From the Gray Lady:
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and tracked its movements for 28 days.
They ruled that placing a GPS device on someone’s car constitutes a “search” and therefore the police needs to follow established procedures for obtaining permission to do that search.
There was no ruling on what to do about devices that are already installed (Lo-Jack, smart phone tracking) on citizens’ devices, or on data that is collected automatically, such as by cellphone companies, or by social networking software (hello readers!).
It seems pretty clear to me that the police shouldn’t be able to place a GPS device on your car without a warrant. I mean, 9-0 decisions in this day and age should tell us something. I’m annoyed that it was even necessary to get SCOTUS to rule on this.
I once had an argument with someone about whether a device could be placed on a car first, and then a warrant obtained retroactively. If the warrant is later denied, any evidence that could be traced back to the device would become inadmissible. I thought that was a reasonable standard, since if a device was placed too early in an investigation, and the warrant was denied, it could effectively be a “Get out of Jail Free” card for the suspect. The person arguing with me considered this a stupid idea, told me I was stupid for even considering it, and insisted that I favored a police state. This person is a conservative who I used to argue with often. I think his real complaint about the idea was that I proposed it first. But I know a lot of my fellow liberals would probably disagree with me here as well.