John Adams, author of the Massachusetts Constitution, would undoubtedly be delighted. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled last week that warrants are required before police can track people’s locations by their smartphones. It’s a big win for privacy rights and for Article 14 of Adams’s brainchild, which itself served as a model for the US Constitution. Indeed, the court’s logic may bolster privacy rights even further.
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and Massachusetts’ Article 14 contain basically the same idea. Citizens and their property can’t be searched unless police obtain a warrant — something they can only get if they show they have “probable cause” to suspect someone of a crime.