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Police Secretly Planting GPS Devices On Cars 609

Posted by samzenpus
from the spiderman-does-it-all-the-time dept.
bfwebster writes "The Washington Post has a long investigative article on how more and more police departments are secretly planting GPS tracking devices on the cars of people they are investigating — usually without a warrant. After-the-fact court challenges on this technique have largely upheld such use of a GPS device, though the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that a warrant is required."
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Police Secretly Planting GPS Devices On Cars

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  • Do the police... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ForestGrump (644805) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:19PM (#24591869) Homepage Journal

    Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day? If yes then I believe this should require a warrant. Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

    Grump

    • Re:Do the police... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:24PM (#24591935)

      Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day? If yes then I believe this should require a warrant. Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      Grump

      Let's try a better analogy:

      Do the police need a warrant to overhear my conversations while I'm on my cell phone in a public place? No, but they are legally required to have one if they're going to bug my phone.

    • by Vellmont (569020) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:26PM (#24591965)


      Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      Good argument. Then you'd also agree that I can put a GPS on anyones car without permission, including the police, elected officials, or you?

    • Re:Do the police... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jgarra23 (1109651) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:29PM (#24592003)


      Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day? If yes then I believe this should require a warrant. Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      The problem is twofold:

      1. If they damage your car, that is vandalism/destruction of private property.

      2. If they find some sort of incriminating evidence and are on private property without a warrant then that evidence is inadmissible in court.

      Therefore it's prudent and not trespassing when they do this. Until then, those pricks in the van otside can waste all the gas they want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985)

      As long as said police follow you around on public property only, they are well within their rights to do so, since they don't have to trespass on your property or violate your privacy to do it. But the moment you walk onto or into a privately-owned property, they need a warrant. Your driveway and garage can be considered considered as private property, for instance. Your car itself is private property, and requires (or should require) a warrant before the police can do anything on it, to it, or with it phy

    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:45PM (#24592203) Homepage Journal

      "Quantity has a quality all its own".

      It would take 5 officers to tail someone 24/7. That is enough to stop almost all frivolous or abusive tracking. Without that deterrent, the only thing that could block abuse would be judicial oversight.

    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:48PM (#24592235)

      An easy way to answer your question, and countless others like it:

      "What would happen to me, as a private citizen, if I did this to a cop?"

      If the answer is "Nothing," then it's probably a reasonable thing for the cops to do to you. If the answer is "Waal, I believe that there'd be a tasin', boy," then it is not.

      So, you tell me. What do you think would happen if you were caught placing tracking devices on police cars?

      And as for the courts permitting this kind of crap to occur: remember the most important lesson of the Gulag Archipelago. The judicial system is your last defense. When they fail to protect your rights, the time for peaceful reckoning is past.

    • Re:Do the police... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:48PM (#24592243)

      Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day?

      No.

      If yes then I believe this should require a warrant.

      But its no.

      Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      Good point. I wonder if the police would object if I went up to their patrol cars, ghost cars, and other vehicles and slapped my own gps transmitters on them, and then published their whearabouts in realtime on google maps. I mean, I could do all this legally if I just had a bunch of people follow their cars around all day and post their whearabouts, right?

      So whats the diff except that it costs much less and is more discrete?

      Yet, something tells me the police would object strenuously to this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by slashtivus (1162793)
        My apologies for a random response. This looks as good of a place as any to reply to :) What happens if I find the GPS device, toss it in to a random street gutter? Am I liable for the device now? Do I go to court? Can they prove it? Am I now guilty of interfering with a police investigation? Do I have to pay for the (probably expensive) device? I don't have a problem if they have a warrant. I don't have a problem with wire-tapping with a warrant. This seems to go a little over-board. Cheers.
      • Are you kidding me? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @02:45AM (#24595537) Journal
        You are not the police. Are you allowed to put a blue light on your car? No. Are you allowed to stop other drivers on the road? No. Are you allowed to carry a gun? No. (well that may be different for US citizens)Are you allowed to write tickets? No.

