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Privacy The Courts Government Transportation

Court Rejects Warrantless GPS Tracking 226

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-tag-me-bro dept.
The EFF is trumpeting a victory in a case in which it and the ACLU filed an amicus brief. "The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today firmly rejected government claims that federal agents have an unfettered right to install Global Positioning System (GPS) location-tracking devices on anyone's car without a search warrant. ... The court agreed that such round-the-clock surveillance required a search warrant based on probable cause. ...the court noted: 'When it comes to privacy... the whole may be more revealing than its parts.'"
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Court Rejects Warrantless GPS Tracking

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  • Huh? Where are the Democrats fighting for privacy? This isn't aisle issue, it's an establishment issue. They all support warrantless wiretapping and every other form of privacy intrusion.
  • by Hylandr (813770) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:08PM (#33167392) Homepage
    Then ride a bicycle.

    - Dan.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:13PM (#33167504) Journal

    I think your complaint is driven by paranoia.

    First off, we're giving massive tax rebates for buying one of those, and for good reason. They eliminate almost all of the bad things that gasoline combustion causes. Which obviates the need for gasoline taxes, which will still apply to those who drive gasoline vehicles. We'll raise the taxes on them and force them into electric vehicles.

    Second, it's much more efficient when the time comes simply to slap a bigger tax on registering a vehicle.

    Third, it isn't illegal for the government to collect information about you. It's illegal for law enforcement to pry into information about you when it doesn't have probable cause that you are committing a crime. No matter who has the information or how it was collected.

  • Re:I'm still curious (Score:3, Informative)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:18PM (#33167580)

    What happens if you find such a device on your car?

    You leave it there for a while. So they get used to the fact that they can trace your movements. When they are comfortable with tracking you, you remove it and stick it on a cop car. Then you call a friend and tell him that the deal will go down 'at the usual place this afternoon'.

    So the ATF, DEA or whomever mounts an assault on Li'l Johns Bar and Grill, where most of the local cops hang out all day.

  • by BassMan449 (1356143) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:27PM (#33167710)

    Gas taxes have nothing to do with "the bad things" about gasoline. Gas taxes are what is used to maintain the roads. A large part of the states Transportation budget comes from the revenue collected through gas taxes.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:37PM (#33167880)

    Think about it. Right now people are taxed @ ~$.20 - $.30 cents a gallon in fuel taxes that in most states is already figured into the list price of the gas at pump. And gasoline taxes don't go to pay for cleaning up the environment. They go to building/maintaining roads (or at least that what the politicos say...whether it does or not is another debate)

    Very few people think about the fact that the gallon of gas is really $2.30 plus $.25 in tax. No, they just see $2.55, pump and go. The cost of the tax is hidden to most peoples eyes. So they pay $3 - $5 every time they fill up their tank in taxes x number of times per month without even thinking about it. Probably amounts to $700 - $1000 per driver per year depending on the type of car and number of miles driven.

    Well if suddenly you're asking those people to fork over $1000 at one time when they go to register the car, you're going to really piss people off when they see it in one lump sum. Voters won't go for it because suddenly they see it as another big chunk of tax. Yes, they were paying about the same before, but at $5 a pop, they never paid any attention to it before. But when you have to write a check for 4 figures, suddenly people notice.

    Hence, if you replace that fuel tax with a "road use tax" via tolls or GPS tracking of how much you drove and split those bills up into a monthly tab at $30 - $50 per month, then people once again start to consider a monthly bill just like their utilities, cell phone, etc. and less as a "tax". Plus this method also gives the government the ability to place a tracking device on your car. The republican voting base likes it because it can be used to track "evil people" (Terrorist/Gangs/Drug Dealers/Child Molesters/Commies/whomeverisevilatthemomet). The Democratic base likes it because it can be used to tax people, especially people driving a lot of miles. Because those electric cars are going to be powered predominately by coal for the next 20 - 25 years.

    I volunteered in college for a couple state reps/senators and a US congressmen. And we were having this very same discussion only replace electric cars with natural gas powered cars back then. They did pass a "a natural gas powered car costs you $600 per year to register." Even that was enough of a turn off to keep all but the proponents of such technology from converting their vehicle to propane/LNG.

  • Re:I'm still curious (Score:3, Informative)

    by ericfitz (59316) on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:42PM (#33167982)

    RFID toll tokens have already been successfully used to prove location and travel:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ericfitz/archive/2007/08/10/ez-pass-logs-used-in-divorce-cases.aspx [msdn.com]

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:56PM (#33168220)

    ...some type of toll or other form of tracking so that people can be sent "use taxes/road taxes"...

    You know what's really asinine about that kind of idea? You could just use the fucking odometer to measure usage and it'd work just fine!

  • Re:I'm still curious (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 06, 2010 @05:22PM (#33168610)

    If it was welded on with a paperclip and a battery, MacGyver installed it...

  • Re:I'm still curious (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday August 06, 2010 @08:10PM (#33170332) Journal

    Which has nothing to do with GPS. GPS can pinpoint your specific location and make it easy to police to come get you. In contrast EZpass only shows a few points spread-out over dozens or even hundreds of miles. i.e. Only when you enter and exit the tollroad. AND it's typically old data that would be of no use for police to locate you.

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:15PM (#33170792)

    If the guy doesn't have qualms [salon.com] calling you, a U.S. citizen, a terrorist and placing you on a CIA hit list, and then try to deny your father the right to hire an attorney on your behalf, somehow I doubt he's going to think twice about tapping your phone without a warrant.

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