reply to Mr Matt
Re: Location tracking was not to save accident victims! Isn't location tracking part of the system's design? Doesn't the cell system have to know WHERE a phone is in order to route a call to it? If so, it's kind of necessary for the cell system to REMEMBER where the phone is. Even if the phone stops communicating, the system is still going to have to REMEMBER where it last "heard" the phone "ping" it. At a minimum, if the cell phone is on and ready to receive a call, your general location is known (by general, at least the zip code).
I have no doubt that it's much more specific than this because in many areas, multiple towers allow trigonometry to provide a much more precise location of the phone -- especially if it's moving.
I thought another requirement of the cell system is ranging. That is, it's important for the system to know how far away the cell phone is so that it can precisely time when the phone is free to transmit and not collide with other transmitters.
IMO -- the mechanics of the system sort of point to the fact that a fairly specific location can be determined. Certainly specific enough to warrant interest by those who find value in knowing where folks are -- especially folks who may appear to be involved in suspicious activities.
Still doesn't give them any right to access the information without following a good set of rules and demonstrating sufficient justification to support those suspicions.