        Cops ain't citizens, what makes people think the two should be equal in what they can do?

        Think about, doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs to citizens, should citizens be allowed to prescribe drugs to doctors?

        Surgeons are allowed to cut open citizens, should citizens be allowed to cut open surgeons?

        Lawyers are allowed to legal advice to citizens, should citizens be allowed to give legal advice to lawyers?

        We have all kinds of rules that say people in proffesion X can do things that people not in the job can do not. Hell, a postman can open mailboxes and even open mail. Good luck doing that as a private citizen. Do you know that there are laws against who can put items in your mailbox?

        For that matter, even simpler things like exceptions to wearing a seatbelt exist for people who got to get in and out of cars a lot. WE ARE NOT ALL EQUAL!

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:49PM (#24592263) Homepage Journal

      Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day? If yes then I believe this should require a warrant. Else, what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      No, they don't need a warrant to tail you, your whereabouts in public places isn't considered a search, but public information. However...

      The Sixth Circuit held [wislawjournal.com] in the Baily case, of attaching a beeper (rather than GPS, c.1980), that merely analogizing with tailing isn't sufficient to decide the issue, it's one of reasonable expectation of privacy.

      The judge in the 7th circuit Garcia case wrote :

      One can imagine the police affixing GPS tracking devices to thousands of cars at random, recovering the devices, and using digital search techniques to identify suspicious driving patterns. One can even imagine a law requiring all new cars to come equipped with the device so that the government can keep track of all vehicular movement in the United States.

      Personally, I read that as a warning, not a suggestion, but it's what he feels the law allows for. I'm slowly being persuaded by Moore's Law that perhaps a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the right to privacy (which many of us feels already exists in the 4th amendment) would be an OK thing. Now, to get Congress to pass that (ha!).

      Bruce Schneier argues [schneier.com] for the requirements of warrants for these kinds of tracking, to prevent rampant growth and abuse of the police state.

      Fortunately for the police state, citizens are voluntarily loading up their cars with tracking devices (EZ Pass, Tire Pressure Monitors, OnStar), so they don't have to even bother installing a GPS device in some cases. Sure, everybody knows that cell phones can be tracked, but how many people know that federally-mandated tire pressure monitoring systems send out a unique 'MAC' for every wheel?

      What's gotten people burned in several cases I've read about is that they were driving vehicles they didn't own, and the courts make a distinction there. Does the car you regularly drive have your name on the title or your wife's? That's exactly what got one guy's 4th amendment defense thrown out - his wife 'owned' the car he used, so they weren't tracking his property and he didn't have standing.

    • Re:Do the police... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:58PM (#24592353) Homepage

      Do the police require a warrant if they want to follow me around for the day?

      If they do it for very long I'm betting you'd have a harassment case.

      what's the diff except it costs much less and is more discrete.

      Well, at the risk of repeating you, it costs less, which means there is no natural inhibition to them doing it on a large scale, and it's more discrete, which means the public is unable to connect with it as an issue for discussion.

      The cost / large scale surveillance issue is ultimately an extension of reasonable expectation of privacy. While a person does not have a reasonable expectation to never be seen when out driving around, they do (at least IMO) have a reasonable expectation to not have their entire route history recorded.

      The public awareness issue is a simple matter of who is watching the watchers. The public should know how many of these things are in use and (after a blackout period to allow temporary covert surveillance) who they are being used on. The reason is accountability; if the people decide they don't want this, their wishes must be obeyed. But the people cannot express an informed opinion about that which they cannot see.

      A black & white following a car around is a public statement, "We are watching you." A GPS device with no warrant is also a statement, "We don't want you to know how much we're watching you." I don't trust a "Democracy" that doesn't want me to know what it is doing (after a reasonable black-op period of course, maybe maxing out at something like a year or two) in my name.

      "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted." - James Madison

      I figure Madison was a pretty sharp guy, and he spent literally years discussing and forming his concepts with other heroes of our history. You can study the causes for his views in such pieces as Common Sense and The Federalist Papers, or you can just respect his credentials. But if you haven't spent a few years studying the topic, you should beware that the risks he wanted to avoid are not just hypothetical.

