Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

Supreme Court: Police Use of GPS Trackers Constitutes a Search

by Fox Van Allen on April 02, 2015

Gavel on American FlagThe U.S. Supreme Court has just weighed in on the privacy implications of GPS tracking. In its ruling on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, the panel of nine judges unanimously agreed that attaching a GPS tracker to you or your car constitutes a search, and thus a warrant is required to do so.

Grady, a twice-convicted sex offender, was required by North Carolina to wear a GPS-monitoring device at all times. He sued the state, arguing that the constant GPS tracking is a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, as it constitutes a search. The court, citing its past legal precedents, agreed.

Pro-privacy groups are in full agreement with the ruling. “It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search,” states Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch.

It’s worth noting that this case specifically concerns the use of tracking devices by law enforcement. It doesn’t necessarily create protections for the other arenas of our lives where big data reveals our location for us. Smartphone are capable of being traced, for example, and courts have held that it OK for law enforcement to use this data against you without first obtaining a search warrant for it. Many legal analysts expect the high court to address this privacy issue, too, eventually.

For more analysis on the ruling, check out the coverage in The Atlantic.

[Gavel on flag via Shutterstock]


Privacy, News, Phones and Mobile, GPS Navigation, Blog

Discussion loading

Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.