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GPS Tracking of State Worker Raises Privacy Issues 173

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a Times Union article: "How far can state government go in keeping tabs on its employees? That's the question a mid-level appeals court will consider in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union against the state Labor Department, in the case of a fired state worker who was tracked with a GPS device that investigators secretly attached to his personal car. ... State officials tracked Cunningham's whereabouts by secretly attaching a GPS device to his BMW. The electronic tailing went beyond what would normally be termed Cunningham's work hours, since the device was on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They even tracked him on a multi-day family vacation."
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GPS Tracking of State Worker Raises Privacy Issues

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  • by increment1 ( 1722312 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:12PM (#37424430)

    As alluded to in the article, they were looking into his timesheets and his assertion that he worked odd hours.

    It looks like the state thought he was lying about his hours, and so used the GPS tracker to catch him in a lie concerning hours worked. It seems a touch excessive, but government jobs likely require a high standard of proof in order to fire an employee.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:12PM (#37424436)
    I am not Christian .. but I can say the same about Liberal atheists.... Especially that both sides are narrow minded blockheads that need to keep their opinions to themselves. Neither side has the right to pressure people.. that includes you too.
  • Fan-tastic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:16PM (#37424476) Journal
    "Kate Nepveu, an assistant solicitor general, said the state realized the GPS tracking was intrusive, but Cunningham's pattern of misconduct and the difficulty of constant in-person surveillance justified the technique."

    Yup, we knew that we had no business doing it; but he was a Bad Guy and doing our jobs is Hard. Cry, cry, pity me... Is there any sort of procedural abuse that one couldn't justify with exactly that line? Virtually everything we call "due process" is inconvenient for the prosecution, and I've never heard of somebody going after someone that they wouldn't at least say was guilty of misconduct...
  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:21PM (#37424514)

    Maybe a better solution would have been to provide him a state vehicle with a hidden GPS tracker. :P

    Or an Obvious one, functional or not. That might have got him back into line if there was wrong doing, or show he wasn't worth keeping, either way it would have been far cheaper than a lawsuit even if they win it.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:25PM (#37424536)
    without your knowledge? putting tracker on you personal car? if any executive at my employer did that to me, I'd cram said GPS far into their gastrointestinal egress, without lube. that's if I was in a good mood....
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:26PM (#37424552)

    the problem was they were tracking him 24/7, and that's illigal.

    That, and attaching a device to his personal car should be considered some kind of tresspassing/vandalism.

  • Re:Fan-tastic... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @06:45PM (#37425138)

    What's truly fucked up here is that they felt that they couldn't fire him simply because of his "pattern of misconduct". They appear to have felt that they needed more proof or something.

    I interpret that to mean "there wasn't actually a pattern of misconduct, we went on a fishing expedition hoping to find one".

  • by Venner ( 59051 ) on Friday September 16, 2011 @10:32PM (#37426502)

    These days most employers have some boilerplate they hand out when you take a job that says they will do this if they feel it necessary. Really you should assume they monitoring you while you are on the job, if for no reason than protect themselves from things like that $2 billion loss UBS is stuck with.

    The point is that these were government workers. Your constitutional rights trump most of what they would ask you to waive. And courts have said that, say, your fourth amendment right require informed consent to waive, which a blanket waiver cannot satisfy.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"