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Secret GPS Tracking Now Legal In Massachusetts

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the unsecret-kind-requires-anklet dept.

Privacy 277

dr. fuzz writes "The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled in favor of John Law tracking you with secret GPS devices in Massachusetts provided a warrant is obtained. You've been warned. To the dissenters' credit, Justice Ralph Gants is quoted with 'Our constitutional analysis should focus on the privacy interest at risk from contemporaneous GPS monitoring, not simply the property interest.'"

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277 comments

Where is the controversy? (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458721)

Requires court order. Who has a problem with that? With a court order you can tap phones, plant bugs, install keystroke loggers, just about anything. Seems kinda daft to be maming a fuss about putting a GPS on somebody's car, hell just use the court order to get the cell company to give a feed from their phone.

Re:Where is the controversy? (0, Offtopic)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458805)

In the meanwhile, *without Court Orders*, lots of wiretapping, internet snooping and all manner of illegal privacy-raping activity has been happing for years and continues to happen using our Federal tax dollars, with almost no oversight or review.

The panopticon is not only here, it's taxpayer-funded and unaccountable to the public.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458841)

Call me a troll, but I'd like to remind everyone that what W started, the O is continuing...

Re:Where is the controversy? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458895)

Yeah, but it's not rape if you enjoy it.

Re:Where is the controversy? (5, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458997)

Which is an inherent problem with expanding the powers of the executive branch. Even if there's a lot of complaining about it at the time, there's not much incentive for the next guy to back out of those powers once they've been established. There was lots of complaining from some Republicans when Clinton made the FISA court into a rubber-stamping operation after Oklahoma City, but then they ignored FISA entirely after 9/11.

More on topic, I don't see much problem with giving the police broad crime fighting powers, provided there is proper oversight for abuse. A good warrant system can do that, and need not be much of a time burden if the right procedures are in place. But there better be something. Even the rubber-stamping FISA court at least created a paper trail.

Re:Where is the controversy? (5, Informative)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459005)

Call me a troll, but I'd like to remind everyone that what W started, the O is continuing...

I won't call you a troll, but I'll remind you that neither Bush nor Obama had any hand in composing the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which spelled out what was considered unreasonable search and seizure. The appointing of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court members is also completely independant of the Executive Branch.

Re:Where is the controversy? (3, Interesting)

tach315 (223127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459171)

Every one knows it is the T between the W and O that is in charge.

Re:Where is the controversy? (5, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458933)

Don't worry, we can manufacture all the controversy we need with this story. In truth, it's the perfect /. article. It references Massachusetts in a negative light so someone can make a snide comment about the MIT student who walked into the airport with a circuit board on her chest, or the Mooninite advertising stunt, or even that NDA/tech company comparison between California and Massachusetts article from a couple of weeks ago. Then someone else can link the actual articles and, boom, 6 plus five insightful/informative comments right there.

It talks about police and wiretapping so we'll get plenty of paranoid theories and the resulting jokes. Plus we're guaranteed a mangled Ben Franklin quote.

It directly mentions the constitution so we might even get the lingering Ron Paul supporter! I've missed those guys.

Re:Where is the controversy? (2, Funny)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459141)

And yet no Hitler? Bah ÂÂ...

Re:Where is the controversy? (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459161)

Okay. Well I'm one of the principle persons who quotes Franklin and other Founders, but in this case I have no objection. As long as the police have to get a warrant, then there's independent review by an impartial judge, who can reign-in the overzealous boys in blue.

The real problems happen when, as in the case of Professor Gates, police ignore the requirement for a warrant and just ram their way into homes/car where they don't belong. (Oh and no a phone call is not probable cause according to the supreme court.)

Re:Where is the controversy? (4, Informative)

Boomerang Fish (205215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459543)

The real problems happen when, as in the case of Professor Gates, police ignore the requirement for a warrant and just ram their way into homes/car where they don't belong. (Oh and no a phone call is not probable cause according to the supreme court.)

OK, I'm probably gonna lose karma for this, but...

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Louis_Gates_arrest_incident [wikipedia.org] (and yes I know how flawed Wikipedia can be, but it does seem to fit with what I remember in articles from the time and I don't feel like digging further), The police met Gates at his door and indicated that they were investigating a possible breaking and entering. When asked for ID, Gates entered his house AND LEFT HIS DOOR OPEN so the officer followed.

