Feeds

US Supremes: GPS tracking requires warrant

'Stop! In the name of the 4th Amendment...'

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The US Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that police need to request a warrant before attaching GPS tracking devices to suspects’ cars.

“We decide whether the attachment of a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device to an individual’s vehicle, and subsequent use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements on public streets, constitutes a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment,” the judgment reads. Their decision – after extensive hearings - was, at core, "Yes".

The case reviewed by the Supremes revolved around Antoine Jones, a nightclub owner the police linked with the drug trade, and the decision to follow his car’s movements using a GPS tracking system. The police obtained a court order for the use of such a device, but were a day late in installing it. The data it obtained was then used to link Jones to a house containing $850,000 in cash, 97kg of cocaine, and a kilo of cocaine base.

Despite the unanimous ruling, the court split 5-4 as to the reasons for rejecting the case. Justices Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Sotomayor ruled that the case fell on the government’s claim that it had the right to bug someone’s personal property without a court warrant. But the other four judges – Alito, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan – ruled that the case wasn't based around the use of private property, but on the rights of the individual to a reasonable amount of privacy.

"This is an important ruling for all Americans," said Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a statement. "The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed that the Constitution prevents unbridled police use of new technologies to monitor our movements." ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.