MEXICO CITY – Mexican prosecutors can order cellphone companies to provide tracking data on suspects without a warrant, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The judges voted 8-3 in favor of permitting warrantless real-time tracking of suspects’ movements in cases involving serious offenses such as kidnapping and murder.
Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission asked the high court to declared the practice unconstitutional.
With its approval, the high court ordered prosecutor’s offices to place a record of its requests for tracking data in the investigation file and file its requests only in cases of the utmost urgency.
The suspicion of the measure comes from the rights commission but also from civil organizations and other social sectors who fear abuse of power by the authorities and the possible violation of the right to privacy of millions of Mexicans.
According to the commission, during 2011 there were 6,700 blackmail attempts every 24 hours.
“Thirty-one percent of the people involved paid the extortion, since the threats of alleged Zetas and La Familia Michoacana (both drug cartels) were those that had the greatest impact and, therefore, those that produce the most income for the criminals,” it said.