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State Assembly to vote on requiring warrant to track GPS on cell phones

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Unless they get a warrant, police could not use your cell phone's GPS signals to keep track of you, under a bill up for approval Thursday in the state Assembly.

The criminal justice committee in the lower house endorsed the bill on a 9-0 vote earlier this month.

In order to track your phone, law enforcement would have to convince a judge that there's probable cause that a crime has been or will be committed. Officers would also have to show how they could get relevant evidence by tracking a cell phone.

Warrants would not be needed in emergencies where deaths or injuries are at stake -- or efforts to find missing persons.

Assembly Democrat Melissa Sargent of Madison proposed the measure. It was introduced in December, just before USA Today reported that police agencies around the country were snapping up large numbers of cell data from innocent people.

Among other things, the paper said 25 U.S. police agencies have "Stingrays," which are fake cell towers in which police can go into neighborhoods and gather cell data of residents.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)