Search warrants needed to track vehicles

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Peace, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #1
    Small victory for the citizen.

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects automobiles.

    Justice Samuel Alito also wrote a concurring opinion in which he said the court should have gone further and dealt with GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
     
  2. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #2
    That is how it should be. Good to see the courts ruled the correct way.
    My guess is while the court did not go farther with things like wireless devices I sets a presidents that it would be hard to argue why gps tracking a phone with out a warrent is ok when a car is not.
     
  3. Peace thread starter macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #3
    This is the part that bugs me :

    The high court's ruling was a defeat for the Obama administration, which defended the use of global positioning system devices without a warrant and without a person's knowledge as a legal way to monitor a vehicle on public streets.

    Mr. Transparency wanted to track your car without a warrant .
     
  4. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #4
    This is absolutely how it should be.

    Thank you. I want a clapping smiley face but I guess the :cool: will have to do.
     
  5. wpotere Guest

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    #5
    Just read the article and didn't see any mention of this. Source? Sounds like a Fox News comment to me.
     
  6. Peace, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    Peace thread starter macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #6
  7. wpotere Guest

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    #7
  8. mobilehaathi, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #8
    It is interesting that while the decision was unanimous, the reasoning was split 5-4 in a somewhat interesting way. I do have to give a lot of respect for Sotomayor for this opinion though:

    link

    This appears to be in contrast to what the majority opinion holds, which is that it was the physical encroachment of the vehicle that caused the violation. There seems to be an implication that if they tracked the individual at that level of detail by other means that didn't physically attach to his property, some on the court might not have decided the way they did.

    Edit: For clarity, Sotomayor was part of the majority opinion but seems to go farther in stating the above.
     
  9. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #9
    Did you try a simple google-news search: "Obama GPS"?

     
  10. Peace thread starter macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #10


    Like in my link above look at Reuters. It is MSNBC and CNN that is leaving out the name Obama.

    And I abhor even the term "Homeland Security".
     
  11. wpotere Guest

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    #11
    Oh, I'm sorry, I thought simply going to a mainstream media outlet would tell me that. :rolleyes:

    Peace, I agree and I am glad that it was overruled and like you, I don't like the idea of the government having that much power. I was simply making a point that the administration was not mentioned in the source you posted. ;)


    I did find some older articles that mentioned it but those were over 6 months old.
     
  12. Peace thread starter macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #12
    No problem. I just assumed the "mainstream media" would mention the fact that it was the Obama administration that wanted to wiretap cars.
     
  13. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #13
    Much as I don't like it, and I'm glad to see the Court tacking in the other direction, there is a legal argument for that position: Police may follow you on the street freely, even covertly, without a warrant, because you have no expectation of privacy on a public street. If they're having trouble keeping eyes on you, they may call in a helicopter to radio your position to officers on the ground. You're driving in public. Anyone may watch you, including police.

    On the surface, it seems as if planting a GPS device on a car parked in a public place is nothing more than a means, like the helicopter, to make following a suspect easier for police. In order to challenge the use of GPS, you'd have to explain why the GPS scenario differs from traditional methods of following a car in a Constitutionally relevant sense. I don't think any sort of "too easy" argument would be compelling, because nothing in the Constitution requires police to give criminals a fair chance.

    I'd certainly like to believe GPS presents a unique problem. Clearly someone convinced the Supreme Court of it, and when I've got more time I'd like to review the arguments by which they managed it, but I confess that right off the top of my head I can't myself come up with one myself. It feels wrong, but that's about all I've got.
     
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #14

    Well Scalia seems to believe that it was the physical violation of private property (putting the government owned GPS device on the Jeep) that distinguished it from a police officer following you with eyes/copter. But this is a very precise statement. What if the feds had merely (warrantlessly) tracked the car via a hypothetical manufacturer built-in device?

    However, it seems that with modern technology it is possible to track individuals with extreme detail without ever violating an individual's property, something that isn't necessarily possible with just a pair of eyes or a copter...

    Does one have an expectation of privacy to personal information you voluntarily provide to third parties? One might say no, but then the police can go to Comcast, AT&T, and Amazon to generate a long list of all your visited websites, phone calls, text messages, books, and sex toys without a warrant.
     
  15. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #15
    Actually, it was the police in that case that wanted to wiretap the car. The case was filed by a defendant in Federal Court and proceeded through the normal course of all cases like this.

    Of course the Justice Department was involved in the defense of this practice. Anything else would be to allow a convicted felon free over a "technicality." Where are the "tough on crime" conservatives now? I'll tell you where, they are criticizing an administration for being "tough on crime."

    I have to admit that is BS. The Justice Department defends all cases like this, regardless of the issue. To say the president is for or against anything based on a specific case like this is an overreach.
     
  16. Peace thread starter macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #16
    It's Obama's administration. The justice dept. can decide whether or not to support such an action. They chose to support it.
     
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #17
    More generally, this is part of a consistent anti-civil-liberties extension of the kind of moves made in the previous Administration. I don't know why anyone would be surprised Justice supported this -- it's in line with many other limitations on civil liberty that they have supported since Mr. Obama came into office.

    I'm kind of surprised that this nabbed a unanimous SC decision (in the correct direction! :D ). That's promising.

    What I'd like to see next is a mea culpa or at least a distancing from this kind of noxious policy by the Administration. This kind of thing would be a good time for them to start trying to make right on this broader issue.
     
  18. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #18
    For the police to follow you for miles they need to have probable cause, they can't just follow you and hope you do something to allow them to pull you over. That would become profiling.
     
  19. MorphingDragon, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

    MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #19
    I like Scalia, especially after the California vs ESA trial. Why can't he be the dear leader of the glorious Communist regime known as the USA? Anything is better than the Fascist regime of the USA.

    http://cdn.themis-media.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/27/27516.jpg (No I wont IMG this)
     
  20. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #20
    But remember the bar for probable cause is a heck of a lot lower than what is needed for a warrent.
     
  21. macquariumguy macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    No surprise the administration fought it. Law enforcement agencies, including the Justice Department, never voluntarily cede power. Never.
     

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