Press Releases

Statement on New U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Digital Privacy

Salt Lake City, UT (June 22, 2018) — In a major court case dealing with privacy and cell phone surveillance, the U.S. Supreme Court today overturned the government’s collection of these records without a warrant, holding that “the fact that the information is held by a third party does not by itself overcome the user’s claim to Fourth Amendment protection.”

The following statement was subsequently issued by Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute:

“Today’s announcement is a victory for digital privacy and those of us concerned about the government having easy access to sensitive information about our location, thoughts, and activities.

“Four years ago, on our recommendation the Legislature enacted robust protections of our data on our digital devices, ensuring that a warrant is needed to access this information. But the bill did not address data held by a third party, so today’s court ruling is welcome and significant.

“If the government wants to access sensitive information about us, the very least they should have to do is persuade a judge that it’s necessary. While we applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in the Carpenter case, we look forward to greater protections of our privacy in the near future.”

Libertas Institute is working with legislators to develop a model law on the issue of digital privacy and the ability of government to obtain information about a person held by a “third party” — for example, a cell phone company or internet service provider. It is anticipated that the legislation will be introduced in the next legislative session.