),296 how long a
specific tool or method of surveillance must be used before the mosaic theory
is implicated,297 and how different methods of surveillance used in one case
should be grouped together, if at all, in determining whether a mosaic has
The third issue that the theory presents is how courts will “analyze the
reasonableness of mosaic searches.”299 Because “each mosaic will be
different,” courts will have to develop a “framework” for determining the
reasonableness of the government’s action once it has been determined that
a mosaic has been created.300 For example, given the public/private
distinction created by Knotts and Karo, courts will have to address whether
public places will be treated differently than private areas, such as the home,
or whether all locations in the mosaic will be treated “cumulatively.”301
Moreover, because mosaics can be created by different methods of
surveillance, courts will be forced to decide whether one standard should be
used for mosaics created by all methods of surveillance or whether the
standard should be different for each method.302
The last issue that arises when adopting the mosaic theory concerns what
“remedies” will apply for Fourth Amendment violations.303 After
determining that the government has violated an individual’s Fourth
Amendment rights under this theory, courts will then have to decide what
recourse, if any, is available to the aggrieved party.304 This will require
courts to decide whether the exclusionary rule applies305 and whether all of
293. Id. at 331–32 (explaining that while generally Fourth Amendment law considers only
the acquisition of information, the mosaic theory may shift this focus because the
“aggregation” principle suggests that “analysis” is required to create the mosaic).
294. Id. at 329.
297. Id. at 333.
298. Id. at 335–36 (noting also that courts will be forced to address whether the same
conduct (for example, CSLI tracking) done by different actors (for example, state and federal
law enforcement) should be grouped together for purposes of creating the mosaic).
299. Id. at 329.
301. Id. at 337.
302. See id. at 338.
303. Id. at 329–30.
304. See id.
305. Under traditional Fourth Amendment law, the exclusionary rule prevents the
government from introducing evidence against a defendant that was obtained in violation of
his Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 340.
the information gathered by the police will be subject to the rule or only the
information gathered after the point at which the court decides the mosaic
was created.306 Inevitably, courts will also likely confront situations wherein
exceptions to the exclusionary rule may be appropriate and, therefore, must
carefully articulate the scope and application of these exceptions.307 Finally,
courts will also have to consider whether, and under what circumstances,
civil remedies may be available to the aggrieved party as well.308
Despite these obstacles, Kerr acknowledges that the mosaic theory “is
animated by legitimate concerns.”309 However, he maintains that “courts
should reject the mosaic theory” because “[it] would be very difficult to
administer” given the aforementioned issues.310 Moreover, despite having
confidence in the judiciary to resolve these issues, Kerr notes that the
challenges to the theory’s implementation are emphasized by the lack of
expert “opinion on how to apply it.”311
III. THE MOSAIC THEORY
AND WARRANTLESS CSLI MONITORING
This part aims to reconcile the competing arguments in the debate over
warrantless CSLI monitoring by suggesting that courts analyze this
information under the mosaic theory. This part first joins those who advocate
for the theory’s adoption and explains why this approach is best suited to
address the underlying concerns with CSLI tracking. It then adds to the
discussion by proposing a standard under which courts may apply the mosaic
theory to CSLI.
A. The Mosaic Theory and the Problem with CSLI Tracking
The mosaic theory of the Fourth Amendment should be applied in the
context of CSLI because it properly addresses the underlying concerns with
the government’s use of cell site locational data. Before the mosaic approach
can be understood as the appropriate theory to analyze CSLI, however, it is
necessary to see why both the trespass-based approach and the reasonable
expectation of privacy test are insufficient to protect the interests at stake.
