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Supreme Court says police must get search warrant to use GPS tracking devices

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
January 23, 2012
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The US Supreme Court ruled today that police must first obtain a search warrant before using GPS devices to track a suspect's vehicle, agreeing with an earlier appeals court ruling but rejecting the Obama administration's position on the case. In delivering the decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the court holds "that the government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a 'search,'" and therefore violated the individual's Fourth Amendment rights. The case itself concerned a Washington DC nightclub owner and suspected drug dealer, Antoine Jones, who had his car's movements monitored for a month and was eventually sentenced to life in prison, only to see that conviction overturned by the aforementioned appeals court on the grounds that the police did not have a search warrant when they placed the GPS tracking device on his vehicle.

[Image courtesy Wired]



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