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Supreme Court Hears GPS Tracking Case

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

November 9, 2011

During arguments in United States v. Jones this week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said if the government wins this case, "there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24-hours-a-day the public movements of every citizen in the United States," drawing a connection to George Orwell's 1984. NPR reports on the case, which involves law enforcement's use of GPS to track a suspected criminal's location. Antoine Jones' appeal claims that police should have obtained a warrant before using GPS to track his vehicle when they suspected he was selling illegal drugs in 2005. The government's case asserts that Jones didn't have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment because he was tracked on public streets. But Jones' case argues that GPS devices are capable of producing detailed data that an agent tracking a person couldn't. 
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