    • Re:Do the police... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:06PM (#24592443) Homepage Journal

      They don't need a warrant.

      Essentially, the police can make any observations they want, provided they do it from a vantage point they have a right to be. They can, for example, make aerial observations of your home provided they don't fly lower than is normal or prudent.

      A cop can watch you walk across a public square. He can even note this down if he wants to. Technology adds the wrinkle that he doesn't necessarily have to be in the square to do this. He can use surveillance cameras. Or a computer with face recognition software.

      This is a bug in the Bill of Rights. It was hacked together all too hastily, therefore it isn't very good about laying out actual rights. It's more focused on curbing specific abuses. Well times change, and technology changes, and with it the kinds of abuses that are possible.

      The law as we inherited it from our forbears assumes that surveillance is too costly to employ frivolously, and that therefore the government has a strong disincentive to use it; and if it is used there is an assumption the government has a strong incentive to stop. And this was true for a long time. As a consequence, suspicion is viewed from a legal standpoint as something more benign than it really is. Suspicion leads to investigation which either leads to exoneration or an indictment. Failing either of these results probably meant that there just wasn't enough investigation possible given the resources and time available.

      Anyhow, that's how you can fall onto a terrorist watch list and the onus is on you to get yourself off and if the system keeps dropping you on it, tough luck for you. The possibility of cheap, automated suspicion is something that would never have occurred to the founders.

      The new frontier of tyranny is the use of widespread, unpredictable surveillance, not for gathering information, but for exerting social control. The Chinese are masters of this. Under this form of tyranny, you end up internalizing whatever rules the masters want.

      There is nothing specific in the Constitution that keeps the government from using technology to watch, catalog and cross reference every movement of every member of the population, provided that the information is obtained legally. Legally would include any observations they make from a public place, or can buy from a private source. And since surveillance is clearly one of the things the government is empowered to do, and such uses of surveillance aren't expressly forbidden, there is a school of Constitutional thought that says this is allowable.

      Fortunately, this kind of literalist reading of the Constitution is not yet the prevailing one.

      With respect to the GPS on the car -- that could be an interesting Constitutional case, although not one I'd like to see before this court. But then, you never know. It reminds me of a case a few years back in which the police used thermal imaging of a suspect's home walls as probable cause to support a (successful) search for a marijuana garden. The arguments were all over the place as you might imagine, but Scalia, if I recall, was one of those who thought this was probably not allowable.

    • by symbolset (646467)
      More and more jurisdictions are requiring gps and monitoring equipment in autos for road tax and toll collection purposes. Surely they have no desire to use this data to track the movements of every citizen. That would be Orwellian. Besides, if you're doing nothing wrong you have nothing to hide, right?
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:21PM (#24591907)

    If they attach it to my car without my permission, doesn't it become MINE to do whatever I want with? Seriously, how many of these do they really expect to recover and download data from? Plus, doesn't it become "theft of services" the minute they hook it up to my car's electrical system?

    • Re:Yes, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:26PM (#24591963)

      If they attach it to my car without my permission, doesn't it become MINE to do whatever I want with?

      Good question. I'd think you could take it off and toss it in a dumpster if you found it.

      Seriously, how many of these do they really expect to recover and download data from? Plus, doesn't it become "theft of services" the minute they hook it up to my car's electrical system?

      I doubt they wire it in. Its probably just battery operated and attached magnetically, probably lasts 5-10 days, before they go pick it up/swap it out.

      • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:39PM (#24592137) Journal

        I'd think you could take it off and toss it in a dumpster if you found it.

        Wouldn't it be more fun to attach it to a random taxicab instead? If you really want to screw with someone, you could always go to a gas station near a freeway, look for someone towing a boat and obviously on their way to some vacation hotspot, and then attach the device to the boat when its owner isn't looking...

