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The Courts Privacy United States Your Rights Online

Supreme Court To Weigh In On Warrantless GPS Tracking 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-criminals-go-somewhere-incriminating dept.
CWmike writes "In a move with far-reaching privacy implications, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case involving the government's authority to conduct prolonged GPS tracking of suspects in criminal cases without first obtaining a court warrant. The government has argued that it has the authority to conduct such searches; privacy advocates have argued that such tracking violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court's decision in the case will be pivotal because lesser courts around the U.S. have appeared split on the issue in recent years, with some upholding warrantless GPS tracking and others rejecting it. Last August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit sided with the subject of the Supreme Court hearing, Antoine Jones, a Washington, D.C. man who was convicted in 2008 on charges of possessing and conspiring to distribute more than 50 kilograms of cocaine, and rejected claims by the government that federal agents have the right to conduct around-the-clock warrantless GPS tracking of suspects."
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Supreme Court To Weigh In On Warrantless GPS Tracking

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  • Re:10 bucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @07:26PM (#36606098)

    "What sucks is that they are taking a case where the defendant is clearly someone that the government should have been tracking and just didn't go through the correct channels of authorization (warrants)."

    Do we actually know that? Did they already have probable cause? If they did, why didn't they use it?

    I think it's much more likely that they felt they "knew" what he was up to, and were on a fishing expedition to try to get some real evidence. But fishing expeditions are illegal; that's the point.

    The problem with just letting them do this to somebody they "know" (or think) is guilty, is that surprisingly often, people "know" things that just aren't so. Further, as the Supreme Court has ruled in the past, fishing expeditions are not permissible because, among other reasons, "evidence" might be found that makes even innocent people appear guilty. Just like the guy who was picked up for arson because his local store's "club card" information said he had bought a fire starter. Later, the real guilty party confessed to the crime. The other guy just wanted to light his barbecue.

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