Court case could affect your digital privacy

By | December 1, 2017

A case pending before the Supreme Court could affect all Americans’ digital privacy for decades to come, according to H.V. Jagadish, professor of electrical engineering and computer science. The case involves the appeal of man whose conviction for armed robbery was based, in part, on location data provided without a warrant to the F.B.I. by his cellphone provider. Jagadish, whose work involves the ethics of data science, warns that the outdated 1986 law that governs phone wiretapping leaves today’s cellphone users exposed to potential privacy abuses. “Back then, the information a phone user revealed to a phone company was very limited. Today, people disclose their location all the time, for routine, law-abiding activities, by carrying around cellphones,” he writes. “The more people rely on external devices whose basic functions record and transmit important data about their lives, the more critical it becomes for everyone to have real protection for their private data stored on and communicated by these devices.”