Now, IANAL, but if my memory serves from what I've read (and no, I don't want to look it up right now, I'm avoiding work and don't have much time...)
          (1) Not officially requesting a warrant or explicitly requesting that the officer wait outside DOES give them permission to follow you into your house, especially if you leave the door open.
          (2) If a crime is suspected to be in progress, a warrant is not required, though it might result in censure of the officer if they can't properly justify it later.

Now, a possible breaking and entering, a door with obvious damage, and a man who is leaving the officers sight because he "needs to get his ID" is suspicious enough that I suspect that point 2 would be enough.

As to who said what to whom and was it racial blah blah blah... I haven't commented on that. I'm only saying that the observable facts suggest that the officer had reasonable justification to proceed without a warrant, at least until identification was provided.

--
I drank what?

Re:Where is the controversy? (2, Funny)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459615)

principal

rein in

over-zealous

FTFY. Everything else you said was so good, I couldn't stand to see egregious spelling errors. Oh, and, no, you can't skip the commas in your final parenthetical sentence ("...set off by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong" -- "Interjection", Grammar Rock).

Carry on.

Mangled Ben Franklin Quote (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459209)

It talks about police and wiretapping so we'll get plenty of paranoid theories and the resulting jokes. Plus we're guaranteed a mangled Ben Franklin quote.

Ooh, ooh, I got one!

"I am BEN FRANKLIN, master of SEX and VOODOO!"

I'm not sure if it's exactly relevant to this discussion, though...

Re:Where is the controversy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459403)

A person who trades dignity for snark deserves not dignity but plenty of snark in return.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459535)

It references Massachusetts in a negative light so someone can make a snide comment about...

You forgot the crackdown on people doing chemistry at home and the whole "Linux user equals computer criminal" thing.

Then someone else can link the actual articles

Oh, phew, I didn't want to have to go looking for that one, I hate Slashdot's search feature.

But seriously, the reason people keep on making snide comments about Massachusetts is because with every one of the incidents you mention, no one has ever apologized for them.

The bomb scare? The closest admission to an overreaction they ever made is that Massachusetts decided not to try them as terrorists.

The MIT student? They congratulated themselves on showing restraint and not immediately killing her.

The non-compete thing is still in full force, and Massachusetts is still suffering from it. (Go ahead. Name a Massachusetts tech company. Now name one that hasn't either moved someplace else or gone out of business.)

The chemistry crackdown? No apologies, and a press release stating how they're protecting the community against the dangers of science.

The Linux user who had his computers taken? Eventually thrown out by a judge, but even then, the police refused to admit any wrongdoing.

So, yeah. Massachusetts gets deservedly beat on because, despite making numerous missteps and mistakes, they've never once apologized for them, let alone admit wrongdoing.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459227)

court orders are rubber stamps. they don't preserve justice anymore. not really.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459239)

The thing is, this means what exactly? I'll tell you! :) It means IF your local police do it WITHOUT a court order, then they can't use any evidence collected to convict you of a crime.

What it does NOT mean is they can't do it. It also does not mean they will get in trouble if they do (they may, but they may not). It also does not mean that judges always approve of things that ought to be approved of.

Re:Where is the controversy? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459243)

It relies on the flawed argument that a tiny GPS == car == you. With a wiretap you can more or less figure out if it is a different person on the phone. Same with bugs. How many times do we let someone else drive our car? Yeah, it might be someone we trust (spouse, family member, close friend) but they are still driving your car. Cars also are pretty easy to steal. And the GPS receiver is small enough that it can be removed and placed on a different car.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459473)

Would be pretty hilarious to put it in an envelope and mail it to Japan. What? They're going over WATER!?!?!?

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459583)

Wow, The ultimate defense attorney argument. I don't see the problem, they have to tie the car and you to the location. I can't see a jury being convinced that the location of your car is prima facie evidence that you are co-located with it. It is certainly circumstantial evidence however. We've all seen the remove it and stick it on a different car trick in any number of James Bond like entertainments, and I believe most of us are capable of forming the same thought that Darkness404 here pointed out. So a jury of your peers should also be capable of realizing that fact given sufficient argument by said defense attorney.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459329)

Can you sell the GPS tracker on Ebay if you find one stuck to the underside of your car? What's the going rate for a GPS tracker that hasn't been detuned for civilian use? Is it even legal to own/sell? How would that ebay page read? "Uh, found this tracker stuck to the bottom of my car with a magnet. Buyer assumes all risk that US Government may track you down and request it back. Seller assumes no responsibility if you become an assailant in the US Federal court case against me".

