Gonzales says government can collect domestic phone records without warrant Joe Shaulis at 10:02 AM ET
[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] has said the government does not need court approval to obtain domestic telephone records because they are not protected by the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment [text] according to the Supreme Court's 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland [opinion text]. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Gonzales said that under Smith v. Maryland there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in such records. In the 1979 case, the court held that the government did not need to secure a search warrant before installing a device at a phone company's central office to collect numbers dialed by a customer. Because the customer was transmitting the numbers to the phone company, the court reasoned, he could not have considered the information private, and therefore it was not protected by the Fourth Amendment.
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