Justices ponder need for warrant for cellphone tower data

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is taking up a case about privacy in the digital age that tests whether police need a warrant to examine cellphone tower records. Such records can reveal a lot about where someone has been.

The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday in an appeal by federal prison inmate Timothy Carpenter. He is serving a 116-year sentence after a jury convicted him of armed robberies in the Detroit area and northwestern Ohio.

Investigators helped build their case by matching Carpenter’s use of his smartphone to cell towers near stores that had been robbed.

Police look at this information in thousands of investigations a year. Activists, media organizations and technology experts are among those arguing that it’s too easy for authorities to learn revealing details of Americans’ lives.

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