Federal lawsuit filed in response to new Missouri cellphone tracking law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A federal lawsuit is seeking to strike down a new Missouri law making it easier for police to track people's cellphone signals during emergencies.

The cellphone tracking measure is one of many Missouri laws that took effect Tuesday.

A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of Bolivar resident Mary Hopwood claims the Missouri law conflicts with a federal law governing the information that phone companies can share with law enforcement agencies.

Specifically, the suit claims the Missouri law takes away a phone company's discretion in providing cellphone information to police, and prevents customers from suing companies for releasing the information without good reason.

"Missouri's cellular location disclosure law is not Kelsey's law, which was passed in Kansas,'' said Nathan Duncan, Senior Associate, Douglas, Haun & Heidemann, P.C, in a statement about the suit.

"Missouri took its own route and failed to follow federal laws regulating how cellular location data is disclosed and when a citizen can sue a wireless provider for a bad faith disclosure,''  according to the statement. "Our client has asked the court to resolve the conflict between Missouri law and federal law. "

Missouri House member Jeanie Lauer, who sponsored the law, said she believed it was appropriate based on legal reviews during the legislative session.

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