As the New York Times said it best,

“The device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again. It is a tracking device that happens to make calls. Let’s stop calling them phones. They are trackers.”

Mobile technology is becoming a new key tool in crime solving and gathering evidence by law enforcement officials around the globe.  Through use of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram, web access and phone behavior, a specialist with the right tools and training can lay out a pretty comprehensive map of not only where you were at what time, but perhaps even what you were doing at a specific moment.

With the ability for law enforcement officers to gleam this information with relative ease, some worry that perhaps we have finally gone too far in what sort of information is allowed to be collected without a warrant and what sort of information is not.

So the question begs to be raised, have we lost a part of our constitutional rights or is this simply a case of law enforcement technologies catching up to real world technologies?  To get a better picture you might have to think way back to the late 18th century and imagine how our founding fathers would have made sense of the wealth of information social media presents itself with.

It goes without saying that these technologies work.  In fact, they work exceedingly well.  While the official numbers have yet to be released on how many arrests call tracking software has led to we do know that some areas of the US use it in 60 to 70% of their cases.

The real heart of the issue comes down to the magic “W” word.  Much of the information that authorities obtain through these means would have otherwise been unobtainable unless of course they had the all-important warrant.  It is this exact dilemma that the state of Texas finds itself in as two bills are currently making their way through the courts that would require police officers to have a warrant before they are allowed access to any information that would be obtained through these means.

While the public out-cry from such practices has been largely one of criticism, the law enforcement side has been tirelessly advocating call tracking software and says that  needing a court ordered go ahead can often take too much time and successful arrest rates can be lowered  as more time is spent in the bureaucratic side of things.

While right now the discussion sits with the law it’s important to look at the broader implications of what this technology is capable of doing.  The information that we access from our cell phone is immense and put in the rights hands, can be an effective marketing tool, but should there be a line drawn there too?  Should companies be given access to your spending habits?  Amount of money in your bank account?  The last set of bills you paid and what sites you tend to frequent?  While some of this already exists in the form of Google’s AdWord program the future of these technologies sets the scope up to opened much wider.