The Supreme Court made clear that the reasonable expectation of privacy
test did not replace the trespass-based approach of the Fourth Amendment; it
merely added to it.312 As previously discussed, under the latter approach, the
Fourth Amendment protects against physical intrusions upon one’s body or
property, such as their house, office, and automobile.313 By definition, this
approach is inapplicable in cases without physical trespass—such as the
306. See id. at 329–30.
307. See id.
308. See id.
309. Id. at 315.
311. Id. at 346–47.
312. United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 952 (2012).
313. LAFAVE, supra note 12, § 2.1(a), at 575; see also supra Part I.A.
government’s procurement of CSLI—which the Jones Court conceded
“would remain subject to Katz analysis.”314
However, the Katz standard likewise fails to provide an appropriate
framework for evaluating CSLI disclosure. The Katz Court held that the
“Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.”315 On one level, the
argument that CSLI should be protected under this standard undermines this
holding to the extent that it effectively asks the Fourth Amendment to protect
the locations contained in cell site location information. Admittedly,
however, this conclusion ignores Katz’s idea that it is the individual’s
expectation of privacy within certain places, such as the level of privacy one
expects to maintain within their home, that aggrieved parties seek to protect
under the Fourth Amendment. Yet, this idea still does not address the
underlying problems of CSLI monitoring.
The concern with CSLI tracking is not that individuals expect—or expect
to maintain—privacy in certain locations. Rather, the concern stems from
what one’s presence at a given location can reveal about the details and
activities of their daily personal life. As one scholar writes, location data
permits law enforcement to “draw inferences about the substantive nature of
the target’s behavior based upon patterns revealed in the data.”316 Not
surprisingly, the “more data that is available, the more inferences can be
drawn to create a complete portrait of the subject’s private life.”317 For
example, as another scholar notes, CSLI can “reveal” or “divulge” when an
individual has sought medical treatment, visited an abortion clinic, watched
an X-rated movie, or protested at a political rally.318
However, while it stretches at least some standards of reasonableness to
argue that people expect as much “privacy” at a movie theater or public rally
as they do in their homes, it is easier to understand that people simply may
not want the government monitoring their personal activities. The revealing
nature of location data threatens an individual’s more basic “right to be let
alone,”319 which “often ha[s] nothing to do with privacy at all.”320 Thus, the
concerns about CSLI are based not necessarily on where individuals have
been but rather on the government’s ability to learn the more intimate details
about who they are and what they are doing.
The mosaic theory of the Fourth Amendment is best suited to address these
issues because it is concerned with the extent to which the government can
“learn about a person’s private affairs.”321 As Justice Sotomayor suggested
in Jones, the analysis should focus on whether “people reasonably expect that
their movements will be recorded and aggregated in a manner that enables
the Government to ascertain, more or less at will, their political and religious
314. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 953.
315. United States v. Katz, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967) (emphasis added).
316. Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 302.
318. Freiwald, supra note 1, at 743.
319. Katz, 389 U.S. at 350.
321. Kerr, supra note 265, at 328.
beliefs, sexual habits, and so on.”322 Concerned with “individual liberties
and freedoms,”323 she feared that “[a]wareness that the Government may be
watching”324 would restrict the “associational and expressive freedoms”325
people enjoy through their personal activities.
This Note, therefore, suggests that the mosaic theory is able to reconcile at
least some of the competing arguments in the debate over warrantless CSLI
procurement. On one hand, the circuit courts may have been correct to deny
CSLI Fourth Amendment protection under the Katz standard. However, this
Note does not suggest that these decisions were correct because of their
reliance on the third-party doctrine and business record analogy. Rather, they
are correct to the extent that the Katz standard is an inappropriate framework
under which to properly analyze mobile phone users’ concerns with CSLI
surveillance. On the other hand, the mosaic theory can still provide those
who advocate for constitutional protection of CSLI with an approach to
achieve that goal, along with five Justices who may be ready to embrace it.326
B. The Mosaic Analysis
Indeed, the five votes that Justices Alito’s and Sotomayor’s concurrences
received suggest the Supreme Court may be on the verge of changing its
Fourth Amendment jurisprudence by adopting the mosaic theory. These
votes, along with support for the theory among scholars and students, may
also encourage lower courts to apply this approach before the Supreme Court
has a chance to make such a change. However, courts choosing to do so will
need to address the practical challenges that the theory poses as well as
balance the government’s interest in investigating criminal activity.
This Note creates a framework under which courts could apply the mosaic
theory to CSLI by offering a resolution to two of the issues that arise in the
theory’s administration. First, this Note contends that CSLI monitoring
should be a method of government surveillance subject to mosaic analysis.327
Second, this Note offers a standard for determining whether the CSLI records
obtained constitute a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth
Amendment.328 Importantly, this Note recognizes the difficulty in resolving
these issues, as well as the others carefully outlined by Professor Kerr,329 and
it does not purport to provide a method by which the mosaic theory is
seamlessly implanted into existing Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
322. United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 956 (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring).
