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New Jersey Appellate Division Holds No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in a Cell Phone Number

Excerpts from State v. DeFranco, A-2054-10:

"While the victim remained with Det. Potter on November 10, the new number, which had an area code different from the -973 area code for towns in Morris County, was tried.  Although at first the call went to voice mail, on a second try, the call was answered by defendant, who exhibited no surprise that the victim
had defendant's number and never indicated that the number, which belonged to defendant's cell phone, was in any respect private.

"We perceive a significant difference between the "generated information" afforded protection by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its privacy decisions and the "assigned information" that defendant seeks to protect in this case.  The ISP records, the long-distance billing information, the banking records, and the
utility usage records of Reid, Hunt, McAllister, and Domicz, respectively, constituted the keys to the details of the lives of those to which the seemingly innocuous initial information pertained.  While in some circumstances, knowledge of a telephone number might be equally revelatory, here it was not.  The number was simply a number.  In the circumstances of this case, we do not find that defendant's professed subjective expectation of privacy is one that society would be willing to recognize as reasonable."

Full decision below.