Obama Administration Fights to Allow Warrantless GPS Tracking
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Secret tracking device for cars (photo: Yasir Afifi)
The Obama administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving warrantless tracking of suspects by law enforcement using GPS devices.
Federal prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice reached out to the Supreme Court after a three-judge panel of Democratic and Republican appointees in Washington D.C. unanimously threw out the conviction and life sentence of Antoine Jones, a nightclub owner convicted of operating a cocaine distribution ring. The judges objected to the month-long auto surveillance of Jones by police, ruling that law enforcement should have obtained a warrant before using a GPS tracker.
In many instances, suspects are not aware police are monitoring the movement of their cars unless they stumble upon the tiny GPS devices, usually hidden behind automobile bumpers.
In addition to the Jones case, an Arab-American college student, Yasir Afifi, has filed a lawsuit against the government alleging the FBI violated his privacy rights by placing a GPS device on his car without a warrant. Afifi contends he was targeted simply because of his ethnic background.
Battle Brews over FBI’s Warrantless GPS Tracking (by Kim Zetter, Wired)
Gov’t Asks High Court to Take GPS Tracking Case (by Mark Sherman , Associated Press)
United States v. Antoine Jones (U.S. Supreme Court) (pdf)
FBI Demands Return of Spy Device Student Found on His Car (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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