July 15, 2019 Feature

The Use of Cell Site Simulators Through the Lens of the Fourth Amendment

Michael T. Lynn

Technology advances today at a rate much faster than the slow wheels of justice. By the time newly purchased technology reaches the living room, it might as well have existed in prehistoric times. The Information Age has brought forth a wealth of knowledge that, unlike prior points in history, is available at the consumer’s fingertips. In recent years, we have been seeing the mass accumulation of information by just about every technological company. Whether that be Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, or Twitter, these companies are amassing information known as “big data.” Big data is a term used to describe databases with billions of entries ranging from mundane details such as your favorite color, to information as private as your Social Security number. Where do people in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, most often frequent; what websites do young adults in Chicago, Illinois, commonly browse; what cafés do senior citizens in Austin, Texas, tend to avoid? All of these questions and many more can be answered by a simple query of a Google server. While this is extremely beneficial, to both the consumer and the supplier, there is a grave danger that arises out of this gargantuan practice of gathering data: the encroachment on the privacy rights of the individual.

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