Tag Archive | United States v. Jones

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.

Advertisements

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?

Location Privacy: Who Protects?

by Catilin D. Cottril, URISA Journal 2011, Volume 23, Issue 2

Abstract: Interest in and concerns related to the issue of privacy in the location-aware environment have been growing as the availability and use of location-based services (LBS) and data have been expanding. Recent events such as “Locationgate” have brought this issue to the forefront of interest for lawmakers, application developers, agencies, and users; however, understanding the varying levels of responsibility for each has been lacking. This article attempts to provide a clear review of the methods by which privacy protection may take place at the levels of law, technology, and management so a better understanding of how a comprehensive approach to privacy protection may take place. While the majority of policy aspects reviewed are U.S.-based, an attempt has been made to provide an overall view of locational privacy policy environments on an international scale as well. It is hoped that this effort will result in a clearer understanding of the ways in which privacy protection efforts should address the related concepts of law, technology, and practice to effectively minimize the risk of privacy harm.

For full text of the article, click here.

Kevin Pomfret’s Top 10 Spatial Law and Policy Stories of 2011

Spatial Law and Policy: Top 10 Stories of 2011

by Kevin Pomfret, Spatial Law and Policy Blob, December 27, 2011

  • U.S. Supreme Court to address law enforcement’s use of tracking devices.
  • Impact of budget cuts becoming more pronounced
  • Privacy issues regarding geolocation becomes international story
  • Increased efforts to regulate Internet
  • Commercial use of drones becoming a reality
  • Lightsquared/GPS dispute
  • India revises its Remote Sensing Data Policy
  • Indonesia passes Geospatial Information Act
  • Big Data

For full text of Kevin’s article with a great discussion on each topic and useful links, visit Spatial Law and Policy: Spatial Law and Policy: Top 10 Stories of 2011.

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.

New CRS Report on Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles

Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology, and Law

by Richard M. Thompson, Law Clerk,Congressional Research Service Report #R42109, December 1, 2011

Summary

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.

Read More…

%d bloggers like this: