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GPS Tracking Without a Warrant Declared Legal

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the track-away dept.

Privacy 926

jnaujok writes "The Ninth Circuit court has declared that attaching a GPS tracker to your car, as it sits in your driveway, or by extension on a public street, and then using it to monitor every one of your movements, is totally legal, and can be performed by the police without needing a warrant. So, if you live in the Western United States, big brother has arrived."

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slashdot won't care (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373708)

we hardly ever leave our mom's basements anyways

Why should I worry? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373794)

I really don't think that the police or CIA or FBI or Illuminati have any interest in me. I am a law abiding citizen, and as far as I am concerned this is not news.

Re:Why should I worry? (4, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374036)

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Re:Why should I worry? (5, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374080)

This is the WORST possible argument one can give regarding the erosion of our rights.

It is never acceptable to give away our rights...regardless of whether we ever perceive we may need them. SHould I take away your right to free speech, because you don't speak about controversial topics? How about taking away your right to the free pratice of your religion? How about taking away your right to be secure in person & property...the government doesn't want my stuff, why should I care if they take away Joe's house?

For the love of god people...this shit is important to everyone. I can't believe anyone would say "Who cares?" when it comes to our rights & freedoms.

Sauce for the goose (5, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373716)

So then, it must also be legal for me to put one of these devices on my wife's car, or on the local squad cars, without their knowledge? Why do different rules apply to government employees than apply to the rest of us?

Re:Sauce for the goose (5, Insightful)

mbrod (19122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373760)

That's what I was thinking. What if someone puts these devices on all cop cars and creates an app to publish where they are all at real time? Bet they wouldn't like that, but would it be legal?

Re:Sauce for the goose (5, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373820)

Considering the way some of them spaz out when they get photographed in a public place, they'd go totally ballistic. But it would be a great way to identify where the speed traps are.

Re:Sauce for the goose (1, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373844)

I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be. A law saying "police officers can do X" does not mean "anyone can do X" unless you recently got the ability to tazer people.

Re:Sauce for the goose (4, Informative)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373978)

You are looking at this wrong, here in the USA the laws do not tell us what we can do, they tell us what we can not do.

So, if it is not considered a violation of the 5th amendment and there is no law saying "You can not attach GPS devices to police cars" or "You can not monitor police" or any variation there of, then it is legal.

Re:Sauce for the goose (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374018)

I guess this is different in different countries, but many times police authority is simply an extension to self-defense laws and such. Which is to say, you have just as much right to tazer someone as the police does and the same basic principle determines whether it's legal or not.
This is basically the reason for warrants and such. They extend the legal authority of a court or attorney to the police, because the police as such should not have greater rights than the civilians.

But I don't really have a clue as to how this works in the US.

Re:Sauce for the goose (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374084)

unless you recently got the ability to tazer people.

I just got my mall cop license, so I'm good to go.

Re:Sauce for the goose (4, Insightful)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373878)

My question is, if I find a device on one of my motorcycles or car, is it legal for me to remove said strange device. One of those times I like being in Canada

Re:Sauce for the goose (5, Insightful)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373936)

Actually I'd think it a great time to sanitize the vehicle incase you were doing something naughty. Then call in the local news media and bomb squad. Nothing like advertising what the police are doing with the publics time and money and making them use up more of it sending out the bomb squad to remove their device.

Re:Sauce for the goose (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373988)

^^This. If the police department starts becoming responsible for a bunch of overblown bomb hoaxes a la Boston, this idea will go down faster than a lead balloon.,

Re:Sauce for the goose (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373948)

Go to a mall, remove it from yours and attach it to the car next to you.

Re:Sauce for the goose (2, Funny)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374066)

Attaching it to a city bus would be better, you could probably just stick it under a seat. Then, if you feel like having fun, call the transit authorities and say you saw a funny looking device on one of their vehicles.

Re:Sauce for the goose (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373848)

Time for a Constitutional Amendment.....

No. I take that back.

Where in the Constitution was the central EU government ever given permission to tracking the People's movements (whether walking, horseback riding, or in a car)? I can not find it. The US Court has made a poor decision, because they ignored Our Rights in amendments 9 and 10. If such a power exist, it has been reserved to the Member States (or the people).

Re:Sauce for the goose (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374148)

The US Court has made a poor decision, because they ignored Our Rights in amendments 9 and 10. If such a power exist, it has been reserved to the Member States (or the people).

I'd have to go back and read the article again... but was this done by federal officials or state police?

Re:Sauce for the goose (3, Informative)

redelm (54142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373866)

No, they don't! The "police" have no special powers other than exactly what statutes give them under special circumstances (arrest, crime in progress, etc). Since I do not know of any statute granting GPS powers, the only way the police can do this legally is because everyone can.

