The proliferation of cell site simulators (aka “Stingrays”), geofence warrants, and other cellphone tracking tools used by law enforcement in Wisconsin and nationwide has triggered constitutional alarm bells for privacy experts. The government knowing where a person’s phone is located — tracking their every move — can reveal highly private and sensitive information.

Under current law, an electronic communication service provider can disclose the location of a person’s cell phone to law enforcement without a warrant under the following circumstances: 

  • The customer or subscriber provides consent;
  • Law enforcement requests the device location if they say it’s needed to respond to a call for emergency services
  • Law enforcement requests the device location because they state it’s necessary to respond to an emergency situation involving the danger of death or serious physical injury 

This bill would require cell phone companies to disclose a person’s cell phone location any time law enforcement requests it under the circumstances above, opening the door to police abuse of emergency requests.

ACLU-WI requested amendments to the bill to ensure there are checks on police access to cell phone location information to comply with the Fourth Amendment.


Representative Joel Kitchens; Senator Jesse James


Signed by governor



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