Supreme Court Limits Police Use of GPS Tracking
Published: January 23, 2012
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously restricted the police’s ability to use a GPS device to track criminal suspects in a first test of how privacy rights will be protected in the digital age.
The court rejected the government’s view that long-term surveillance of a suspect by GPS tracking is no different than traditional, low-tech forms of monitoring. But its decision was nuanced and incremental, leaving open the larger questions of how government may use the information generated by modern technology for surveillance purposes.
The court without dissent agreed that prosecutors violated Jones’s rights when they attached a GPS device to his Jeep and monitored his movements for 28 days. In one of the Washington region’s most celebrated drug trials, the nightclub owner was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
But while all the justices agreed with that outcome, they split 5 to 4 in their reasoning.
This was the ruling cited in the article and post regarding the ACLU’s Supreme Court Case against the Obama Adminstration and the NSA’s gathering of Metadata. A unanimous decision for 4th Amendment restrcting what the Govt can do with high tech surveillance.
Experts differ as to what this ruling means in the ACLU vs NSA case. But what no one disagrees with is that in that case, the Obama Administration will argue against applying the same 4th Amendment garantees given to a drug dealer to all US citizens in general in dealings with the NSA.