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Pennsylvania court rules Commonwealth can use warrantless WiFi connection data – JURIST – News

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Commonwealth on Wednesday, allowing Pennsylvania to use WiFi credentials police obtained without a warrant to locate the accused during a campus robbery at Moravian College.

In Commonwealth v. Dunkins, before accessing Moravian College’s Wi-Fi network, defendant Dunkins had to sign the college’s IT resource policy. This policy stated that “users cannot and must not have any expectation of confidentiality with regard to data, documents, electronic messages or other computer files created or stored on computers within or connected to the network of the institution”.

The defense compared the facts of Dunkins to those of Carpenter v. United States. The United States Supreme Court then ruled that under the Fourth Amendment, police must have a warrant in order to obtain information on the location of cell sites from the databases of wireless operators.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has distinguished Carpenter of Dunkins. The court found that in the Dunkins case, collecting information about the WiFi connection was more akin to a tower dump than collecting information about the location of the cell site over a period of time. prolonged. The Supreme Court explicitly refused to express a position that during Carpenter.

For this reason, the court ruled that the Commonwealth could use the WiFi connection data without a warrant.


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