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.

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Comments on “And Then… A NY Court Says No To Police GPS Tracking”

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Dan says:

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.

AZ says:

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.

John (profile) says:

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.

Lee Brink says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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