Tag Archive | Global Position System

Federal judge: GPS use illegal in Chicago-Kentucky drug bust

Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2012

When Kentucky State Troopers stopped 49-year-old Robert Dale Lee on Interstate 75 in September 2011, they knew he would be coming their way and what to look for in his truck. The Drug Enforcement Administration had been following Lee’s truck from Chicago using a GPS — a tracking device placed on the vehicle as part of a multi-state drug probe — and troopers found 150 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle. Now, a federal judge has ruled the stash inadmissible in the case against Lee because the DEA and troopers didn’t have a warrant to place the device on the truck. …

For full text of the article, visit Federal judge: GPS use illegal in Chicago-Kentucky drug bust – chicagotribune.com.

Judges Drive Truck Through Loophole in Supreme Court GPS Ruling

by Kim Zetter, Wired Magazine, April 20, 2012

A federal judge in Iowa has ruled that evidence gathered through the warrantless use of covert GPS vehicle trackers can be used to prosecute a suspected drug trafficker, despite a Supreme Court decision this year that found such tracking unconstitutional without a warrant. U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett in Sioux City ruled last week that the GPS tracking evidence gathered by federal DEA agents last year against suspected drug trafficker Angel Amaya, prior to the Supreme Court ruling, can be submitted in court because the agents were acting in good faith at the time. The agents, the judge said, were relying on what was then a binding 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals precedent that authorized the use of warrantless GPS trackers for surveillance in Iowa and six other states. …

For full text of this article, please visit Judges Drive Truck Through Loophole in Supreme Court GPS Ruling | Threat Level | Wired.com.

FCC Bars the Use of Airwaves for LightSquared Broadband Plan

By Edward Wyatt, NYT, February 14, 2012

A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. The F.C.C. statement revokes the conditional approval for the network given last year. It comes after an opinion by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which said that “there is no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time” with GPS devices. The telecommunications and information agency oversees telecommunications policy at the Commerce Department. …

For full text of the article, visit F.C.C. Bars the Use of Airwaves for a Broadband Plan – NYTimes.com.

Legislating Privacy After US v Jones

Legislating Privacy after U.S. v. Jones: Can Congress Limit Government Use of New Surveillance Technologies?

by Robert Gellman, JD, Communia Blog, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, January 25, 2012

The Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Jones, a case that addressed the use of global positioning system GPS tracking devices for law enforcement purposes, is hot privacy news. Almost immediately, the decision sparked numerous and sometimes conflicting comments. The issue here is whether the decision will prompt Congress to consider legislation and what that legislation might look like.

The majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia used a property-based approach to conclude that attaching a GPS device to a car and using the GPS to monitor the car’s movements on public streets constitutes a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The narrow basis for the decision turned on the fact that the government physically occupied private property the car for the purpose of obtaining information.

A concurring opinion by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by three of his colleagues reached the same outcome, but Alito wanted to determine whether the car owner’s reasonable expectations of privacy were violated by the long-term monitoring of his car. Essentially, Alito thought that the majority’s property analysis was not scalable to present day surveillance issues and that an expectation of privacy standard would reach the same result without the baggage of the property-based approach.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the majority opinion, but she also filed a concurring opinion. She observed that physical intrusion is not always necessary for surveillance e.g., by tracking a cell phone and argued that how surveillance is done may affect an expectation of privacy. So in her opinion Sotomayor asked whether people reasonably expect that their movements will be recorded in a manner that allows the government to ascertain their political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and more. She even questioned the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties. That was the holding in United States v. Miller, 425 U. S. 435, 443 1976 , a case increasingly criticized by privacy advocates as inconsistent with life today.

For full text of this article, which provides an insightful overview of what crafting and passing updated privacy legislation might entail, visit Legislating Privacy After US v Jones « Communia.

Robert Gellman, JD is a privacy and information policy consultant in Washington, D.C. He served for 17 years on the staff of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives. He can be reached at bob [at] bobgellman. [dot] com or visit his website at http://www.bobgellman.com/. Also check out his article Location Privacy: Is Privacy in Public a Contradiction in Terms?

Supreme Court GPS Tracking Case: Round-up and Resources

Updated February 20, 2012

UNITED STATES v. JONES
615 F. 3d 544, affirmed.

