Federal judge says police need permission for cell phone data

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge says police need a judge's permission, but not a warrant, to get cellphone companies to turn over data showing where a suspect used his cellphone.

The order came down earlier this month from Royce Lamberth, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

A lower court judge had ruled earlier that police needed a warrant before forcing a cellphone carrier to turn over records showing where a bank robbery suspect had used his phone. Cellphone carriers keep records of where cellphones are used by tracking the towers used to transmit signals.

Lamberth ruled that police did not need a warrant. However, he did say police have to explain to a judge why that information is relevant to their investigation.

Published: Tue, Oct 18, 2011