Is GPS Tracking An 'Unreasonable Search?'

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GPS tracking, the government, and you. The Supreme Court looks at whether tracking your every move equals “unreasonable search.”

GIOVE-A, part of the satellite navigation system Galileo. (AP)
GIOVE-A, part of the satellite navigation system Galileo. (AP)

A big case before the Supreme Court today on privacy and technology. GPS tracking, and how casually the government can keep an eye on your every move. The case in question bagged a big drug dealer. But without a search warrant or probable cause when Antoine Jones was tracked everywhere he went by satellite.

Law enforcement says “give us the tools.” Privacy advocates say in the age of tech that can track you every twitch, the room for abuse here is huge.

This hour On Point: the Supreme Court looks at whether tracking you all over, all the time, equals “unreasonable search.”
-Tom Ashbrook


Daniel Solove, Professor of Privacy and Technology Law at George Washington University Law School. Author of: “Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security.”

Maggie Fox, Managing editor for Technology at The National Journal.

Maggie Reardon, senior writer for C-NET.

Clifford Fishman, professor at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University.

From Tom's Reading List

The Los Angeles Times "Sunset Strip bookie Charlie Katz suspected the feds had bugged his apartment, so he would amble over to a pay phone outside where Carney's hot dog joint now stands to call in his bets to Boston and Miami."

Reuters "The Supreme Court for the first time will hear arguments on Tuesday on whether police need a warrant to track a suspect's vehicle with a GPS device, another clash between new surveillance technology and basic privacy rights."

Wall Street Journal "In a case that questions the Constitution's meaning in light of modern surveillance technology, the Supreme Court will consider Tuesday whether police need a warrant before secretly attaching a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car."

You can find the full text of the Fourth Ammendment to the U.S. constitution here.

This program aired on November 8, 2011.


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