Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Court Holds That No Warrant Is Needed For GPS Tracking

Another district court has held that police may use GPS tracking devices without a warrant.  As noted on, a Western District of Michigan judge has declined to follow the DC Circuit’s opinion that police need a warrant to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle.  Perhaps the key sentence from the opinion is:
Here, the technology employed did not reveal information that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical intrusion into a constitutionally protected area - it revealed information (the location of a vehicle on public roads) that could have been readily obtained by visual surveillance of a public area.
A summary of my view on the issue, including a link to an upcoming law review article, can be found here. 
My take remains that the court is incorrect – it is not physically possible for the police to obtain the same type of information through traditional surveillance as they can obtain through the use of GPS devices.

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