The article “Are Drones Watching You?” provides a nice summary of U.S. case law regarding aerial surveillance with links to the cases.
By Jennifer Lynch, EFF, January 10, 2012
Today, EFF filed suit against the Federal Aviation Administration seeking information on drone flights in the United States. The FAA is the sole entity within the federal government capable of authorizing domestic drone flights, and for too long now, it has failed to release specific and detailed information on who is authorized to fly drones within US borders.
For full text of the article, visit Are Drones Watching You? | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- Who Is Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the U.S.? (eff.org)
- The Drone as Privacy Catalyst (Standford Law Review)
- Protecting Privacy from Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft (ACLU, December 2011)
- Watch Out for Drones, A.C.L.U. Warns (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- ACLU Report on Domestic Drones Finds Need for New Privacy Protections (yubanet.com)
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.
- St. Louis Judge Not Waiting For Supreme Court’s GPS Tracking Decision (forbes.com)
- New CRS Report on Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- FBI allowed to add GPS device to cars without warrants (rt.com)
- Judge Doesn’t Care About Supreme Court GPS Case (yro.slashdot.org)
- No Warrant Needed for GPS Monitoring, Judge Rules (wired.com)
- Judge: No Warrant Needed for GPS Tracking on Vehicles [VIDEO] (mashable.com)
- CDT Summary of Supreme Court Case, Does GPS Tracking Require a Warrant? (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
by Richard M. Thompson, Law Clerk,Congressional Research Service Report #R42109, December 1, 2011
Technology has advanced considerably since the framers established the constitutional parameters for searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment. What were ink quills and parchment are now cell phones and the Internet. It is undeniable that these advances in technology threaten to diminish privacy. Law enforcement’s use of cell phones and GPS devices to track an individual’s movements brings into sharp relief the challenge of reconciling technology, privacy, and law. Beyond the Constitution, a miscellany of statutes and cases may apply to these tracking activities. One such statute is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), P.L. 99-508, 100 Stat. 1848 (1986), which protects individual privacy and governs the methods by which law enforcement may retrieve electronic communications information for investigative purposes, including pen registers, trap and trace devices, wiretaps, and tracking devices. The primary debate surrounding cell phone and GPS tracking is not whether they are permitted by statute but rather what legal standard should apply: probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or something less.
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.
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 Sees Shades of 1984 in Unchecked GPS Tracking (wired.com)
- Justice Breyer warns of Orwellian government (thehill.com)
- Supreme Court invokes ‘1984’ fears with GPS car tracking (news.cnet.com)
- Police GPS tracking case may result in ‘1984’ scenario: judge (news.nationalpost.com)
- Which Way Privacy? (slate.com)
- Supreme Court Justices Concerned About Pervasive, Technology-Enabled Government Surveillance (forbes.com)
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.
- Can Cops Use GPS to Track You? (abcnews.go.com)
- Editorial: The Court’s GPS Test (nytimes.com)
- How GPS tracking threatens our privacy (cnn.com)
- Supreme Court Set to Hear Landmark GPS Tracking Case (pcworld.com)
- Supreme Court To Decide Major GPS Tracking Case (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Feds Shift Defense of Cellphone Tracking (online.wsj.com)
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.
- Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Key Warrantless GPS Tracking Case (eff.org)
- U.S. Supreme Court to Review GPS Surveillance Case (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Supreme Court will set rules for warrantless GPS tracking (news.cnet.com)
- Wyden, Chaffetz Introduce the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Lawmakers Propose Warrant Requirement for GPS Data (wired.com)
- Feds to Supreme Court: Allow Warrantless GPS Monitoring (wired.com)