This is an important distinction between the American & British (&other systems): In the US, the government derives its' powers by delegation from The People. If The People do not have a power, they cannot delegate it. Under the UK (&other) systems, the Sovereign holds all powers which S/He graciously grants to the people,
starting with Magna Carta. The Sovereign still holds other power unavailable to individuals.

Re:Sauce for the goose (4, Interesting)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373880)

I think somebody should put GPS transmitters on the Ninth Circuit justices' cars immediately, and register wheremyjudgesat.com.

Re:Sauce for the goose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374026)

Why would I care about where they were sitting?

Re:Sauce for the goose (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373896)

Because Government is the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. They are different from you by definition. It's like this in every single nation-state that has ever existed.

Re:Sauce for the goose (1)

shredwheat (199954) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373900)

Your wife is a government employee?

Heh (1, Troll)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373724)

inb4 inevitable Obama bashing even though any current administration/court system would do the same damn thing.

Quick question for the Americans here: How does it feel to have "won" the cold war only to become your ex-enemy? Really, the irony just doesn't get any better than that.

Re:Heh (2, Interesting)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373750)

What would Obama have to do with this anyway? This is the result of a case from 2007.

Re:Heh (3, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373828)

Clearly, you've missed the whole "Liberal Fascism" meme that's been positively sweeping the country. Lucky bastard.

Re:Heh (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373842)

it's just another troll that wants to blame Obama for everything, even the BP gulf mess and probably even lag when playing WoW.

Re:Heh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373982)

Damn Obama lag!

Re:Heh (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373990)

Clearly you didn't read my post. You'll fit right in here.

Re:Heh (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374124)

Clearly you didn't write your post clearly.

Re:Heh (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374142)

Well, theres no Stasi agent sitting in the attic of where I live listening to me, so we've not become our former adversaries.

Theres no GULAG chain across Alaska either.

According to the Soviet Criminal Code, agitation or propaganda carried on for the purpose of weakening Soviet authority, or circulating materials or literature that defamed the Soviet State and social system were punishable by imprisonment for a term of 2–5 years; for a second offense, punishable for a term of 3–10 years.

If that was happening now in the US, then David Letterman would be in court right now for claiming President Obama is going to be a one-term President.

The passport system in the Soviet Union restricted migration of citizens within the country through the residential permit/registration system and the use of internal passports.

That doesn't exist here, I was able to move from Washington to Alaska without any permits what so ever. Just car insurance, proof of cat vaccination and valid Passport to get back into the US. Not even a search.

Reasonable expectation of privacy (4, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373728)

Where I grew up, a person's driveway is most definitely within the domain of "reasonable expectation of privacy." And it's backed up with "git offa ma propertie! "

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373756)

And of course it stripped out the part that looks like a markup language tag. It was supposed to end with:

[click, click, bang!]

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373776)

I agree with you and the dissenting Judge Kozinski (Regan appointee). Judge Kozinski said that the court was prejudiced against poor people, taking away their rights simply beause they could not afford a garage He was right, your driveway is your property, people have an expectation of privacy on it.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (3, Insightful)

daniel_newby (1335811) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373956)

No, you have zero expectation of privacy in your driveway. What you have is an expectation of non-trespass and non-vandalism.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (4, Interesting)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374146)

You could very easily argue that installing gear without your knowledge to your car while in your driveway would be considered vandalism. I'm just uncertain why they can't get a warrant to do it. There seems to be a war on oversight for the last decade and realistically even longer. When it become bad to have to justify your actions? In the case of FISA you don't even have to justify it before you do it.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374074)

"He was right, your driveway is your property, people have an expectation of privacy on it."

Can you post a streetview link, so that we can have a looksee at your privacy?

Needs a Supreme Court ruling (4, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373730)

Other District Courts of appeals have ruled it illegal. Right now, it is illegal in Washington DC, but legal in California. Time for Kagan to show us what she's made of.

Re:Needs a Supreme Court ruling (-1, Offtopic)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373784)

Yeah, but they can smoke weed in cali so what do they care? They're too high to give a shit.

Re:Needs a Supreme Court ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374072)

Remember this came from the 9th circuit. It was a conservative on the appeals bench that objected. Kagan is cut from the same cloth as the one's who imposed this ruling in the first place. Expect no help there. However, the conservatives and the swing votes will be enough to overturn this.

Re:Needs a Supreme Court ruling (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374090)

I got bad news for you on that one, but the plot spoiler is probably one you don't want to hear. Kagan is not a friend to those who want limited government.

