Back in January, 2012, my colleague Mike Stenger posted here about the news that the Supreme Court had put the kibosh on law enforcement being able to install GPS trackers on people’s vehicles without a court order. Needless to say this has raised some eyebrows in the law enforcement community and taken away what they believe is a valid surveillance tool.
Today the repercussions of the decision are starting to be felt as the FBI has been force by the ruling to turn off some 3,000 GPS tracking units that they currently had out in the field of people’s vehicles.
It hasn’t been easy for the FBI either in getting all those thousands of GPS units back and in some cases had to go to court to get permission to turn them on briefly so that they could find their location and go and retrieve them.
According to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissman the FBI is currently working to come up with new guidelines for the use of GPS devices but one of the side effects of the Court’s decision is how previous legality of things like looking in the trash of a suspect if it is on the street.
He said the agency is also considering the implications of the concurring justices – whose arguments were largely based on the idea that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of their movements, even if those movements are in public.
“From a law enforcement perspective, even though its not technically holding, we have to anticipate how it’s going to go down the road,” Mr. Weissmann said.
Wait a second .. the FBI alone had over 3,000 GPS trackers installed?
For what reason one might ask eh.