Do GPS Trackers Violate The Fourth Amendment? Supreme Court Says Yes

Do GPS Trackers Violate The Fourth Amendment? Supreme Court Says Yes

If someone placed GPS trackers on your car, without your knowledge, would you be annoyed? Would you feel violated? Well, on Monday the Supreme Court decided you should be more than annoyed because it violates your Fourth Amendment rights.

The permutations of this are rather huge. GPS trackers are everywhere; you’re reading this on one and you’ve probably got one in your pocket.

According to The Atlantic, Justice Antonin Scalia, amongst others, argues that a violation of the Fourth Amendment depends on whether law enforcement trespasses onto private property. When we consider what placing a tracker on someone’s car involves this can be argued in several ways. Is the car in a public place or parked on someone’s driveway? Does touching the car constitute trespass (after all the feds have to find the right place to stick that magnet)?

Other members—represented in arguments by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito—say that people have a reasonable expectation to the privacy of their location data. (The Atlantic)

The issues go far beyond GPS trackers and take us back to the earlier point I made—location data is now commonplace and the ability to generate that data comes from everyday devices.

“It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search,” said Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

Rand Paul is opposed to government surveillance and unlawful searches without a warrant as demonstrated by his recent lawsuit against the NSA, but what do you think? Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision on GPS trackers? Tweet us or follow us on Facebook for more updates on this issue.

(Photo courtesy of Surrey County Council News, CC BY-ND 2.0)



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