323. Selva et al., supra note 264, at 252.
324. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 956 (Sotomayor, J., concurring).
326. In Jones, Justice Sotomayor wrote for herself, id. at 954, while Justice Alito was joined
by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, id. at 957 (Alito, J., concurring).
327. See Kerr, supra note 265, at 329, 334 (noting that administration of the mosaic theory
will require courts to determine which methods of government surveillance would be subject
to a mosaic analysis).
328. See id. at 329 (suggesting that courts will have to develop a standard to determine at
what point a mosaic has been created).
329. See supra Part II.C.3.
Nonetheless, it does more than argue that the mosaic theory should be applied
to CSLI: it also proposes a standard for how the theory may be applied.
The first issue to consider is the types or methods of surveillance that
would be subject to a mosaic analysis. As stated above, the mosaic theory
should apply to warrantless CSLI monitoring because of the amount of
information it can reveal, the length of time over which it can be used, and
its inexpensive cost to the government—features similar to those of the GPS
tracking device in Jones.330 Importantly, Justice Sotomayor noted that these
features “require[d] particular attention”331 before articulating the standard
under which she would analyze government surveillance.332 Furthermore,
cell site location data can be easily aggregated over extended periods of time,
such as over a 221-day period.333 As a result, CSLI has the potential to offer
information about an individual that as a whole is “more revealing” than the
individual data points it consists of, placing cell phone location data
appropriately within the confines of the mosaic theory.334 Therefore, in cases
where law enforcement officers procure and use CSLI without a warrant, the
constitutionality of their conduct should be subject to a mosaic analysis.
Other methods of surveillance that share these attributes, improve upon
them, or add to them may also be appropriate to analyze under the mosaic
theory. While this Note does not endeavor to compare the methods of
surveillance available to and used by law enforcement, courts implementing
the mosaic theory will have to consider which techniques would be subject
to its analysis, which is no doubt challenging.335 Additionally, there are
legitimate concerns that arise with having multiple theories of the Fourth
Amendment—each applicable in different circumstances.336 Nonetheless,
given the “emerging technologies”337 of government surveillance, crafting
one theory to cover all methods of surveillance may hinder a court’s ability
to properly analyze one particular method that would more appropriately be
considered under a different approach.338
The second, and more difficult, issue to resolve under the mosaic theory is
the standard that would govern its application. Courts will have to develop a
standard for determining at what point the government has gathered a
330. Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 955–56 (Sotomayor, J., concurring) (noting that GPS tracking
reveals a wealth of information about an individual, is inexpensive, and can be used for years).
331. Id. at 955.
332. Id. at 956 (“I would take these attributes of GPS monitoring into account when
considering the existence of a reasonable societal expectation of privacy in the sum of one’s
public movements. I would ask whether people reasonably expect that their movements will
be recorded and aggregated in a manner that enables the Government to ascertain, more or less
at will, their political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and so on.”).
333. United States v. Graham, 796 F.3d 332, 341 (4th Cir. 2015), rev’d en banc, 824 F.3d
421 (4th Cir. 2016).
334. Selva et al., supra note 264, at 255 (quoting United States v. Maynard, 615 F.3d 544,
561 (D.C. Cir. 2010), aff’d in part sub. nom. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945).
335. See Kerr, supra note 265, at 329.
336. See Curtis et al., supra note 63, at 89–91 (describing the issues that can develop with
having different theories of Fourth Amendment law).
337. Selva et al., supra note 264, at 236.
338. See Rice, supra note 73, at 24 (noting that the law associated with government
surveillance “may need to adapt” with advances in the technology enabling that surveillance).