Re:Needs a Supreme Court ruling (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374138)

Which is insanely screwed up. The most liberal court is ruling in favor of less freedom while a fairly conservative court is ruling in favor of more freedom. What is this, bizarro world?

so we can attach trackers to cop cars right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373734)

and politicians cars, and their kids and wives cars, and post that information on a public website because it isn't illegal right?

Power from the people (2, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373738)

Since police powers are an extension of the rights every citizen possesses it will naturally be legal for anyone to do this without permission.

Re:Power from the people (2, Interesting)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373804)

Wait, you can detain and arrest people in the States as a citizen? And enter people's homes (with your bosses permission)? And tase people who get unruly?

Re:Power from the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373922)

Wait, you can detain and arrest people in the States as a citizen? And enter people's homes (with your bosses permission)? And tase people who get unruly?

It isn't used, but there is the right of Citizen's Arrest (had a teacher that pulled this on a 9 yr old that attempted to steal candy at a gas station; yes that guy was a prick). As for entering people's homes, their rights are slightly different if they are a bounty hunter (rare enough).

Re:Power from the people (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373968)

More or less yes. You have to have justifiable cause and the details may vary by state but every citizen can make an arrest for a crime or even a planned crime. This is how police officers get their arresting power.

There was a case a few years ago of an immigrant police officer who was found out not to have valid citizenship and that invalidated all of his arrests. He had been brought in illegally as a child and never became naturalized. The interesting twist is that he had been an MP in the US military for which you do not need to be a citizen to serve.

Re:Power from the people (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373980)

Wait, you can detain and arrest people in the States as a citizen?

Arrest, yes, but mostly as a stopgap until the police can arrive.

And enter people's homes

I guess if you could get a judge to give you a warrant, like the police.

And tase people who get unruly?

Unruly? Depends, you can taze people in certain circumstances. But now we're getting into the discussion about whether or not a cop should be able to taze you just for being unruly...

Re:Power from the people (1)

alangerow (610060) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374012)

There are "Citizen Arrest" statutes. It's not the bosses permission police officer's have to enter someone's home, it's a court signed warrant, and if you can get a court of law to give you rightful access to a property, then you can enter someone's home without their permission. (Good luck with that, though) Though you can enter someone's property in case of an emergency, i.e. saving a baby from a burning building, just as the cops can. And you have the right to protect yourself and your property, so you can taze people who get unruly and present a reasonable danger to your own personal safety.

Re:Power from the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374094)

It's called a "citizen's arrest". You can do it when you catch someone in the act of committing a serious crime. There are further niceties, but that's the basic idea.

Anyone has the right to subdue someone who threatens injury or damage with his violent behavior.

Entering people's homes to look for evidence of a crime or to see whether a criminal is hiding there is only allowed with a warrant, which goes far beyond anyone's boss's permission in legal standing. Anyone can enter a home with the permission of its resident.

You can also cross property lines to enact a citizen's arrest or subdue a violent person, and in other emergency situations.

So yeah, police powers are pretty much just the powers of an ordinary citizen, except in traffic where they get to play referee, and when they're assigned to do things on behalf of the court.

There's a whole lot more presumption that a police officer's actions are legitimate, but there isn't supposed to be much really major that they can do that any citizen can't.

Re:Power from the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373938)

That statement makes no sense.
'Since police powers are an extension of the rights every citizen possesses'
That statement means that Police powers inherit all Citizen rights AND has more beyond that.
That does nothing to extend base citizen rights.

TLDR; needs sarcasm tags?

Why I despair (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373742)

What really bothers me about stories like this is that the general public seems to not care.

I'm sure it's awful to live in a country where protesting the government will get you arrested or worse.

But it's a different kind of awful to have friends and neighbors who just can't be bothered to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens.

Re:Why I despair (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373838)

I think people care, but people are also aware that the only ruling that matters will be SCOTUS. Currently, this is a hot issue in various courts and they all rule differently. SCOTUS will make the call that defines this issue.

Re:Why I despair (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373876)

But it's a different kind of awful to have friends and neighbors who just can't be bothered to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens.

The problem is, that's not how they see it -- you're not asking them to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens, you're asking them to stick up for the civil rights of criminals. In today's culture, suspicion == guilt.

Re:Why I despair (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374022)

Even in the comments to this article, at least one person echoed the common sentiment, "I don't do anything illegal so I have nothing to worry about."

People seem oblivious to the fact that, if these sorts of encroachments are tolerated, authorities will only seek more and more power--until something you do every day actually is illegal, and we'll have the monitoring infrastructure to back it up and enforce it.

Long time been (1)

bbands (1068870) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373746)

Nah, big bro already been here for a looooong time...

