November 21, 2015
The advent of new technology and the heightened use of social media has brought on a new era in criminal justice. Police today are more savvy than ever, using every tool at their disposal to investigate crimes. With this in mind, many have questions about just how far the police can go to make arrests or find information. Can they use Twitter to track a person’s location? The answer depends on a few factors.
Social Media and the Low Expectation of Privacy
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, this has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean that people only have an expectation of privacy in certain settings. For instance, you have more privacy in your home than when you are on a public street. When you choose to use Twitter or any other social media site, you are putting your activities into the public sphere, which lowers your expectation of privacy.
How Public Is Your Twitter Feed?
Check the privacy settings of your Twitter feed. If your feed is public, and you use Twitter to tag your location, then police can absolutely use it to track your whereabouts. Under this scenario, the law would give you very little expectation of privacy, and police would need no warrant or justification for using the information.
What Can the Police Do When Your Twitter Is Not Public?
In some cases, the police or prosecution can subpoena your Twitter records directly from the social media company itself. They can do this if even if your Twitter feed is not open to the public. Twitter’s corporate offices would then choose whether or not they adhere to the subpoena, but many social media companies will do so. Police can even use invasive methods to access your accounts. When they do this, however, they may violate the law, and you may have a legal recourse.
Call the Khonsari Law Group to Protect Your Rights
If you have been accused of a crime, you need qualified legal representation. Contact the Khonsari Law Group today.