sufficient amount of information such that the target’s Fourth Amendment
rights have been implicated.339 In other words, the standard will determine
at what point the government has conducted a “search” within the meaning
of the Fourth Amendment. Assuming that warrantless CSLI monitoring is
subject to a mosaic analysis, the question here, then, is what that analysis
Kerr explains that Justices Alito and Sotomayor offer different standards,
each reflective of their respective concerns with government surveillance.340
He adds that courts “will have to choose”341 one to adopt and suggests that
doing so is “particularly difficult.”342
In the context of CSLI, however, the standard should reflect the ideas of
both Justices Alito and Sotomayor, as well as the underlying concerns with
CSLI monitoring. More specifically, courts should adopt a
“totality-of-thecircumstances” approach and analyze a nonexhaustive list of “factors”
reflective of these concerns. Thus, whether all of the CSLI records obtained
by police in a given case creates a “mosaic,” or constitutes a “search,” would
depend on (
) the amount of time covered by the CSLI records,343 (
amount of information that the CSLI records contained and whether it
enabled the government to learn details about the target’s personal life,344 (
the cost to the government in procuring the CSLI records and the ease with
which it was able to obtain them from the service provider,345 and (
people would expect law enforcement to be able to gather the particular
collection of CSLI at issue.346
Admittedly, this approach is not conducive to a neat and articulable
standard such as the Katz two-prong test. However, using the totality of law
enforcement behavior and outside circumstances to determine the legality of
police conduct would not be a “novel” endeavor and is in fact
“commonplace” within Fourth Amendment law.347 Moreover, because the
mosaic theory considers government conduct “as a collective whole,”348 the
standard for analyzing such conduct should appropriately permit
consideration of all the surrounding circumstances. Additionally, because
the list of factors is nonexhaustive, courts are free to add to the analysis if
339. See Kerr, supra note 265, at 329.
340. See id. at 330–32 (explaining the differences between the possible standards offered
by the concurring opinions).
341. Id. at 329.
342. Id. at 330.
343. See supra notes 271–73 and accompanying text (explaining Justice Alito’s emphasis
344. See supra notes 275–77 and accompanying text (explaining Justice Sotomayor’s
concern with the revealing nature of location data).
345. See supra note 276 and accompanying text (explaining Justice Sotomayor’s concern
over the ease with which the government may learn about an individual’s life through location
346. See supra notes 271, 276 and accompanying text (explaining Justices Alito’s and
Sotomayor’s concern with public expectations).
347. Henderson, supra note 4, at 823–24 (listing areas of Fourth Amendment law where
the totality-of-the-circumstances approach is used to determine whether a search or seizure
has occurred, including investigatory stops and custodial interrogations).
348. Kerr, supra note 265, at 320.
CSLI tracking presents new concerns not addressed here. Lastly, the final
factor concerning the public’s expectation of CSLI monitoring specifically
serves to balance the interests of cell phone users and law enforcement
officials, as it can adjust according to the government’s use, misuse, or disuse
of CSLI monitoring.
Ultimately, however, the proposed standard does not resolve all of the
issues with the mosaic theory. Nonetheless, the theory is better suited to
address the concerns with CSLI monitoring than the trespass-based approach
or Katz test. The standard and factors proposed account for these concerns
and can serve as an initial consideration of how warrantless CSLI monitoring
may be translated into a “search” restricted by the Fourth Amendment.
Lastly, at the very least, this Note hopes that by subjecting CSLI tracking to
a mosaic analysis and offering a standard under which that analysis can take
place, a more complete framework for implementing the theory in
CSLIrelated cases can be developed.
Given that five circuit courts have almost uniformly dismissed the Katz
test as a viable option to protect CSLI, scholars and judges should give
serious consideration to new analyses with the potential to address
governmental surveillance. Moreover, as technology continues to improve,
it is likely that new methods of surveillance will face the same result under a
Katz analysis because individuals in today’s world disclose their location and
other information to third parties in everyday activities.
In the context of CSLI, the mosaic theory provides one such alternative.
This approach should be adopted as the analysis under which courts
determine the legality of warrantless CSLI monitoring by law enforcement.
The theory best reflects the concerns that mobile phone customers have with
CSLI tracking and can serve as a viable option to protect this information.
