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The Government’s New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

Governments don’t have rights. They have powers. That aside, this piece from Time is disturbing:

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre – and scary – rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants – with no need for a search warrant.

16 Responses to “The Government’s New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS”

  1. Bruce MacMahon Says:

    Yeah, that one broke the needle right off my disturbingshitometer.

  2. John Says:

    With OnStar, they don’t need to attach anything…

  3. SPQR Says:

    I don’t get the reaction. Why do people think that they can’t be followed in public? All a GPS tracker is, is a cheaper way for LEO to follow a car. Is it the magnet that is so disturbing?

  4. D2k Says:

    I think it’s worth noting that according to the ruling you have no right to not be surveilled in public, however it does not say that you can not counter this surveillance, So if you are worried about it do a sweep of your car before you get in with one of those telescoping mirror things. If some police department attempts to say that I can not remove the surveillance device from my vehicle, then I think I could make a case for a violation of the third amendment. Of course I am not a lawyer and these are just my thoughts on the situation.

  5. Jay Says:

    What this ruling says is that it is legal for the government to have a vast network of cameras that are linked to a facial recognition computer system that keeps track of where every citizen goes.

    And the ruling is probably legally correct — the government can do that.

    This is why we need a clear constitutional right to privacy.

  6. Paul Says:

    There are devices that detect GPS recievers/transmitters as well as jammers.

    Guess there will be a market for them now.

  7. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    GPS jammer FTW. Also at least one circuit has ruled the other way requiring a search warrant for GPS tracking. With a circuit split, this case is prime for the SC to hear.

  8. Caleb Says:

    Keep your car in your garage.

  9. Boondoggie Says:

    So what do you do when you find one of these devices on your vehicle?

    1) Ship it to Anchorage?
    2) Put it on a cop car?
    3) Put it on that co-worker’s car you can’t stand?
    4) Leave it on the ground right next to where you park?

    I’ve always said that the 3rd amendment is the only part of the bill of rights that the SC hasn’t taken apart, but I guess that’s on the way.

  10. JKB Says:

    If I remember correctly, they can charge you if you destroy the device and possibly if you divert it. Best choice go somewhere not your home and accidently knock it off and then leave it.

    Now the interesting thing about this that if the car is behind a gate, posted property, etc. then the police may not enter your property to attach the device. Poor people have no rights.

    In order to establish a reasonable expectation of privacy in [his] driveway, [Pineda-Moreno] must support that expectation by detailing the special features of the driveway itself (i.e. enclosures, barriers, lack of visibility from the street) or the nature of activities performed upon it.”

    Basically, if you don’t take action to keep the neighborhood kids away from your driveway, then you have not rights to privacy.

    If a neighborhood child had walked up Pineda-Moreno’s driveway and crawled under his Jeep to retrieve a lost ball or runaway cat, Pineda-Moreno would have no grounds to complain.   Thus, because Pineda-Moreno did not take steps to exclude passersby from his driveway, he cannot claim a reasonable expectation of privacy in it, regardless of whether a portion of it was located within the curtilage of his home.

    As the chief judge said in the dissent, “To say that the police may do on your property what urchins might do spells the end of Fourth Amendment protections for most people’s curtilage.”

  11. Rivrdog Says:

    Boondoggie, you remove the device and leave it within 5 feet of where you found it, and the dumb fuzz will assume you aren’t driving the car…if they return to find the device laying in the bushes alongside your driveway, they have to assume it fell off after installation.

    BTW, this IS the same appeals court which said that cops can’t fly over your property and take pix of your cannabis grow, right?

  12. EnemyoftheState Says:

    Guess I’ll have to start driving to more interesting places than hospitals and doctor’s offices, just to give them their money’s worth.

  13. Joat Says:

    So would it be legal to place GPS trackers on police cars when they are parked in public places?

  14. Bill Twist Says:

    Don’t remove it: Cover it in aluminum foil. It’s a receiver (and perhaps a transmitter). Radio waves don’t penetrate metal very far. That way you leave it in place, and without modifying it in any way you render it useless.

  15. Brass Says:

    +1 on Joat.

  16. NMM1AFan Says:

    Step1: Remove GPS device.

    Step2: Place GPS device in microwave oven, set for 30sec.

    Step3: Replace GPS device on vehicle.