Nothing to be alarmed about

Nothing to be alarmed about

Summary: In February, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled in the case of two police officers who had quietly slipped a GPS tracker into the car of a "suspicious" man. The man sued under the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable searches and seizures).

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TOPICS: Government
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In February, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled in the case of two police officers who had quietly slipped a GPS tracker into the car of a "suspicious" man. The man sued under the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable searches and seizures). He lost. Interestingly, the government conceded that wholesale warrantless monitoring of all US automobiles would be a "different" matter. Different in what sense, I do not know. (I admit that I didn't read the opinion.)

So What?

Okay, everybody stay calm. It's just one case, and it may go to the Supreme Court, which may reverse the decision. Or not.

But, really, who cares? As a practical matter, we're headed for wholesale car monitoring already. Open road tolling systems, for example, note the passage of cars, sometimes by RFID, sometimes by license plate imaging. If dynamic road pricing schemes become popular, that'll be another trace you'll leave. And, of course, plate numbers can be noticed and parsed by outdoor video surveillance systems, which are expanding by leaps and bounds. So maybe the court's decision shouldn't bother us unduly, and maybe what the government meant by wholesale car monitoring being "different" was "achieved with zero resistance from the general public."

Topic: Government

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4 comments
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  • Nothing to be alarmed about... You sure about that?

    It seems that, ever since 9/11 and the "Patriot Act," American's freedoms have been slowly... almost stealthily... chipped away. It's been so subtle the zombie masses are oblivious to it and even brainwashed to accept it. Before long, we may be forced to be implanted with chips to prove we're law abiding human cattle, or tagged as subversive criminals. ([url=http://www.wethepeoplewillnotbechipped.com/]These people[/url] are working to keep that from ever happening.)

    Perhaps the bigger concern is not wholesale government monitoring of us, but [b]corporate[/b] monitoring and what they will do to the data they gather about us. Read [url=http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3269]Schneier's piece on "data reuse."[/url]

    Until such activity is called unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, this is something to be alarmed about.
    Mr. Roboto
  • How is this different from trailing a suspect?

    To my knowledge, trailing a suspect has never been subject to warrants. I would add, most roads are public spaces, not personal private spaces like the 4th amendment targets. The 4th amendment has to do with searching, not following someone in public. For those who have not read it, here it is:

    Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    meh130@...
    • It is different

      It's different because they added a GPS tracker to private property (the car). Adding a GPS tracker to a private vehicle should be no different than adding audio/video surveillance equipment inside someone's house. Neither should be done without probable cause and a warrant.
      t_mohajir
    • Is the Personal Private Space Considered in the Vehicle?

      OK... most roads are not public space: agreed; however, wouldn't you agree the space within or on the vehicle is private space? For example, a great deal of private property is on public roads, so if the piece of property moved down the public road from one location to another wouldn't the property still be considered private property while traveling down the public road and have the same Amendment IV protection?

      Also, I understand the advancement in tracking technology and the application for the protection and safety of the public. But isn't the issue that a tracking device was placed on/in a privately owned vehicle without a court order or the owner being aware? Shouldn't controls be in place to ensure the correct application of tracking devices are used judicially and the rights of personal space is not violated?
      oggibuffo