Nevertheless, the issues that arise in administering this theory are
challenging. This Note resolves some of them by proposing an open standard
that courts may use to analyze CSLI under the mosaic approach. More
importantly, though, this Note’s efforts should serve as an invitation to other
advocates of the theory to critique this standard and likewise attempt to
resolve the approach’s other issues. After all, as Professor Kerr rightly
instructs, “proponents of the [mosaic] theory should answer” the very
questions it raises.349
Moreover, failure to a find an alternative to the Katz test likely leaves CSLI
without Fourth Amendment protection. Perhaps more poignantly, though, it
leaves an individual’s basic “right to be let alone” vulnerable to overreaching
surveillance through a device people carry every second of every day.350
A. Circuit Court Treatment of CSLI ............................................ 2396
1. Application of the Third-Party Doctrine.......................... 2397
2. The Business Record Analogy......................................... 2399
3. The Third Circuit's Discretionary Standard..................... 2400 B. Academic Treatment of CSLI.................................................. 2402
1. A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in CSLI.. .............. 2402
2. The Third-Party Doctrine Does Not Apply...................... 2403
3. CSLI Is Not a Business Record........................................ 2404
4. Section 2703( c) Does Not Govern CSLI ......................... 2404 C. Protection of CSLI Records.................................................... 2405
1. Judicial Intervention and the Warrant Requirement ........ 2405
2. Legislative Solutions and the SCA .................................. 2406
3. A Mosaic Approach to CSLI Protection .......................... 2407 III. THE MOSAIC THEORY AND WARRANTLESS CSLI MONITORING ..... 2411
2. See Brian L. Owsley , The Fourth Amendment Implications of the Government's Use of Cell Tower Dumps in Its Electronic Surveillance , 16 U. PA. J. CONST . L. 1 , 5 ( 2013 ).
4. See Stephen E. Henderson , Real-Time and Historic Location Surveillance After United States v . Jones: An Administrable, Mildly Mosaic Approach , 103 J. CRIM . L. & CRIMINOLOGY 803 , 805 - 06 ( 2013 ).
5. See, e.g., United States v . Carpenter , 819 F.3d 880 , 884 ( 6th Cir . 2016 ) (noting that the government obtained a CSLI for seven months); United States v . Graham , 796 F.3d 332 , 342 ( 4th Cir . 2015 ) (noting that the government obtained CSLI for 221 days from the defendants' service providers) , rev'd en banc , 824 F.3d 421 ( 4th Cir . 2016 ); United States v . Davis , 785 F.3d 498 , 501 ( 11th Cir . 2015 ) (noting that the government obtained CSLI for sixty-seven days); In re Application of the United States for Historical Cell Site Data, 724 F .3d 600 ( 5th Cir . 2013 ) [hereinafter Historical Cell Site Data Case] (noting that government requested CSLI for a two-month time period).
6. See Graham , 824 F.3d at 424; Carpenter, 819 F.3d at 890; Davis, 785 F.3d at 500; Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d at 615 ; In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d 304 , 313 ( 3d Cir . 2010 ) (holding that while warrantless procurement of CSLI is not a per se violation of the Fourth Amendment, a magistrate has the option to require the government to obtain a warrant in some circumstances).
7. See infra Part II.B-C.
8. See infra Part II .B.
9. See infra Part II.C.
15. Id . at 361 (Harlan, J., concurring).
16. Id .
17. U.S. CONST. amend. IV.
18. See Kentucky v. King , 563 U.S. 452 , 459 ( 2011 ).
19. See Kyllo v. United States , 533 U.S. 27 , 33 ( 2001 ).
20. LAFAVE, supra note 12, § 2 .1( b ), at 582; see Morgan Cloud, Pragmatism, Positivism, and Principles in Fourth Amendment Theory, 41 UCLA L. REV. 199 , 252 ( 1993 ).
21. See Peter Winn , Katz and the Origins of the “Reasonable Expectations of Privacy” Test, 40 MCGEORGE L . REV. 1 , 12 ( 2009 ).
22. See id.; see also Cloud, supra note 20 , at 253 ( explaining that the Katz standard allows judges to determine which privacy expectations are reasonable based on their own ideas).
23. See Winn, supra note 21 , at 12.
24. 425 U.S. 435 ( 1976 ).
25. Id . at 437-38.
26. Id . at 442.
27. Id .
28. Id . at 440.
29. Id .
44. Owsley , supra note 2, at 5.
45. See Shannon Jaeckel, Comment, Cell Phone Location Tracking: Reforming the Standard to Reflect Modern Privacy Expectations , 77 LA. L. REV. 143 , 147 ( 2016 ) ; see also Susan Freiwald, Light in the Darkness: How the LEATPR Standards Guide Legislators in Regulating Law Enforcement Access to Cell Site Location Records , 66 OKLA. L. REV. 875 , 885 ( 2014 ) (discussing location data generated through the use of downloadable applications such as email , Facebook, or Twitter).