Re:Where is the controversy? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459571)

"Can you sell the GPS tracker on Ebay if you find one stuck to the underside of your car? What's the going rate for a GPS tracker that hasn't been detuned for civilian use?"

Is there any way to 'scan' your vehicle to screen for the presence of a GPS device?

Re:Where is the controversy? (3, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459337)

Who said there was a controversy?

Re:Where is the controversy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459419)

how do you block GPS?

Re:Where is the controversy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459503)

Better yet,
Just get a court order to arrest someone for no reason.
Seems to be happining alot these days.

Re:Where is the controversy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459619)

Aren't you supposed to be there when a warrant is executed ?
So you know they're rummaging in your things.
The difference here, is that you would continue generating data without knowing there's a warrant in progress.

GPS Blocking (4, Informative)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458737)

I guess if its too much of a problem you could buy one of these things.... http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8758 [dealextreme.com] at a little under 27 USD with no taxes and no shipping I imagine its cheaper then the tracking device.

Re:GPS Blocking (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458831)

Where can I sign up to become the exclusive Oregon dealer for these GPS blockers? If they pass the mileage-based vehicle tax, I'm gonna be rich!!!

Re:GPS Blocking (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459089)

Either that, or you will force the GPS unit into thinking you've just circumscribed the U.S. of A. several times at Mach 2 and you will have to explain yourself (and pay the speeding ticket).

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459299)

I'm sure the sale of such devices, like radar detectors, would be illegal. BTW I haven't been to Oregon in a long time. Will I still get arrested if I pump my own gas?

They have a similar law in New Jersey. Last time I was driving the NJ Turnpike, I waited and waited and waited for an attendant but he never showed-up, so finally I just did it myself. When an attendant finally noticed me, he had a fit. I told him to I'm from Maryland and we know how to pump our OWN gas without help. I'm not going to sit in my car for 10 minutes waiting for service when I can do the same thing myself in 2.

Re:GPS Blocking (2, Interesting)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459401)

Radar detectors aren't illegal except in Virginia, and even there, there's a case waiting to be made that federal law governing radio signals preempts the state restriction.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459609)

I haven't been to Oregon in a long time. Will I still get arrested if I pump my own gas?

You never would. But the station may have to pay a fine if enough people complained that they were making you pump your own gas.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459643)

Oregon and NJ are the only two states that prohibit pumping your own gas. I live in Oregon and they usually try to claim safety. I live in Portland, and it borders another town in Washington which allows people to pump their own gas. If it is so unsafe, why don't I hear about all the gas station explosions that must be happening over there? A-giant-pain-in-the-ass-of-anyone-whose-ever-had-to-wait-while-the-attendant-finally-gets-around-to-you is what I call it. You know, when I'm not out of breath.

Re:GPS Blocking (2)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459655)

"UK Government Health tells kids to masturbate. Parents pissed.When you have monopoly customer opinions don't matter."
Ok I need to respond to this. I don't disagree with what you tried to say but I'm a little stuck on disambiguating the part about the monopoly customer opinions. If you put the comma after the "when you have" it makes it seem that after you masterbate, monopoly customer opinions don't matter. if you put the comma after the monopoly then it seems that if you own the game of monopoly then customer opinions don't matter. So I would propose these changes:

"The UK government Health Ministry has told your kids to masturbate, since they have a monopoly on the communication channel you have abandoned your kids to, your opinions don't matter."

Re:GPS Blocking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458969)

for more info visit http://annunci-subito.it/

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

JavaNPerl (70318) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459223)

I'd imagine these devices would use the cellular network to transmit the coordinates back which could give the police a general idea of your vehicle location even if the GPS information was not available. I think jamming the transmission signal would be more effective.