From Cornell University Legal Information Institute [HTML version has links to cited cases]:

From the Supreme Court and American Bar Association websites:

Legislation

In his written opinion, “Alito said the court and Congress should address how expectations of privacy affect whether warrants are required for remote surveillance using electronic methods that do not require the police to install equipment, such as GPS tracking of mobile telephones. Alito noted, for example, that more than 322 million cellphones have installed equipment that allows wireless carriers to track the phones’ locations (ABC News, Jan 23, 2012).” In his article linked below, Robert Gellman provides a nice overview of the complexities of the legislative process for updating privacy legislation after US v. Jones:

For a list of proposed location privacy legislation as of Fall 2011, visit the home page of Kevin Pomfret’s Centre for Spatial Law and Policy.

Law Review Articles and Essays

Case Summaries  and Commentaries (disclaimer: opinions and analyses are those of the original authors, not all may be accurate)

February 2012

January 2012

Older posts

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What Does the Supreme Court GPS Ruling Mean for Technology and Privacy?

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Digits, Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2012

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police violated the Fourth Amendment when they attached and used a GPS device to track a suspect’s vehicle without a warrant. … [But the Court's decision] applies only to the placement and use of a GPS device that had to be attached to the suspect’s car. The justices said the device was an intrusion onto the suspect’s property, even if the car was being driven on public roads. The opinion doesn’t say anything about what would happen if the government were able to track the car through other electronic means, without ever touching the vehicle. …

For full text of the article, visit What Does the Supreme Court GPS Ruling Mean for Privacy? – Digits – WSJ.

Supreme Court Ruled on GPS Tracking Case, Backs Privacy Rights

By Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal, What They Know, January 23, 2012

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled Monday [in United States v. Jones] that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS tracker to a suspect’s vehicle, voting unanimously in one of the first major cases to test constitutional privacy rights in the digital age. … The court split 5-4 over the reasoning behind Monday’s decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority that as conceived in the 18th century, the Fourth Amendment’s protection of “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” would extend to private property such as an automobile. …

For full text of the article, visit Supreme Court Backs Privacy Rights in GPS Case – WSJ.com.

For full text of the Court’s opinion in United States v. Jones, click here.

Pakistan Mapping Bill To Regulate Amateur Mapping

Stopping unlawful mapping activities: MoD asks government to frame law

by Mushtaq Ghuman, Business Recorder, January 04, 2012

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has suggested to the government to frame a law aimed at stopping unlawful activities related to mapping firms, given that several western countries, including Australia, China, India, Turkey, USA and UK, have enacted supportive laws, official sources told Business Recorder. … According to the MoD, rapid developments in the fields of surveying and mapping, especially computer-aided cartography, availability of satellite imagery and satellite-based ‘Global Position System’ (GPS) has greatly facilitated the art of map making. Resultantly, a number of firms have engaged themselves in mapping activities. …”If mushroom growth of such firms is not checked instantly, it would be a potential threat of high security risk, on the one hand, and decline of accurate mapping within the country, on the other,” sources quoted MoD as writing to the government. …

For full text of the article, visit Stopping unlawful mapping activities: MoD asks government to frame law | Business Recorder.

St. Louis Judge To Address GPS Tracking

by Kashmir Hill, Forbes, Jan 3, 2012

In 2012, we can look forward to a decision from the Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Jones, about whether law enforcement need to get a warrant to slap a GPS tracking device on a person’s car. A judge in St. Louis is not waiting to hear what The Nine think of the issue, though. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce ruled last week that the FBI didn’t need a warrant to put a tracker on the car of a government employee back in 2010. …

For full text of the article, visit St. Louis Judge Not Waiting For Supreme Court’s GPS Tracking Decision – Forbes.

GPS Surveillance: A Crossroads for the Fourth Amendment

by Daniel Solove, ACS, November 7, 2011

The Supreme Court has long held that there is no expectation of privacy in public for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Because the Fourth Amendment turns on the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Court’s logic means that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection to surveillance in public. In United States v. Jones … FBI agents installed a GPS tracking device on Jones’ car and monitored where he drove for a month without a warrant. …federal circuit courts have reached conflicting conclusions on GPS, and now the Supreme Court will resolve the conflict.

via GPS Surveillance: A Crossroads for the Fourth Amendment | ACS.

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