46. Owsley , supra note 2, at 5.
47. See Stephanie Lockwood, Who Knows Where You've Been?: Privacy Concerns Regarding the Use of Cellular Phones as Personal Locators, 18 HARV . J.L. & TECH . 307 , 309 ( 2004 ) (noting that once a phone is turned off, it no longer registers with a tower) . But see Freiwald, supra note 1 , at 705 ( suggesting that “further active intervention” may be required to prevent registration).
48. See Stephanie K. Pell & Christopher Soghoian, Can You See Me Now?: Toward Reasonable Standards for Law Enforcement Access to Location Data That Congress Could Enact, 27 BERKELEY TECH . L.J. 117 , 127 ( 2012 ) ; see also United States v . Carpenter , 819 F.3d 880 , 888 ( 6th Cir . 2016 ) (noting that a cell phone user sees her phone's signal strength fluctuate in accordance with the phone's location relative to the nearest tower ).
49. See Lockwood, supra note 47 , at 308.
50. See id. at 308-09.
51. See id. at 309.
52. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 712.
53. Id .
54. See id. at 710.
55. See Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 127; see also David Oscar Markus & Nathan Freed Wessler, That '70s Show: Why the 11th Circuit Was Wrong to Rely on Cases from the 1970s to Decide a Cell-Phone Tracking Case, 70 U . MIAMI L. REV. 1179 , 1183 ( 2016 ).
56. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 710.
57. Id .
58. Id .
59. Id .
60. Id .
61. See Owsley, supra note 2 , at 5.
62. See id.
63. R. Craig Curtis et al., Using Technology the Founders Never Dreamed Of: Phones as Tracking Devices and the Fourth Amendment , 4 U. DENV. CRIM . L. REV. 61 , 63 ( 2014 ).
64. Owsley , supra note 2, at 33.
65. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 705-06.
66. See id.
67. Henderson , supra note 4, at 806.
68. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 63.
69. See id.
70. See id.
71. There is currently a debate over whether historical and prospective CSLI should be subject to the same legal analysis for Fourth Amendment purposes . Compare Curtis et al.,
86. Id . § 2703 (d). But see infra note 191 and accompanying text (discussing the disagreement between the Third and Fifth Circuits over whether the language of § 2703(d) gives a court discretion to issue an order upon the government satisfying this standard).
87. Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d 600 , 606 ( 5th Cir . 2013 ); In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d 304 , 313 ( 3d Cir . 2010 ).
88. Orin S. Kerr , A User's Guide to the Stored Communications Act, and a Legislator's Guide to Amending It, 72 GEO . WASH. L. REV. 1208 , 1219 ( 2004 ) ; see Freiwald , supra note 45 , at 880-81.
89. See , e.g., United States v . Graham , 824 F.3d 421 , 426 ( 4th Cir . 2016 ); United States v . Carpenter , 819 F.3d 880 , 884 ( 6th Cir . 2016 ); United States v . Davis , 785 F.3d 498 , 502 ( 11th Cir . 2015 ); Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d at 602 ; In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d at 305; see also Steven M. Franklin , Comment, Big Brother Is Watching You: Government Surveillance Through Cell-Site Location Information and the Fourth Circuit's Attempt to Stop It, 51 WAKE FOREST L . REV. 493 , 498 ( 2016 ).
90. 460 U.S. 276 ( 1983 ).
91. Id . at 277.
92. Id .
93. Id .
94. Id . at 279.
95. Id . at 285.
96. Id . at 281-82.
97. Id .
126. See United States v. Graham , 824 F.3d 421 , 425 ( 4th Cir . 2016 ).
127. Id . at 427; United States v. Carpenter , 819 F.3d 880 , 888 ( 6th Cir . 2016 ); United States v . Davis , 785 F.3d 498 , 511 ( 11th Cir . 2015 ); Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d at 614- 15 . But see In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F. 3d at 312, 319 (declining to address whether defendants maintained a reasonable expectation of privacy in CSLI, but holding that the government may not always be required to secure a warrant before obtaining it ).