        /P

    • by Bovius (1243040)

      It seems like it would belong to you at that point, but I doubt that would hold up in court; if you did anything with it, an accusation of impeding a police investigation would probably trump your claim of ownership. Then again, doing anything other than what a police officer arbitrarily wants you to do could be construed as impeding an investigation.

      • Re:Yes, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:55PM (#24592915)

        One phrase: Plausible Deniability

        Police: "Did you put the GPS tracker we put on your car on the cross country bus?"

        You: "GPS tracker? What's that? I saw something stuck to my car, but I thought it was someone's "hide a key," so I took it off and put it on the curb so the person who owns it could come find it." Like I said, I didn't know what it was and I didn't put it there, so I took it off. It wasn't mine. I don't know what happened to it.

        In short, they may put it on my car, but I am under moral or legal obligation to practice "ordinary care." I can't take it and sell it as if it belongs to me, but I certainly don't have to protect it in any way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgarra23 (1109651)

      Toss it on the roof of a Penske truck or something! They'll be following it all over the country!

      I fucking hate cops. They all believe that if you're in jail that you're guilty, they're only interested in processing cases not justice, and a good majority of cops are just psycho-bullies from grade school who want to shoot a gun.

      Mod me down if you want, you'll think differently when you're at the shit end of their crooked stick.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuantumRiff (120817)

        There are two kinds of cops in the world...

        There are the kind that are natural leaders, commanding in their presence, and like to help people out.

        And there are the ones that were the kids that got picked on in school, that nobody liked or paid attention to, and now its their turn to be asses back to everyone that wronged them.

        Unfortunately, the second kind leave a lasting impression.. (kinda like that old saying, give good customer service, the customer will tell a friend, give bad customer service, they'l

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:22PM (#24591917)

    I don't see the problem.

  • Scarier still... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nebaz (453974) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:23PM (#24591927)

    If you RTFA, you'll see a poll asking if people approve this tactic. As of right now, 55% do.

  • by resistant (221968) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:29PM (#24592001) Homepage Journal

    It is to be wondered how the cops would react if a citizen group began to secretly bug cop cars with GPS devices and tiny cameras intended to capture what they do to people in remote or isolated areas or late at night when the cops think no one can or is likely to see them.

  • free directions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markybob (802458) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:37PM (#24592111)
    i bet most people wouldnt care if the gps gave them free directions. free gps for everyone!
  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:50PM (#24592277)

    It is quite clear that this tracking indeed is search for which a warrant is required under the constitution. This is a type search which was not envisioned at the time the founders wrote the constitution and far more more dangerous and frightening than they likely imagined. They are spinning in their graves for certain. We are seeing grave risks to the very threat to our freedom by tyranny, worse than what the founders of the US had feared. The way everything people can do can be monitored tracked and then data mined would have shocked and deeply disturbed them if they were alive to see this. We should be very concerned about these dangerous trends.

  • by OakLEE (91103) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:09PM (#24592471)

    Alright, having just written a legal brief on the subject, I'll explain the legal rationale behind these rulings so that we can actually have an intelligent debate on this subject.

    The Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, only applies when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the item or information searched or seized.

    Here, the information about the person's location is what is being "seized." Thus, the way the debate is framed centers around the question: Does a person have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their location?

    Now, the law is pretty clear in some respects. For example, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your home. Thus, the Fourth Amendment applies, and police need a warrant to track your movements in your home.

    On the other hand, you have no expectation of privacy when you travel out in public. This is rather obvious because when you travel in public, everyone around you can see you and knows where you are. Thus, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and it has been long established law that police can conduct surveillance on anyone in a public area without a warrant. (Note: This is the same basic rationale by which placing cameras on street corners does not violate the Fourth Amendment.)

    The Supreme Court has further extended this rationale to apply to electronic tracking devices (e.g., GPS, Triangulation Beacons) used for tracking people in public. The rationale is that as long as the subject is in public, he has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his location.