Re:GPS Blocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459333)

Fine by me; I'll get a cell jammer. I'd rather not be receiving calls while driving anyway.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459675)

Cell jammers are illegal however.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459341)

They have that covered too but it cost a bit more... http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.13233 [dealextreme.com] I like the description "- Bus and vehicles (imagine how you can finally have a good undisturbed nap)" I can sleep soundly knowing my phone does not work? or sleep better due to knowing I am not being tracked? Either way its funny the lengths people will go to have or take away some ones privacy lol

Re:GPS Blocking (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459287)

It would be much more fun to send singles to the GPS telling it you're in Australia or something.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459687)

What pray tell is this GPS you are sending singles to. Some new dating service I guess, and why would you have to tell it you are in Australia?.

Re:GPS Blocking (1)

ruewan (952328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459441)

That is all good till you get lost and can't use your own GPS.

To be fair... (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458739)

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled in favor of John Law tracking you with secret GPS devices in Massachusetts provided a warrant is obtained.

To be fair, that's a lot better than in Wisconsin, where they use secret GPS devices to track you without a warrant [slashdot.org] .

Re:To be fair... (4, Interesting)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459071)

Exactly. The Massachusetts decision makes sense: If you can show probable cause, you can intrude upon a person's privacy, but *only* if you show probable cause. Wisconsin decided that privacy is subordinate to police effectiveness. Problem is, you follow that track too far and you end up with a police state and no rights to speak of. The police don't *intend* to violate your rights, they simply do whatever is allowable to uphold their mandate (keeping the peace). If you don't restrict the range of allowable activities, and they can use technology to supplement their numbers, upholding their mandate most effectively requires them to scan every phone call, track every car, open all mail, etc.

Technology allows quantitative differences to become qualitative differences: Police can already tail anyone on a public street. But limited numbers mean they are only able to do so for a small number of people, so they tend to have good reasons when they do tail. But if you can track every car effortlessly and keep a database of movements, you can go on fishing expeditions. Someone dumped a body on the side of a highway? Quick, pull up the logs and find every person who passed that stretch of highway recently. Then demand DNA and fingerprint samples from all of them (assuming you haven't already collected them). It's effective, at the cost of invading everyone's privacy.

Jammers (4, Interesting)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458757)

Suddenly I foresee these [thesignaljammer.com] becoming much more popular, and then much less legal (if they even are to begin with).

Re:Jammers (2, Informative)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458861)

Suddenly I foresee these [thesignaljammer.com] becoming much more popular, and then much less legal (if they even are to begin with).

They aren't. The FCC frowns on any device that emits a signal the intent of which is to interfere with another signal. At least, they do for those of us not in government service.

Re:Jammers (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458907)

$129 just to transmit a steady 100 mW signal at 1575.42 Mhz? Seems like you go do it for a lot cheaper than that... Hmm... I sense a business opportunity.

Re:Jammers (1)

Rhys (96510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458975)

Great, now they don't know where you are till you shut off the ignition!

Re:Jammers (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459031)

Not if you plug it into the cigarette lighter socket :)

Re:Jammers (1)

Kiralan (765796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459197)

Minor point - Most 'cigarette lighter' sockets I've encountered are only powered when the ignition is in the 'on' position, or possibly 'accessory' position (Not sure on accessory)

Re:Jammers (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459429)

Depends entirely on the make of the car. My VW's outlet is on all the time, and my previous vehicle, a GM, had it on all the time too (though I think the behavior might have been selectable).

Re:Jammers (1)

Boomerang Fish (205215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459565)

A former Toyota I had worked that way, but the Ford I currently drive leaves the socket live all the time... I've killed a battery before because I forgot this.

--
I drank what?

wow...129$ for a 50$ Jammer? (2, Informative)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459295)

yea, was thinking the same thing...
According to a news post in boing boing [boingboing.net] and according to the manufacturer's website [brando.com] , it's for 50$

Gimme a break (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458773)

What...is this April 1? Massachusetts isn't big enough to get lost in, much less require a tracking device to find her if she goes off-leash...I mean, someone.

How hard would it be to detect (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458845)

if you have one of these under your car or something? i assume they all use ordinary mobile phone networks to phone home but where do they usually put it, can it be anywhere under the car?

