by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
doj, gps, location, privacy, warrant

Feds Won't Challenge Ruling That Says It Needs A Warrant To Put GPS Devices On Cars... For Now

from the but-we'll-see-if-that-stays dept

Back in October, we wrote about the Third Circuit appeals court ruling that attaching a GPS device to someone's car required a warrant. While the Justice Department is now challenging the part of that decision which said that the evidence obtained via the warrantless GPS use must be sustained (the government is arguing for a "good faith exception" to let it use the information under the belief that it was collected legally -- basically saying if they knew it required a warrant they would have gotten one), it has decided to not challenge the larger point that a warrant is needed to attach a GPS device to a car. That's good news, but it's only a little bit of good news.

The government does say that it "respectfully disagrees with the Court's requirement of a warrant to install and use a GPS device" but isn't seeking a review of that ruling. That, most likely, means that it's just waiting for another court to rule on the matter in a different circuit (and hoping for a better outcome) and can pit those two circuits against each other in a Supreme Court review. So, basically, it's just avoiding the issue for the time being.

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  1. identicon
    Chris Brand, 11 Dec 2013 @ 11:06am

    Good faith

    The assumptions behind this idea are backwards. It comes from the assumption that anything is fair game without a warrant unless there's some law or precedent requiring one. It should be the other way round - if there's no law or precedent saying you *don't* need a warrant to get at the information, assume you need one. That's the only way to keep us safe because technology evolves far faster than the law.
    If some molecular sniffer thing is developed that can track you from the traces of scent you leave behind as you travel, we shouldn't have a period of time when law enforcement considers it fair game until Congress and the courts actually look at it and saw "you need a warrant for that".

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