A recent study by USA Today and Gannett found that found 1 in 4 state and local police agencies are using new technologies to tap into cell phone data. At this point, we've not been able to determine that any agencies in Knoxville, Knox County, or Nashville are doing this, but a state lawmaker wants to make sure they don't.
The investigation found at least 25 police agencies use tower dumps, a way for them to get thousands of phone records from cell phone towers near crime scenes.
Police have also used a Stingray, a portable device that fools cell phones into thinking it is a real cell tower.
Both methods help police gather cell phone data without a search warrant and without people ever knowing.
Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers is trying to change that. She announced Monday she will introduce a bill next session that, if passed, will require local and state police to get a search warrant before collecting data.
"There is a way to use it as a crime fighting technique and that's to go to a judge, get a warrant, and use it legally," said Senator Beavers.
She will introduce the bill when the next session begins in January. On the federal level, U.S. Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts has filed a similar bill.
Senator Beavers argues not using a search warrant is a violation of the fourth amendment and Americans' privacy.
A federal judge agreed with that assessment Monday. The judge ruled in Federal court that the NSA's secret spying program is unconstitutional. He said it violates privacy rights.
Despite the ruling, the judge said the government can continue collecting phone data for now. Federal court is waiting for a possible appeal from the government before it bans phone spying.
There is no word on whether the Obama administration plans to seek an appeal.