Feeds

US Supremes: GPS tracking requires warrant

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.