    Thus, the Fourth Amendment does not apply and you have no constitutional protection against police attaching a GPS device to your car. Police can track your car with a GPS locator, provided they break no laws with respect to installing the locator (A non-constitutional issue).

    That said, the Supreme Court has left the door open to regulating this type of behavior by police. The majority opinion in U.S. v. Knotts left open the possibility of using "different constitutional principles" to regulate police use of tracking devices if "dragnet type law enforcement practices" developed. Dragnet in this context refers to systematic and coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects.

    Thus, presumably one could argue that if the police started using GPS devices in our cell phones to track everyone in a systematic manner, another constitutional principle, like for example the right of privacy, could be applied to find a constitutional ground to prevent it. Whether the Supreme Court chooses to use the dicta in Knotts is of course up to it.

    Anyway, that's it, have fun debating.

    • by Willbur (196916) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:01PM (#24592977) Homepage

      There are a few interesting points in your post: It all hinges on the "reasonable expectation of privacy".

      If I'm walking down a public road, and I look around and don't see anyone nearby, do I have a "reasonable expectation of privacy"?

      Is there legal distinction between short term privacy and long term privacy? e.g. Is my expectation that people will not follow me around for any significant period of time "reasonable" under the US constitution?

      If a police officer is patrolling in a marked police car, do they have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" or would it be ok to tag that police car with a GPS tracker and display the location real time in a Google Maps mashup? Is there some other law that would prevent this apart from the constitution?

      If the above is ok, what about if the police office is parked behind some bushes/a billboard in a "Dukes of Hazard" style speed trap. Does that officer have a "reasonable expectation of privacy"?

      What about if said officer is patrolling in an unmarked car (but one which was ID'd as a police car earlier), do they now have a "reasonable expectation of privacy"?

      I'm guessing that most of these questions haven't been answered by US courts. I'd be particularly interested if there is a distinction between the expectation of privacy for police officers and the expectation of privacy for the general public.

      • by OakLEE (91103) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:38PM (#24593879)

        If a police officer is patrolling in a marked police car, do they have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" or would it be ok to tag that police car with a GPS tracker and display the location real time in a Google Maps mashup? Is there some other law that would prevent this apart from the constitution?

        If the above is ok, what about if the police office is parked behind some bushes/a billboard in a "Dukes of Hazard" style speed trap. Does that officer have a "reasonable expectation of privacy"?

        What about if said officer is patrolling in an unmarked car (but one which was ID'd as a police car earlier), do they now have a "reasonable expectation of privacy"?

        Well the Fourth Amendment only applies to the actions of the States and the Federal Government (i.e., federal and local governments plus their agents), so all of these questions are irrelevant.

        The whole point of the Fourth Amendment is to govern when the government needs a warrant to search or seize something. If it's just an individual citizen acting in this manner, there is no Fourth Amendment issue.

        I'm not going to speculate on your other questions because they are a little more complicated and frankly I don't have the time to analyze them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      On the other hand, you have no expectation of privacy when you travel out in public.

      That's a vast over simplification, particularly due to your leaving out the word "reasonable." The courts have ruled that public phones can not be wiretapped without a warrant. Clearly your assertion is in conflict with that ruling.

      Similarly, 10 years ago it was impossible to put a gps-tracker on a car in this manner. Why should the advances of technology suddenly make what was impossible now 'reasonable' without any significant review - either judicial or through legislation?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by OakLEE (91103)

        It's not my assertion, read United States v. Knotts [findlaw.com]. The Supreme Court specifically distinguishes traveling in public from wiretapping a public phone. Plus, there's a lot of federal wiretapping law unrelated to the Fourth Amendment, so wiretapping phones is more complicated, with more issues.

        As for the evolution of technology and reasonable expecations of privacy, read Kyllo v. United States [cornell.edu].

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:13PM (#24592511) Homepage

    hehehe - here's a thought; I'm guessing I'm not the only circuit hacker here. I figure with $50 worth of parts from Mouser I can make one of these that will store to an SD card. If you have a cop that stops at the local coffee shop regularly, and drives the same car, stick on on his car and pick it up a couple days later. It's no different than trailing the officer around all day, after all.

