Many peeks are really only for information purposes. Almost like rattling the door knob to check that it's locked. They don't 'exist', while building a picture or a map of activity. If something looks tasty then they add a hidden request, CYA in case the legal beagles need it later.
> just so happen to be tracking the GPS on the suspect's car?
They very much do not do that - well maybe if necessary "we were tracking the cell phone". If they have something with serious short term implications they will see the judge. If they're tracking and building a map of activity to learn what's going on they use a variety of methods. With the right GPS stuff they can track all day and look at the pattern on the computer at night. Then look for matches/overlays between different people. That's just watching, linked to neighbourhood watch.
Another thing that happens is with charged people. Police often want to avoid trial, so the normal way is to give the accused at "a hard time" so they will give up and arrange something. The GPS allows 'following' without following, and hard time activites.
GPS tracking only needs to be 'legal' if its used for a legal purpose. I've heard cops say they don't have electronic surveillance equipment - and they use contractors, like from the phone company. You can take your car in for servicing, and while you are waiting somebody has a nice chat with the service guys and you drive away with GPS wired under the dash of your car. No cops involved in the setup.
They might monitor the signal but monitoring is airwave stuff.
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