By
updated 2/12/2010 1:34:25 PM ET 2010-02-12T18:34:25

Should the government be able to track your movements based on cell phone records, without evidence of criminal wrongdoing?

A legal showdown on the closely watched issue unfolded Friday in a federal appeals court in Philadelphia, as the Justice Department battled electronic privacy groups.

The Justice Department wants to get the cell-phone location information without showing probable cause of a crime. Opponents say the data could show when someone visits a church, medical clinic or political rally.

Appellate Judge Dolores Sloviter wondered aloud what a rogue government might do with such information.

The appeal stems from a Pittsburgh drug-trafficking case. The judges did not indicate when they would rule.

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