    Who's with me?

    OK, now here's the real question; if we are afraid to track the government - even just the local public enforcement officials - at the same level as they are tracking us, do we not have a very serious problem?

    "Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!" -Thomas Jefferson

    Jefferson spent years contemplating these issues, and debating them with many of the period's other great minds. Have you spent enough time researching it to disagree? If not, you should not blindly accept his statement - but you should spend the time studying. This great experiment is worth it. See Common Sense and The Federalist Papers if you need a starting point.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:41PM (#24592775)

    Before the patriot act, electronic surveillance of a US Person required evidence and congressional oversight due to the importance of the constitution and our bill of rights. These procedures have never been a speedbump to a legitimate investigation.

    We are more and more becoming a police state. Wake up people. This is not how an honest government treats its citizens. The word 'warrant' has a definition; a definition that suggests there is legitimate REASON behind a 'warranted' invasion of a citizen's privacy.

    No warrant = no reason.

  • New Zealand too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Repton (60818) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:59PM (#24592955) Homepage

    This happened in New Zealand a little while ago.

    A guy found some police tracking devices on his car, ripped them off, and listed them on TradeMe [slashdot.org] (the local eBay replacement).

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:08PM (#24593065)

    I was talking to a guy who works at the local university's outdoor program centre. They rent all sorts of camping and sports gear, including handheld GPSs. Apparently a guy came in one day and was interested in renting one. He asked how rugged they were: for instance, suppose it were to be attached to the bumper of my wife's car. Would that be likely to damage it?

  • Couple this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Datamonstar (845886) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:44PM (#24593369)
    with what's happening in Arkansas. No, not the assassination of that congressman, but rather what's happened in the small town of West Helena, Arkansas.

    They have a crime problem there and the government imposed a "curfew" that eventually ended up becoming what is practically all out martial law [youtube.com]. It started out as a teen curfew and now people are reporting that they're being told to not come out of their houses by the police. They're not simply advising it, but ordering it by punishment of law. Enforcing it via men with guns. Now with the ability to know where you go and what you do there is absolutely nothing stopping a situation where an entire population is under constant monitor.

    It's beginning. No, scratch that, it's began. I wouldn't be surprised if a full force take over of the government occurred before the next president is sworn in. Before the end of the year, even. Normally, I'd question myself for saying such outlandish things, what with my active, run-away imagination and all, but this time it's all adding up. I gotta get my family out of here.
  • by TechForensics (944258) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:48PM (#24593963) Homepage Journal

    Note though the Washington Supreme Court has disallowed GPS evidence, the District Court in the instant case has specifically ALLOWED it. From TFA:

    The Foltz case offers a rare glimpse into how a Washington area police department uses GPS. Foltz's attorney, Chris Leibig, challenged police in court last week and tried to have the GPS evidence thrown out. He argued at a hearing at Arlington County General District Court that police needed a warrant since the device tracked Foltz's vehicle on private and public land. The judge disagreed, and the evidence will be used at Foltz's trial, which will begin Oct. 6. Foltz was charged in the Feb. 6 attack, but not in the others.

    When this gets to the Washington Supreme Court it is likely they will not reverse any conviction, based on the US Supreme Court's stance that tracking a car with a beeper is OK (also from TFA).

    Bottom line: This technique is here to stay.

  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @12:37AM (#24594813) Journal
    The way I look at this is that the car with the GPS on it is like a...car see? With a device. On it.

    You have to imagine the GPS satellites driving around on big...highways...except way up in the sky. Kind of like really fast...flying cars. Way up there.

    So the car drives around like, if you follow me, the car, and then the other cars that are, um, way, um, up there. Can see it through their windshields because they are like...cars, see?

    And then that all does stuff like that, and then the police go where the "car" is by using transportation of a nature that can best be understood by imagining a car, only it has police in it.

    So that's the best way to understand all that.

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