Supreme Court Rules that GPS Tracking is a Search

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Michigan PI

Trespassing?
Was a garage breached or gate opened or a security measure bypassed to place the device on the vehicle?
I doubt it.
GPS devices are usually "installed" (actually attached) to a vehicle when it is parked where access can be gained to the vehicle without opening a gate, a garage, etc., and many times when the vehicle is parked in a public area.

"Reasonable Expectation of Privacy"
Do you have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" inside you home behind closed doors or curtains? In a public bathroom? In your attorney's office? You betcha you do.
Do you have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" walking down the street? Sitting on a park bench? Sitting in your vehicle? Nope
Does a vehicle have "reasonable expectation of privacy"? Does a vehicle have rights? Nope

GPS devices are used to obtain the geographic position of whatever they are attached to; in this case, a vehicle. The police are not attaching a non-removeable tracking collar to a person without a court order. They are not covertly tracking your cell phone without a court order, although the Patriot Act allows "Big Brother" to do so.
It is of my opinion that the use of GPS is not a search.

It is also of my opinion that the action of ANY governmental or municipal entity to use electronic tracking, wiretapping, RFID, GPS, or any technology that I am not aware of to track or otherwise invade the privacy of a citizen without a warrant is intolerable.
To sell this to the People in the name of Public Safety is perverse.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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win7fanboi

Although I agree with your logic I can't help but think that the over zealous enforcement agencies that maybe be interpreting the law may not worry about the vehicle being in your garage or caring if they damage your vehicle while installing the tracker. As in your example they are free to track the vehicle old school way and nothing is stopping them. Working for the govt. I can tell you that some folks aren't too bright and not requiring a warrant to track someone is not a great idea. If that would have been allowed I wouldn't be surprised if some are installed on vehicles for personal reasons (husband is curious where his wife/neighbor/friend goes, you think your neighbor might be a killer/terrorist, etc).

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CaptainFabulous

I guess the Feds didn't come up with enough money to line their pockets to rule in their favor. You'd think they'd know this by now considering this court's recent history.

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ApathyCurve

As a rule, when the entire Court agrees on something it means some little beady-eyed bureaucrat in the gubmint has been grossly overstepping the bounds of Constitutional propriety, and that certainly appears to be the case here. Nice when the system actually works as intended.

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win7fanboi

+ 1

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Keith E. Whisman

At first I thought there wasn't any difference between a GPS and having a cop follow a suspect in surveillance but then I realized that you do have a right to be free from unlawful search and seizure. I'm glad they are forcing the government and police to actually put a human on site to actually witness crime being done instead of digital circumstantial evidence bull crap. Exactly the same reason why I believe photo radar and red light camera tickets are unconstitutional.

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Nimrod

Its funny, if a private person did this to some one else, they would either be sued into annihilation or charged with a crime. When your government does it, they just get told to stop.

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The Corrupted One

GPS trackers should have the same implications as a wiretap.

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dgrmouse

Since the patriot act, et. al, there have been no strict requirements for wiretapping.

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Morete

Even a clock that's broken...

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Eoraptor

Considering that this is the same court that said corporations are entitled to unlimited campaign finance, I'd say twice a days is a generous exaggeration, but at least they got one somewhat correct.

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schwit

The ruling upheld the 1st amendment. "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ...". And the ruling was not limited to corporations. Unions and not-for-profit organizations are some of the largest contributors to politicians.

Personally I believe we need an amendment that publicly finances campaigns or requires candidates to only accept money from registered voters in their voting district. Unfortunately hell will freeze over first.

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Strhopper

My thoughts exactly

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wolfing

I sort of disagree here. How's this any different than having a cop follow your car? they don't need a warrant for that

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xs0u1x

because when they are following you they are not trespassing onto your personal private property. planting a gps device on your car is still trespassing onto your personal private property without a warrant. and that is what most of the ruling was based on.

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Michigan PI

The trespassing argument is invalid.
Is the mail carrier trespassing when he delivers your mail? Is the Girl Scout trespassing when she sells you those delicious cookies? Is the child trespassing when he walks into your yard to get his baseball? Is the firefighter trespassing when he tramples through your prize daisies to put out your kitchen fire? Is the parking police trespassing when they place a ticket on a parked car?
Define trespassing. What constitutes a trespass? At what point is is someone committing a crime?

Michigan actually has passed legislation addressing the use of covert GPS devices.
Michigan law allows covert GPS installation and tracking by licensed PI's and Law Enforcement without court order or warrant. Scary stuff but it is the law and will remain the law until it is rescinded regardless of the opinion of the Supreme Court. Is it right? It doesn't matter, it is law.

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2009-2010/billenrolled/Senate/pdf/2009-SNB-0325.pdf

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PubstarHero

Adding onto what firefox91 said - is it reasonable to believe that a cop would be doing 24 hour surveillance on someone? It would be a complete waste of taxpayer time and money, but removing the human and time elements from the equation, it becomes a slippery slope to monitoring whomever they feel like, since it requires almost nothing to do.

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firefox91

Because eventually you would notice someone following you. You likely would never notice a GPS under your car. I agree that a GPS is a search. It isn't the governments right to know where I am at all times. I realize they are using this on people that are likely committing crimes, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Give up too many freedoms and the government will certainly be willing to take them from you.

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