The Supreme Court made it clear in 2018 with its Carpenter decision: gathering historical cell site location info in bulk was impermissible under the Fourth Amendment. If law enforcement wanted to engage in third-party-enabled long term tracking of suspects via this info, it needed to get a warrant first.
That ruling seemed to make everything crystal clear. But it didn’t. Law enforcement sought other ways to obtain this same data without having to run anything by a judge. Central to the Carpenter decision were cell service providers. This was the government approaching these providers to obtain location data dating back to whatever data investigators thought might be useful.
The Carpenter decision rolled back a bit of the Third…