128. See , e.g., Graham, 824 F.3d at 427; Carpenter, 819 F.3d at 889; Davis, 785 F.3d at 511; Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d at 610-14.
129. See , e.g., Carpenter, 819 F.3d at 885-86; Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d at 611-12.
130. 824 F.3d 421 ( 4th Cir . 2016 ).
131. United States v. Graham , 796 F.3d 332 , 341 ( 4th Cir . 2015 ), rev'd en banc , 824 F. 3d 421.
132. Id . at 343.
133. Id . at 342-43.
134. Id . at 342.
135. Id .
169. Id . at 504-05.
170. Id . at 500 , 511 .
171. Id . at 511.
172. Id .
173. Id .
174. Id .
175. Id .
176. See id. at 518 (holding that the government only needed a court order pursuant to § 2703(d)). In addition to the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits, the Fifth Circuit also compared CSLI to a business record and similarly analyzed the information according to Smith and Miller . Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d 600 , 615 ( 5th Cir . 2013 ) (“Cell site data are business records and should be analyzed under that line of Supreme Court precedent .”).
177. 620 F.3d 304 ( 3d Cir . 2010 ).
178. Id . at 305.
179. Id . at 309. Congress defines a “tracking device” as “an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the movement of a person or object .” 18 U.S.C. § 3117 (b) ( 2012 ). However, the SCA excludes communication from “tracking devices” from the types of “electronic communication” obtainable under § 2703(c ). Id. § 2510 ( 12 ) (C).
180. In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d at 308.
181. See id. at 317-18.
182. Id . at 317.
183. Id . at 312 (stating, “ We see no need to decide that issue” in the present case).
184. Id . at 313.
185. Id . at 310.
186. 18 U.S.C. § 2703 (c) ( 2012 ). This section provides that the government may require the provider of an “electronic communication service” to disclose records or other information pertaining to a customer when it is has obtained the consent of the customer, a warrant supported by probable cause, or a court order under § 2703(d). Id. An “electronic communication service” is defined as “any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire . . . communications.” Id. § 2510 ( 15 ) (emphasis added). Finally, a “wire communication” is defined as “any aural transfer made . . . through the use of facilities for the transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable, or other like connection .” Id. § 2510 ( 1 ).
187. In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d at 313.
188. Id . at 319.
189. 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) (emphasis added).
190. In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d at 315.
191. Id . at 316. But see Historical Cell Site Data Case, 724 F.3d 600 , 607 ( 5th Cir . 2013 ) (finding that the Third Circuit's interpretation ignored the use of the word “shall,” which is the language of command directing a court to issue the order upon the proper showing ).
192. In re Elec. Commc'n Serv. to Disclose , 620 F.3d at 319.
193. Id . Perhaps unsurprisingly, as one scholar notes, this instruction has left “magistrate judges largely in the dark about how to proceed .” Freiwald, supra note 45, at 889.
194. See generally Dennis J. Braithwaite & Allison L. Eiselen , Nowhere to Hide? : An Approach to Protecting Reasonable Expectations of Privacy in Cell Phone Location Data Through the Warrant Requirement, 38 AM . J. TRIAL ADVOC . 287 ( 2014 ) ; Patrick E. Corbett, The Fourth Amendment and Cell Site Location Information: What Should We Do While We Wait for the Supremes?, 8 FED . CTS. L. REV. 215 ( 2015 ); Curtis et al., supra note 63; Freiwald, supra note 1; Markus & Wessler, supra note 55; Franklin , supra note 89; Robert Harrington , Note, Avoiding Scylla and Charybdis: Why the Third Party Doctrine Is Ill Suited to Treat CSLI, and What the State Courts Can Do About It, 4 VA . J. CRIM . L. 361 ( 2016 ).
195. See infra notes 199-08 and accompanying text.
196. See infra notes 209-19 and accompanying text.
197. See infra notes 220-28 and accompanying text.
198. See infra notes 229-40 and accompanying text.
199. See , e.g., Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90 ( arguing that a reasonable expectation of privacy in cell phone records is consistent with Fourth Amendment values); Freiwald, supra note 1, at 743-46 (discussing individuals' subjective and objective expectations of privacy in CSLI); Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1204 (contending that “CSLI data . . . violates reasonable expectations of privacy”).
