And Then... A NY Court Says No To Police GPS Tracking

from the a-difference-of-opinion dept

On Monday, we wrote about the Wisconsin ruling that police didn't violate anyone's rights in putting a GPS device on the car of someone they were tracking. It didn't take long for a different court in a different case to disagree. A bunch of folks have sent in the news that a court in NY had tossed out a similar case, claiming that the GPS evidence was illegally obtained. The ruling lays out many of the reasons why such technologies aren't the same as simply observing what someone does in public:
"What the technology yields and records with breathtaking quality and quantity is a highly detailed profile, not simply of where we go, but by easy inference, of our associations -- political, religious, amicable and amorous, to name only a few -- and of the pattern of our professional and avocational pursuits."
I expect that we'll be seeing many more such cases in the next few years until this is settled either by the law or the Supreme Court.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Dan, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    WI. why?

    This begs the question: what part of this argument did the Wis. court not understand. Would the justices be upset if someone logged their every move 24/7 and published it? What inferences could one make from those logs? Probably very boring but the Enquirer built an publishing business on just such grist and FOX news seems to be trying the same, nothing like a juicy scandal with a judge involved.

     

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  2.  
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    pk, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:15pm

    my 2 cents

    Having the authorities place a GPS tracking device is like a having a "geolocational wiretap"

    This should at a minimum require the same due process as a regular wire tap.

     

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  3.  
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    AZ, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    Proactive Approach

    As our US Congress struggles with warrantless wiretapping, it reminds me of the quote, "all politics are local". Cities and States should be putting the voice of the people above all else and LEGISLATE for the rights of the PEOPLE regarding this new technology.

    I'm tired of lazy politicians who will not step up and represent the people who voted them into office.

     

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  4.  
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    IanK, May 13th, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    But is it the same as just following them 24/7?

     

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  5.  
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    John, May 13th, 2009 @ 9:49pm

    Re: The same?

    No it is different by cost. GPS trackers cost about $300. That cost does not go up with time. You can track someone for an entire year for the cost of hiring one person to follow the suspect for a day.
    Because this kind of high level surveillance is now so cheap, that the balance between enabling law enforcement and protecting citizen privacy has completely shifted to one side.

     

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  6.  
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    Lee Brink, May 14th, 2009 @ 4:31am

    USSC will not affect NY

    While a ruling from the USSC will affect decisions in states like Wisconsin, with will not affect the ruling in NY.

    As noted in the decision, NY's Constitution/laws are more protective than the US Constitution. So even if the USSC rules that police can put GPS units on a car without a warrant, NY's ruling will stay the same because it confers more rights. IOW the USSC will set the minimum, but states will be able to restrict law enforcement more if they so choose.

    And that's a good thing.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 5:25am

    WOW

    I'm completely shocked. At a time when a few supreme court justices are laughing about a 13-year old being strip searched at school, another court decides that common sense isn't dead after all.

     

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  8.  
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    CleverName, May 14th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    I'd still like to know if/when the GPS unit becomes the vehicle owners property. Is it abandonment? Was it a gift?
    Or, perhaps the vehicle owner could charge a transportation fee. The added weight costs money to haul around and therefore is subject to a charge.

     

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  9.  
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    John, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Liability?

    If you find it and destroy it are you liable for destroying public property? What if they used anti-curcumvention methods to prevent you from taking it off of your car? Are you breaking DMCA?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 7:24am

    Cost has nothing to do with if something is illegal or not.

    That being said, our local police dept. put a GPS in one of the squad cars to track what the officers were doing. Of course, it ended up on a bus. Took them a while to figure out why the cop was driving to other towns. Hahaha, they were pretty pissed.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: WOW

    13-year old being strip searched at school

    By police. You left that part out.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: WI. why?

    Assuming facts not in evidence! Isn't your question presuming the Wisc justices actually move? Bearing in mind too that motor skills are necessary to at least some degree in order to move more than a twitch...
    VRP

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: The same?

    Besides, GPS isn't installed on a person but a vehicle; and so, doesn't track anyone. Just the vehicle the GPS is attached to.
    VRP

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    Cost has nothing to do with if something is illegal or not.

    What? It has everything to do with it.
    What would Automatic machine-guns cost if they were available in every corner store?

    VRP

     

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  15.  
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    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 8th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    They'd cost at least a pound I think

     

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  16.  
    icon
    lrobbo (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Er, maybe more mate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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