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458901)

The article stated that they broke into his car to install it - probably somewhere within the engine. Not sure if it has an onboard battery or if it used the car's power system. I wonder if you found it and removed it what the repercussions would be.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459015)

I wonder if you found it and removed it what the repercussions would be.

That depends what you did with it after removing it - for example you could install it in your next-door neighbour's car, or strap it to a raccoon living in a nearby forest.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459069)

Long haul truck would be about as funny as a package delivery truck.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459225)

if I found an unauthorised GPS tag/tracker on my car, would I be OK to put it up for sale on ebay?

Me, being a geek, I'd probably hack some interesting tracks into it (can probably download tracks off the internet of people's holidays) including one that would spell out F*** Y** when overlayed on a map.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458917)

I thought GPS devices needed a relatively clear view of the sky. I'd imagine the body of the car would block the satellite signals, but maybe I'm wrong.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458977)

The obvious place to install it is under the dashboard or the rear deck. Dashboards are made out of foam and plastic these days and there's plenty of always-on, ignition-on, etc. power under the dash. A rear install is trickier, but a lot of cars have an amplifier back there these days.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458943)

Here's my question: what happens when you find one under your car? Do you have to leave it there? For how long -- forever?

Re:How hard would it be to detect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458991)

Say hello to your shiny new collection of GPS devices! Wipe them of any identifying information and do what you will. For fun, find it, switch it with a local cops car. Enjoy following the news the next week

Re:How hard would it be to detect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459103)

You haven't been served with any papers about it. As far as you know, you found a bomb. You remove it. If they have a sticker on it explaining what it is and "drop in the mail postage guaranteed" you do that (maybe). What you'd like to do (tape it under an annoying coworker's car) is probably the only way you could really get in trouble for removing an unknown device from under your own vehicle.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (3, Funny)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459125)

Fortunately, in Massachusetts, we all ride bicycles. I think they put it on the handlebars or something.

Re:How hard would it be to detect (3, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459193)

guess again, sales of Preparation H(tm) were up 8% in Massachusetts last month and nitrile gloves 10%. they probe and plant while you sleep

Taxes: they WILL be used against you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458851)

So why the hell do you keep falling for, "But we MEAN well when we take YOUR money!"

Maybe they do - for NOW.

What the hell is wrong with that state? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458877)

So, so far, in Massachusetts, it's illegal to leave Lite Brites out [wikipedia.org] , illegal to wear a shirt with LEDs on it [boston.com] , illegal to do chemistry at home [slashdot.org] , illegal to delete spam email(!!) [sys-con.com] , and now it's legal to secretly track people with GPS systems?!

What the hell is wrong with that state?

Re:What the hell is wrong with that state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29458953)

Well, it was the home of John Kerry.

No Suprise (2, Interesting)

vehicle tracking (1357065) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458923)

Police can do almost anything by with a warrant. However, I would argue that if there is probable cause to track a vehicle with a gps tracking [rmtracking.com] that it can be done without a warrant.

Re:No Suprise (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459011)

Probable cause is what's needed to OBTAIN A WARRANT. If you don't have a warrant, even if there's probable cause, then the search/tracking is inadmissable evidence.

Re:No Suprise (1)

vehicle tracking (1357065) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459263)

Right - this is true now for Massachusetts pertaing to GPS. Not true for similar investigative means. Probable cause is all that's needed to make an arrest or search a vehicle without a warrant.

Re:No Suprise (1)

Kiralan (765796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459269)

I do have to wonder... If, in the process of installing said tracker, they find a 'kilo' of whatever in the vehicle, is the warrant to install the device narrow enough in scope to exclude that discovery? Also, what would prevent them from 'just happening' to pull you over an hour later, and 'finding' it at that time?

Re:No Suprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459313)

... they find a 'kilo' of whatever in the vehicle ...

One idea is to not store your "kilo of whatever" in your car.

Re:No Suprise (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459343)

This is just a wild shot in the dark, but perhaps your best defense from that would be to avoid keeping a "'kilo' of whatever" in your vehicle. Of course, is they did find contraband while installing a tracking device without your knowledge or consent, you could always claim the evidence was planted -- they are sneaking into your vehicle to do this, it's not like they have any lawyers or reliable witnesses. If you haven't done anything wrong, then the fact that they are tracking you in the first place would be considered a pretty good indication of harassment; it's a pretty small jump to planting evidence.

