Verizon Wants SCOTUS To Help It Resist User Data Requests

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The largest wireless carrier in the country and a number of Silicon Valley giants recently penned a letter to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to ask for more help from the highest judicial body in the U.S. in regards to resisting government requests for user data. The comprehensive document that spans 44 pages was submitted to the SCOTUS on Monday, with the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Verizon Communications asking the court to acknowledge the fact that consumers now require stronger privacy protections than they needed in the past due to the fact that contemporary digital services and Internet-enabled products collect more data which the government can subsequently try to obtain using a number of means.

The request is largely focused on smartphone data of individuals, including location information and anything else that could be considered private, with the U.S. tech giants arguing that users trust their products and services with sensitive data yet they are often legally compelled to betray that trust. The brief itself primarily seeks to outline the issue of data requests that aren't backed with a warrant with the likely goal of convincing the SCOTUS to set a precedent in regards to limiting such means of information gathering. The appeal comes shortly after the SCOTUS agreed to rule on a polarizing privacy case from Michigan where one Timothy Carpenter was convicted of a number of armed robberies based on his cellphone location data which his legal representatives believe was obtained in an illegal manner. The judicial body's ruling on the matter will set a major precedent in the country in regards to how authorities obtain user data from mobile service providers and has hence been highly politicized in recent times and will likely continue being debated in the coming months as the SCOTUS is only scheduled to hear it during its next session that runs from October to June 2018.

The bulk of the issue pertains to probable cause that privacy advocates claim authorities need to request user data from wireless carriers and tech companies so as to avoid unreasonable searches which violate the Constitution. The parties that signed the document argued that just because an individual makes a choice to use some technology, they shouldn't automatically yield all rights to their privacy, though the SCOTUS has yet to respond to the brief in any capacity.

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