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By Benjamin Holt, Legal Fellow, ACLU-NC Legal Foundation

Yesterday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals heard arguments in Perry v. State of North Carolina, a case that asks whether the government should be allowed to track your location in real time using your cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. 

As we’ve discussed previously, real time cell phone tracking reveals private, invasive, and increasingly precise information about your location and movements. Whenever your phone is turned on—even if you enable its location privacy settings—your cell phone service provider is able to determine with increasing accuracy where your cell phone is located.

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina delivered tens of thousands of signatures today to the Raleigh office of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis calling for an end to Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

More than 60,000 Americans have signed the American Civil Liberties Union’s petition—including 1,211 North Carolina residents. These petitions are being delivered to every member of the U.S. Senate on Friday, May 29, in advance of the chamber’s special session on the issue on Sunday, May 31. The petition is the latest sign that the American public believes government surveillance has gone too far.

Polling released this month, conducted by a bipartisan pair of research firms, has found decisive support among voters for meaningful and comprehensive reform to the U.S. government’s surveillance practices. The polling, which included a nationwide survey as well as polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, found approximately two thirds of Americans, including nearly two thirds of North Carolinians, believe the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form. This is true of men and women of all ages and – most importantly – across the political spectrum from liberal to conservative. 

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union released the results of a poll today showing decisive support among North Carolina voters for substantive reform to the U.S. government’s surveillance practices. The survey, conducted jointly by a bipartisan pair of research firms, found nearly two-thirds of respondents in North Carolina believe that the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form. 

This support for reform remains constant regardless of party affiliation, age, or gender. Millennials and independents, in particular, favor reining in the government’s authority to surveil American citizens. The poll also found four in five North Carolina voters are concerned that the government is storing American’s personal information.

There was considerable consensus around several arguments in favor of strengthening Americans’ privacy rights. Eighty-three percent of respondents found it persuasive that the local police and the FBI should have a get a warrant in order to search phone and email records. Similarly, 80 percent believed that the government’s current ability to access personal conversations was a reason to implement reform. In addition, 73 percent favored protecting communication between pastors and their congregants from government surveillance.

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By Mike Meno, ACLU of North Carolina Communications Director

Real time cell phone tracking reveals private, invasive, and increasingly precise information about our locations and movements. Whenever your phone is turned on—even if you enable its location privacy settings—your cell phone service provider is able to determine with increasing accuracy where your cell phone is located. For many of us who carry our phones throughout the day and sleep with them nearby, that also means that our cell phones can reveal where we are virtually all the time.

And what the cell phone company can learn, police can find out too. In a brief filed yesterday in a North Carolina case, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation argue that any time police seek to use cell phone location data, they should first obtain a warrant showing probable cause.

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