Tag Archive | Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

CDT Summary of Supreme Court Case, Does GPS Tracking Require a Warrant?

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Center for Democracy and Technology, November 8, 2011

1) Supreme Court to Decide Whether GPS Tracking Requires Warrant

On November 8, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument in the case of United States v. Jones, which raises the question of whether the government can, without a warrant, install a Global Positioning System (“GPS”) tracking device on a person’s motor vehicle to track the vehicle’s movements. If the Court decides that the installation or use of a GPS device to track a person is a “search” or “seizure” under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, then government agents would generally be required to obtain a warrant before using such a device. The Court’s decision could also shed some light on whether other forms of location tracking – such as monitoring the location of a mobile device such as a cellular telephone – trigger the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. …

For full text of this great summary, visit Supreme Court To Decide Whether GPS Tracking Requires Warrant | Center for Democracy & Technology.

Supreme Court Sees Shades of 1984 in Unchecked GPS Tracking

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by David Kravets, Wired, November 8, 2011

WASHINGTON — A number of Supreme Court justices invoked the specter of Big Brother while hearing arguments Tuesday over whether the police may secretly attach GPS devices on Americans’ cars without getting a probable-cause warrant.While many justices said the concept was unsettling, the high court gave no clear indication on how it will rule in what is arguably one of the biggest Fourth Amendment cases in the computer age. … Justice Stephen Breyer told Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben that, “If you win this case, there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24 hours a day every citizen of the United States.” …

For full text of the article, visit Wired.com.

Supreme Court Considers GPS Tracking Case Today

United States v. Jones

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term

10-1259 D.C. Cir. Nov 8, 2011

Issue: (1) Whether the warrantless use of a tracking device on respondent’s vehicle to monitor its movements on public streets violated the Fourth Amendment; and (2) whether the government violated respondent’s Fourth Amendment rights by installing the GPS tracking device on his vehicle without a valid warrant and without his consent.

Plain English Issue: Whether the Constitution allows police to put a tracking device on a car without either a warrant or the owner’s permission; and whether the Constitution is violated when police use the tracking device to keep track of the car’s whereabouts.

For links to SCOTUS coverage of this case, as well as other materials, visit United States v. Jones : SCOTUSblog.

Geolocation Privacy Bills Now Before the US Congress

From Roger Longhorn on the GSDI Listserv, October 11, 2011:

The following bills relating to geolocation privacy are now before US Congress.

How Technology Is Testing the Fourth Amendment

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Digits, Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2011

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures” – but what does that mean when it comes to techniques that use technology rather than a physical search that is easy to see? In many ways, it remains unclear. But there a few key issues that courts have been considering lately when it comes to this question. First up: whether the activity being observed by the technology is outside or inside a person’s house. …

For full text of the article, visit: How Technology Is Testing the Fourth Amendment – Digits – WSJ.

FBI’s ‘Stingray’ Cellphone Tracker Stirs a Fight Over Search Warrants, Fourth Amendment – WSJ.com

By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES, Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2011

For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device—a stingray—were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest. Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

For full text, visit FBI’s ‘Stingray’ Cellphone Tracker Stirs a Fight Over Search Warrants, Fourth Amendment – WSJ.com.

Will Employers Soon Use GPS to Catch FMLA Abuse? | Franczek Radelet P.C. – JDSupra

Thanks to Kevin Pomfret for passing this one along:

By Franczek Radelet P.C., JDSUPRA, July 25, 2011

Earlier this week, the folks at the Texas Employment Law Update highlighted a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the high court will consider whether law enforcement’s placement of a GPS devise on a suspect’s vehicle without a warrant constitutes an unlawful search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This case led the authors to wonder aloud whether an employer might surrepticiously use GPS to track an employee who is suspected of abusing leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). …

For full text of the article, via Will Employers Soon Use GPS to Catch FMLA Abuse? | Franczek Radelet P.C. – JDSupra.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Geolocation Privacy Case

Posted by Bret Cohen, Hogan Lovells Chronicle of Data Protection, July 5, 2011

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Geolocation Privacy CaseThe Supreme Court on June 27 granted certiorari in a geolocation tracking case that could have implications for companies that incorporate location-tracking features into their products or that monitor the locations of their employees or assets. Specifically, the Court asked the parties to brief whether the government violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights by installing a Global Positioning System GPS tracking device on his vehicle without his warrant and without his consent. …

For full analysis, visit Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Geolocation Privacy Case : HL Chronicle of Data Protection.

Supreme Court To Decide Major GPS Tracking Case

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Electronic Privacy Information Center, June 27, 2011

The Supreme Court will decide if warrantless locational tracking violates the Fourth Amendment. The Court granted review of a District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals opinion on two legal questions. The first is whether police need a warrant to monitor the movements of a car with a tracking device. The second is whether policy can legally install such a device without their target’s consent, and without a valid warrant. …

For full text of the article, including links to relevant cases, visit EPIC – High Court To Decide Major GPS Tracking Case.

Bill Would Keep Big Brother’s Mitts Off Your GPS Data

…The courts aren’t sure whether so-called “geolocation” data taken from GPS devices or cellphones is covered by the Fourth Amendment, as Wired.com’s blog Threat Level has extensively reported. That ambiguity has largely enabled law enforcement to snatch it up without getting a warrant or showing probable cause. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, want to make things crystal clear: no warrant, no geolocation info. …

Full text of the article, via Bill Would Keep Big Brother’s Mitts Off Your GPS Data | Danger Room | Wired.com.

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