18 answers

Why Did Supreme Court Rule GPS Tracking Needs Warrant?

I'm upset ladies. And I have no one to talk to because all my friends are "privacy fanatics" when it comes to government stuff, and I'm more of a commie. I'm very upset that the Supreme Court has ruled cops now need a warrant to track subjects with GPS (I'll put link in SWH). The deciding case was when they ruled a drug dealer (who was dealing drugs btw) was unfairly "searched" in essence because they busted him by use of GPS which he did not know was on his car.

I know, I know, we don't want "big brother" to know we are driving to.....the post office....?...if we're innocent Joe Blows. And I "get" the "slippery slope" argument. But why change this law now? Has anyone INNOCENT been wrongly treated by being tracked by cops with GPS (serious question-not sarcastic)? Because as a Forensic Files fanatic, I know they have caught more than a few murderers using GPS without a warrant, including some on the way to move shallowly buried children. But now only the BAD GUYS get to use technology to stalk people and spy on people, but the COPS can't? A jealous spouse can track their mate, but the cops can't stick a GPS on the creep spotted leering at kids at the park (if he has an old car or a car without GPS) where a child went missing, because that's invading his "privacy"?

I hate it when the cop's hands are tied! Help, me ladies!! Any more insight on this? Anyone married to or in law enforcement here? Am I getting it wrong? Will this somehow NOT be as big of a victory for criminals as I think it will be?

And I'd especially like to thank any snooty recriminations directing me to read the Constitution in advance. I am familiar with amendment 4.

I just think it's odd that FINALLY, they're doing this over a case in which a drug dealer was caught rather than a case in which an innocent person was wrongfully pursued and imprisoned when found to be going somewhere perfectly legal (of which I haven't heard of that happening and I did read 1984 and the Hunger Games).

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Cheryl, um, plenty of people on the right are into the privacy/no government (especially when it comes to carrying weapons) thing as well. But thank you for having some sympathy for me at least!

@Alexis, and Andra.... Good thoughts!!! I'm almost feeling better looking at it this way...

OK, ok, Mamas, I do see in this debate that I am the minority, and yes, probably wrong. I'll just go be alone with my sentiment (sniffle). Thanks to all of you who pointed out the pluses to the decision. At least I can go to the library and gas station later without being tracked -PHEW! And to others...no need to get snippy with me, my little mamapedia rant bears no threat to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling and the feelings of the vast majority....but don't come crying to me when you need the law on your side and it's all blocked up by technicalities.....(said with tail between legs like Eeyore)

Featured Answers

I swear I'm the only one left who has read 1984 by George Orwell.

eta...if you read the book, did you understand the message? I don't want to live in a country where this type of thing is accepted. There's a huge difference between hiring a private investigator to track a cheating spouse, and slapping a tracking device on someone who has not committed a crime. "Learing" is not a crime. There are real logical reasons why one is legal and one is not without a warrant.

All that said, trust me, the FBI and the CIA use tracking technology without a warrant all the time and we all know it.

15 moms found this helpful

Well, I am a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide, same as you. And yet I LIKE it that law inforcement needs probable cause (thus a warrant) to track my comings and goings via GPS.

There are so MANY ways to catch a criminal while NOT violating his consitutional rights.

Just my $.02.

:)

9 moms found this helpful

More Answers

GPS is on almost all new cars these days. The cops don't need to "stick GPS" on a vehicle to access it and track it. They just need probable cause to locate it.

What about phone lines and private conversations? Are you okay with them needing a warrant to tap a line? Are you okay with them needing a warrant to search your home or car (if you don't give permission)?

All this is is another protection for the people against a government state. If they have probable cause, they can get a warrant easily at almost any time of the day/week/year. If they can't get a warrant, they don't need to be able to track me and my movements.

We live in a country that promises freedom. The state/government being able to track my movements without probable cause infringes upon that. Period.

Update: They're doing this over a drug dealer case because the drug dealer chose to fight his conviction on the idea that it was illegal for him to be tracked using GPS without a warrant. It doesn't matter if the person is guilty or innocent in cases like these - it's simply the route by which constitutionality of government actions is challenged.

16 moms found this helpful

I swear I'm the only one left who has read 1984 by George Orwell.

eta...if you read the book, did you understand the message? I don't want to live in a country where this type of thing is accepted. There's a huge difference between hiring a private investigator to track a cheating spouse, and slapping a tracking device on someone who has not committed a crime. "Learing" is not a crime. There are real logical reasons why one is legal and one is not without a warrant.

All that said, trust me, the FBI and the CIA use tracking technology without a warrant all the time and we all know it.

15 moms found this helpful

I haven't read the opinion but I'm guessing there was a problem with this pesky little issue known as the 4th Amendment.

You see, in this country the government is supposed to have the burden of proof when it intends to deprive us of our liberty.

It drives me bonkers when people say things like "I have nothing to hide!" That sort of statement shifts the burden to the people . . .

Please read up on the Constitution and our founding documents, as well as some of the landmark cases.

14 moms found this helpful

It was a unanimous decision, meaning it was a no-brainer for them.

The 4th Amendment prohibits illegal search and seizure. There is nothing difficult about getting a warrant if you suspect someone is doing something wrong. The cops hands are not tied. They just need a warrant.

Personal property rights and others are being trampled upon right and left nowadays. I applaud the Supreme Court's decision on this case. I am surprised they ruled unanimously, but it shows they do get the basics of the Constitution -- sometimes. This is not a victory for criminals, but a victory for all of us in America who have rights bestowed on us by the Constitution.

13 moms found this helpful

It doesn't mean the police can't follow a suspect. It means they have to request a warrant from a judge who may ask what grounds they have to believe the suspect committed a crime. If they have a valid reason, they should be able to obtain a warrant. And yes, they can obtain warrants after regular business hours.

10 moms found this helpful

They don't ask the person for a warrant, they ask the judge for a warrent. It's called the 4th amendment. Criminals are criminals because they break laws. Laws are there for a reason. GPS is on almost every car AND phone, so if the cops have a REASON, they can get a warrant.

9 moms found this helpful

Well, I am a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide, same as you. And yet I LIKE it that law inforcement needs probable cause (thus a warrant) to track my comings and goings via GPS.

There are so MANY ways to catch a criminal while NOT violating his consitutional rights.

Just my $.02.

:)

9 moms found this helpful

I didn't read all of the responses, but I don't think you have much to worry about. I am a former federal law enforcement officer. We used to put these tracking devices on cars all the time. We DID get warrants to use them. I think getting warrants signed by federal judges and magistrates are probably easier than getting them signed by district judges. But it only makes sense to follow due process. Even criminals (as undeserving as they are) are allowed a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The Supreme Court ruling does not mean that cops can't use GPS tracking devices. They just need a warrant to use them. No big deal. I think most law enforcement agencies get warrants for them already.

9 moms found this helpful

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