Manhattan, NY (2, Funny)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29458949)

Your car doesn't necessarily mean you, in fact in Manhattan, NY, most people don't use their own transportation, and as far as I know, most crimes nowadays are emerging from there :)

Re:Manhattan, NY (2, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459135)

Of course, if technologically enabled warrantless snooping is okay, they could track which subway entrances were used to determine where you've been. [nytimes.com] In the linked case, tracking confirmed an alibi. But it could just as easily be used for fishing expeditions if not confined to the scope of a warrant based on probable cause.

Re:Manhattan, NY (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459551)

If Massachusetts is tracking Manhattan criminals, there are bigger problems than GPS.

Re:Manhattan, NY (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459591)

No no no... your car IS you... but much like your journal, sometimes you can write a little fiction to keep things interesting. For example:

1. Discover hidden GPS tracker on car
2. Drive to orphanage, tell them a friend of yours is interested in picking up a lot of young girls and taking them to his large mansion where he'll keep them safe.
3. Drive to seedy area of town where "working girls" are located. Park for 2 minutes.
4. Drive to governor's mansion and ditch car for the night, pick it up in the morning.
5. Get busted.
6. Watch governor attempt to explain to "crazy allegations." brought to him by the DA or a scrappy cub reporter trying to make a name for himself.

Or for a simpler laugh:

1. Discover hidden GPS tracker on car
2. Put tracker in wallet for the day. Go inside banks, malls, stores, work, etc.
3. Reattach to car, where it was hidden.

Look out .. (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459001)

.. for more car theft now. Criminal steals your car, commits crime, and you're pretty much toast.

Re:Look out .. (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459221)

You mean, look out for more "car theft" now.

Jamming GPS Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459021)

Jam the GPS tracking with an on-board EMF field.

I Disagree that a Warrant is Needed (1)

TechnologyResource (1638031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459077)

How is it that a police officer can enter your vehicle or home without a warrant if he or she believes a crime has been, is being, or will be committed?

How is it that a police officer can run 24/7 surveillance of video and audio without a warrant when he or she is investigating a suspected crime?

How is it that a police officer can tow a vehicle, search a vehicle, or even confiscate a vehicle whithout a warrant when he or she believes it has been used in the commission of a crime?

But, they can't track a vehicle without a warrant???

I disagree with your disagree (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459215)

"The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled in favor of John Law tracking you with secret GPS devices in Massachusetts provided a warrant is obtained."

Sounds like a warrant is needed to me.

Re:I Disagree that a Warrant is Needed (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459237)

How is it that a police officer can break into my car to install one of these (after first breaking into my garage) without first identifying himself as a police officer or showing me a warrant, and expect to not get shot as a car thief when he gets caught?

Re:I Disagree that a Warrant is Needed (1)

TechnologyResource (1638031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459541)

Who said anything about entering a garage or a vehicle? These devices are often placed on or under a vehicle with a magnet.

Re:I Disagree that a Warrant is Needed (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459537)

How is it that a police officer can enter your vehicle or home without a warrant if he or she believes a crime has been, is being, or will be committed?

Because that is their job. Serve and protect. If my house is being raided by thieves I don't want the police waiting for a warrant before they come inside.

How is it that a police officer can run 24/7 surveillance of video and audio without a warrant when he or she is investigating a suspected crime?

Wiretapping by the *police* requires a warrant. Feds however are above the law, did Nixon teach you NOTHING?!

But, they can't track a vehicle without a warrant???

It pleases me when states get it right.

I really think you and I are on the same page-- the police do frequently overstep their authority and innocent people get harassed needlessly. Though, I still believe that these are a tiny minority of police cases. It is our job as the public to keep them in check when they go to far. Protecting the public *and* respecting their privacy can be pulled off, but the continued animosity between people and the police certainly isn't helping. Despite the woefully fear-mongering title, explicitly requiring a warrant for this type of surveillance is a very good thing.

Re:I Disagree that a Warrant is Needed (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459599)

How is it that a police officer can enter your vehicle or home without a warrant if he or she believes a crime has been, is being, or will be committed?

You mean in hot pursuit, to prevent evidence from being destroyed? I don't think there would be many situations like this that would facilitate installing a GPS tracker.