200. Lockwood , supra note 47, at 315.
201. Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1204.
202. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 744.
203. Id . at 743.
204. Id . at 744.
205. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90 (emphasis added).
206. See Lockwood, supra note 47 , at 316.
207. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 745; see Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90.
208. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90.
209. See , e.g., Freiwald, supra note 1 , at 735-38; Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1203; Harrington, supra note 194, at 380-84; see also Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 303-06.
210. See Freiwald, supra note 1 , at 735-38; Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1202-03; Harrington, supra note 194, at 381-88; see also Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 299.
211. Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1203.
212. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 736.
213. Harrington , supra note 194, at 382.
214. Freiwald , supra note 1, at 737; see Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 63 (“ Most people are not aware of just how much data cell phone companies are storing and for how long .”).
215. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90.
216. See Harrington, supra note 194 , at 383-84.
217. See Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1193.
218. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 90.
219. See Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 126; Harrington, supra note 194, at 383.
246. See Orin S. Kerr , An Equilibrium-Adjustment Theory of the Fourth Amendment , 125 HARV. L. REV. 476 , 480 ( 2011 ).
247. See , e.g., Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194 , at 308-14; Corbett, supra note 194, at 228; Harrington, supra note 194, at 394-99.
248. Curtis et al., supra note 63 , at 91 ( noting that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment has more “staying power”); see Markus & Wessler, supra note 55, at 1195 (“ It is becoming increasingly urgent that the [Supreme] Court provide a clear . . . rule governing location data and other sensitive digital records .”).
249. Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 288.
250. Stephen E. Henderson , Learning from All Fifty States: How to Apply the Fourth Amendment and Its State Analogs to Protect Third Party Information from Unreasonable Search , 55 CATH. U. L. REV. 373 , 374 ( 2006 ).
251. Id .
252. Id .; see Corbett, supra note 194 , at 228.
253. State v. Earls , 70 A.3d 630 , 632 (N.J . 2013 ).
254. See , e.g., Commonwealth v . Augustine , 4 N.E.3d 846 , 849 (Mass. 2014 ); Commonwealth v . Rushing , 71 A.3d 939 , 962 - 63 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2013 ), rev'd on other grounds, 99 A.3d 416 (Pa. 2014 ).
255. Braithwaite & Eiselen, supra note 194, at 308.
256. See , e.g., Lockwood, supra note 47 , at 317; Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 180- 81; Rice, supra note 73, at 31-32; see also Corbett, supra note 194 , at 227-28.
257. See , e.g., Corbett, supra note 194 , at 227-28 ( explaining that state legislatures are free to pass laws requiring police to obtain a warrant before procuring CSLI from service providers); Lockwood, supra note 47, at 317 (urging legislators enact specific warrant requirements for cell phone data); Rice, supra note 73, at 31-32 (arguing for federal legislation that “effectively elevate[s] mobile phone CSLI . . . to the probable cause standard” required for a search warrant ).
258. See Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 180-81 (proposing an amendment to the SCA that includes a conjunctive two-prong standard for court orders ).
259. Id . at 180.
260. Id .
261. Id .
262. Id . Absent a court order, the proposal permits a service provider to disclose locational data with the consent of the customer or as otherwise currently provided in 18 U .S.C. § 2702(c)(3)-(6) ( 2012 ). Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48 , at 180.
263. Pell & Soghoian, supra note 48, at 181.
264. See , e.g., Lance H. Selva et al., Rise of the Mosaic Theory: Implications for Cell Site Location Tracking by Law Enforcement, 32 J. MARSHALL J. INFO. TECH. & PRIVACY L. 235 ( 2016 ) ; see also Erin Smith Dennis , Note, A Mosaic Shield : Maynard, the Fourth Amendment, and Privacy Rights in the Digital Age, 33 CARDOZO L . REV. 737 ( 2011 ); Justin P. Webb, Note, Car-ving Out Notions of Privacy: The Impact of GPS Tracking and Why Maynard Is a Move in the Right Direction , 95 MARQ. L. REV. 751 ( 2011 ).
265. Orin S. Kerr , The Mosaic Theory of the Fourth Amendment , 111 MICH. L. REV. 311 , 320 ( 2012 ).
266. Id .