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WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court has sided with the Justice Department in a public records dispute over cell phone tracking data.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Friday in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The 2-1 opinion says the Justice Department does not need to disclose information about cases in which the government used cell phone tracking data without a warrant, and in which the defendant was then acquitted or had the case dismissed. The court says those defendants are entitled to privacy.

The ACLU asked for the information to see how often warrantless cell phone tracking was done. The court said earlier the government needs to provide such data for cases that ended with a conviction.

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