by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 1st 2012 2:38pm
Back in January, we wrote about a quite limited ruling by the Supreme Court in the Jones case, which said that placing a GPS device on a car represented a search and was trespassing. Where the court held back was in discussing the reasonableness of the search, and whether or not it was actually constitutional to do so without a warrant. Some expect that a future case might rule that those searches are reasonable and don't need a warrant, but apparently the FBI isn't taking any chances. It's supposedly shut down 3,000 such devices -- and is now having trouble retrieving many of them since it doesn't know where they are (it's apparently asked courts to allow it to turn the devices on solely for the sake of retrieving them). Of course, this raises a bigger question that isn't answered: why didn't the FBI just get a warrant to use those devices in the first place? If it had done that, then there wouldn't be any issue to deal with here at all... It seems that the only reason not to get a warrant is because they're conducting fishing trips, rather than targeting those where there's probable cause.
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