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Opinion: Court Decision May Redefine Scope of Privacy

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

September 13, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case in November to decide whether warrantless GPS tracking by authorities over a month's time violated a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights. Privacy expert Jeffrey Rosen says, "It's imperative that the court says yes." In a New York Times op-ed, Rosen writes that after two federal appellate courts upheld warrantless GPS tracking, Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit argued that ubiquitous tracking over a month is "qualitatively different" than the public surveillance the court has upheld in the past. "If the court rejects his logic...surveillance is likely to expand, radically transforming our experience of both public and virtual spaces," Rosen writes, adding, "what's at stake...is more than just the future of GPS tracking: there's also online surveillance." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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