The Jonas Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
Lincolnton: 704.666.1210
Denver: 704.483.2016

Cellphone location data reports aren't always accurate

Some criminal cases drill down to being able to prove where you were at the time of the crime. Police officers sometimes rely on the location data from cellphones, but a fairly recent study shows that this data might not be an accurate representation of where you were.

When it comes to cell-site location information, which is the pings from cellphone towers, police officers don't have free range over the information like they once had. The Supreme Court ruled that they now need a warrant to obtain the reports. Even if they get them, you might be able to dispute the data in court.

Some cellphone service providers use software that translates that data from the towers into reports that can be used in court. The software is still fairly new, so it contains some glitches. There is a chance that the information the police receive is completely inaccurate.

It is possible that some data might be omitted when the report is translating from the raw data. This would only register some activity, which could mean that a portion of your whereabouts are left out. It is also possible that towers might be misidentified, which could lead to incorrect locations being included in the report.

One industry expert notes that these perceived glitches aren't problems for the cellphone service companies. They are only trying to make communication easier for subscribers. The programs aren't meant to be surveillance for criminal evidence.

Taking the time to scrutinize evidence in your case might result in you finding defense options you weren't previously aware of. You might be able to use the case of misconstrued cellphone data as one component of your defense.

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