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After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices 189

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: "The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a 'sea change' inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called 'Big Brother in the 21st Century' on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use. These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law. After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them."
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After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices

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  • A much better idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 26, 2012 @10:38AM (#39163769)

    Tell the FBI to write a nice letter to the owners of the vehicles asking if they would kindly return the black box attached under the right rear fender.

  • Re:3,000? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 26, 2012 @10:42AM (#39163807)

    I don't. They most likely have many more as you can still plant/use them with a warrant. The 3000 were just for ones without warrants.

  • Re:Just an idea... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:26AM (#39164073)

    What would happen if I happened to find such a device on my car and put a fine metallic mesh grounded to the chassis of the vehicle? They would have a serious problem, I guess...

    What would happen if you didn't put a mesh around it to more securely affix it to the undercarriage and it came off on the highway, bounced into my windshield and caused a massive crash and multi-vehicle pile up?

    You would be ill advised to not secure such loose, or merely magnetically attached devices.

  • Re:3,000? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 26, 2012 @11:32AM (#39164103)
    Yup. One nuclear bomb and one kilo of anthrax spores are also small numbers.
  • Re:Mine now! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jessified ( 1150003 ) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @12:16PM (#39164325)

    No kidding. The fact that they are having trouble locating them is that to say they don't even know basic information on the suspect, such as his address or common residence? A means of contacting him/her?

    I'm also wondering if you could get in trouble for taking the device. If someone intentionally places something in or on your car, to me that is akin to giving it to you. Just like if someone intentionally leaves a box on my doorstep I assume it's for me. Am I supposed to ask the owner of pamphlets permission before throwing them away?

  • Re:3,000? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @12:59PM (#39164575)
    And how many agents do they have? For that matter, do you really think we have THREE THOUSAND terrorists in our country? Or how about this, 3000 THAT WE KNOW ABOUT?

    Neither do I. So who the hell are they tracking, and why? That's a lot of law enforcement abuse of powers there, probably 3000 cases of it. Want to guess how many decades that would take to go through court if you tried to prosecute all of them? (Yeah, we have a lot of courts around the country, but those cases would be clustered in just a few.)

    3000 is a small percentage of the total populace, it however is not a small quantity of abuses of power.
  • Re:3,000? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @01:53PM (#39165071)

    The 3000 were just for ones without warrants.

    Hard to tell, the article is light on details. That's one possible interpretation. Here's another: there were actually much more than 3000 warrant-less trackers out there. After they lost the case, the FBI tried to get warrants for all the existing trackers. Most of those requests were granted, like they usually are, and the 3000 are the ones where they were denied.

  • Re:3,000? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNilt ( 984644 ) on Sunday February 26, 2012 @02:43PM (#39165433) Homepage

    For that matter, do you really think we have THREE THOUSAND terrorists in our country?

    Not to defend the warrant-less trackers but do you really think the FBI only monitors and investigates suspected terrorists? They also deal with any crime that happens on Federal lands, crimes that cross state lines such as kidnappings, murders, thefts, and much more. They aren't all there just to fuck with our freedoms, you know. Yes, some members of law enforcement are power hungry assholes. That's not all of them, however, and you do a dis-service to the good ones when you forget it or trivialize what they actually do.

  • Re:3,000? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Sunday February 26, 2012 @03:49PM (#39165957)

    It's rare that I'll, you know, defend the government and all... but the FBI's purview extends way beyond terrorists. They handle organized crime in general, for one. I mean, the South American gangs like MS13 alone could account for a large portion of those GPS trackers. That doesn't even consider all of the other crime that they handle (bank robbery, wire fraud, etc.)

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."