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Watercooler – Appeals Court Nixes Warrantless GPS Surveillance

An interesting development in the battle over the Fourth Amendment and new telecommunications technology:

A federal appeals court ruled for the first time Friday that police cannot use a Global Positioning System device to track a person’s movements for an extended time without a warrant, clearing the way for the Supreme Court to decide the privacy impact of the new surveillance technology in products such as cellphones and vehicle-navigation systems.

In striking down the drug conviction of Antoine Jones, former co-owner of a District nightclub called Levels, the D.C. court said the FBI and District police overstepped their authority by tracking his movements round-the-clock for four weeks, placing a GPS monitoring device on his Jeep after an initial warrant had expired.

It’s good to see that someone is interested in bringing Constitutional interpretation into the 21st century. Let’s hope that the Supreme Court follows suit.

What’s on your mind tonight?

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Jim Moss

Jim Moss

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