How is it that a police officer can run 24/7 surveillance of video and audio without a warrant when he or she is investigating a suspected crime?

Only of public spaces, not inside of your home. This should eventually be restricted as webcams on every street corner with automatic facial/speech recognition would create a bit too much surveillance of everyone.

How is it that a police officer can tow a vehicle, search a vehicle, or even confiscate a vehicle whithout a warrant when he or she believes it has been used in the commission of a crime?

Yes, there is an unfortunate and overbroad exception on search of cars that supposedly have reduced privacy expectations compared to homes and personal possessions. However, a right to search does not automatically give right to covertly place surveillance equipment.

The cops need a warrant... where is the problem? (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459079)

Slashdot News Flash! If the cops obtain a warrant, they can do stuff they can't do otherwise!

Personally, I don't even think a warrant should be necessary, but MA has gone above and beyond here and required one. If your house can be searched, your phone tapped, your DNA scanned, your financial records checked, etc., with a warrant, why not a tracking device on your car?

SirWired

Re:The cops need a warrant... where is the problem (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459183)

Because there is a lot more possible abuse. For example, you have one of these things installed (chances are without your knowing) and a friend borrows your car and takes it somewhere that looks bad, they then use this "evidence" to frame you even though you weren't the person driving the car. Even worse, someone takes it off your car and puts it on a different car, etc. What happens if someone steals your car? This relies on the flawed argument that if someone is driving your car it -must- be you.

Re:The cops need a warrant... where is the problem (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459273)

Shit, why not just shoot you with a tranquilizer dart, install a tag in your ear and attach a radio transmitter collar around your neck? No warrant is required for doing this to wild animals, why should a warrant be required for humans?

Re:The cops need a warrant... where is the problem (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459579)

And while they're at it, why don't they shoot you for food? Your analogy sucks.

Re:The cops need a warrant... where is the problem (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459297)

Slashdot News Flash! If the cops obtain a warrant, they can do stuff they can't do otherwise!

Yeah, it's like when Pacman eats the big dot...

Here's the problem (5, Insightful)

mariox19 (632969) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459083)

Advocates of this sort of thing say it is like having a police officer tail a person of interest. I'm sorry but it is not at all like that.

Prior to tracking by GPS, if the police wanted to track someone, they had to assign an officer, or multiple officers, to track him. This is the world we lived with, and this world is the context in which we reasoned about whether or not cops should be allowed to tail someone. I'm sure there was very little debate, if any, but that was because the scarcity of police relative to the population was a limit as to how many people the police could tail. It did not occur to us that the police would start tailing everybody, or even very many people. It was simply unimaginable that they would have the resources to invade the public's privacy

With the advent of GPS, we are now in a completely different economic-political context requiring that we must reconsider the issue and not simply continue right along with the policies put in place in a different world.

Where once police had to carefully consider whether or not it was worth the expenditure of their limited manpower to tail a person, they now no longer have to. Where once privacy protections were taken for granted by the very nature of what tailing people required, they can no longer be. It is reasonable to consider the possibility that GPS tracking could become widespread for all sorts of issues that would be considered minor, today. The police, as the costs of such tracking drop, will ask themselves "Why not?" The cost to society will be an enormous loss of privacy.

Don't let anyone try to tell you that there is no privacy issue because cops already tail people.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459411)

EXACTLY. This is what I have been saying for years. There has to be some limitation put on technology enforcing the law against men's actions rather than men enforcing the law against men's actions.

Re:Here's the problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459489)

As long as there is a scarcity of judges the answer to "why not" is "because I don't want to wait for hours the hearing only to get rejected anyway"

Deer whistle repaced by GPS-jammer (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459177)

I have been wanting to buy a cellphone jammer. Add a GPS jammer [shoponspot.com] to my Christmas Stocking...

Re:Deer whistle repaced by GPS-jammer (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459369)

Those deer whistle are pretty useless anyway... no matter how many times I blow it, I can't get the damn deer to come.

Re:Deer whistle repaced by GPS-jammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29459569)

Your obviously not doing it right, try grabbing his nuts.

Plan (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29459445)

1. Remove GPS tracking device and attach to neighbor's car.
2. Have awesome alibis when neighbor goes somewhere
3. Profit?

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