If this is how privacy of a driveway is viewed.... (1, Redundant)

kenrblan (1388237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373758)

If this is how privacy of a driveway is viewed by the court, it should also follow that a private citizen placing a tracking device on someone's vehicle is not trespassing or violating privacy. I suspect a certain Judge might end up with a GPS tracking device on his car. We need to know where our activist judges are going.

Muddy Line (1)

lavaforge (245529) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373762)

If I'm reading this right, it would be a breach of your rights if your car was in an enclosed garage, or if you had a fence around your yard.

What about a carport?

What about a keep out sign?

Where do you draw the line on this one, if not using the traditionally assumed legal boundary of the property line?

Can a citizen track a "public servant"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33373764)

But can a citizen track the position of a "public servant"?

The Ninth Circuit (4, Funny)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373770)

I've been sitting here for 5 min trying to come up with a snarky comment, but the shear stupidity of this has rubbed off on me and I've got nothing.

Re:The Ninth Circuit (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374004)

Did you really just post a comment on not being able to post a comment? Wow you need emotional support.

Re:The Ninth Circuit (1)

yoZan (1880862) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374130)

And your comment just made him need even more emotional support.

So Then... (2, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373782)

I can walk through the parking lot at the police station and attach GPS transmitters to all the squad cars and publish that information to the internet because they have no expectation of privacy, right?

Re:So Then... (3, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373850)

no no no, those are govt property... attach it to their personal veheicles.

It's like 4square for life (4, Insightful)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373788)

Woo Hoo ... now I can finally keep track of which Strip Clubs to go to when I want to have a word with my Congressman.

Land of the free? (4, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373806)

I guess that is free as in beer? Having said that, here in the Netherlands it isn't much better. At least you guys are allowed to insult politicians.

My driveway and or public streets (1)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373812)

But what if i park in my neighbor's driveway?

New market for GPS Jammers? (3, Interesting)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373826)

I can understand why this decision turned out the way it did. Placing a tracking device on your vehicle is about the same as following you around with an unmarked vehicle. It's much harder to detect of course and so you might think you are unobserved when that's not true.

Anyways I can see this possibly creating a small market for GPS jamming devices. The legality of such devices of course would be questionable if not outright illegal.

Re:New market for GPS Jammers? (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373946)

Clearly the answer is to stay off the radar by living off-planet. I for one, hate the moon this time of year.

Re:New market for GPS Jammers? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373970)

Though when you have someone following you they have dedicated "boots on the ground" resources to do so. Planting and monitoring a device is a trivial amount of effort compared to dedicating personnel to the task and would be treated equally as trivially.

Re:New market for GPS Jammers? (4, Insightful)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374024)

You missed the finer points. Like the fact that they tresspassed on him driveway to plant the device...

Personally if driveways are public space, then I want to go setup a cookout on the driveway of one of these judges...

Re:New market for GPS Jammers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374064)

GPS jammers are not illegal, at least not yet. You can get ones that plug into your cigarette lighter for around $30. Range is 2-10 meters, enough to cover most cars.

http://www.thejammerstore.com/

Liberal/Conservative bias (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373834)

The article actually covers the facts fairly well, but it would be much better if the writer didn't label every quote "conservative" or "liberal" with a seemingly naive understanding of the meaning of those terms. For example, when one judge points out that not enough poor people become judges, so they are underrepresented, he is labeled a "raging liberal." This comes from the oversimplified stereotype that liberals love the poor and conservatives hate them. I would expect this from radio or TV pundits, but not from Time magazine.

Just build yourself on of these (4, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373854)

http://www.ladyada.net/make/wavebubble/

Then they won't see ya!

Only if they can do it with out getting shot (2, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373870)

In Texas I can use deadly force to protect myself, my Property, and others.

If I see a person, in my drive way, F**King with my Car or Truck, I will shoot them.

So, They have the right to put it there and I have the right to shoot them to protect my property. Sounds fair.

The real question comes in not the legality of the placement but in the legality of trespassing to place it, and if your car is in a locked garage can they break in to place it?

Good Riddance to the Ninth Circuit (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373874)

Better RTFA before you complain too much; warrants aren't the only method of police oversight and just because it didn't require a warrant doesn't mean gathered data will be automatically or easily permitted in court. It's possible, though I admit unlikely, that oversight of GPS tracking will be completely effective and complete even without warrant requirements. Complaints about this ruling may also be a moot point within a year or so; I can already hear the keyboards clacking as every ACLU lawyer between Seattle and Pheonix prepares their case to push this issue up to SCOTUS.

In any case, I'm still damn happy to have moved to North Carolina and out from under the 9th Circuit. I'm not conservative or liberal in particular, but I've always considered them fucking nuts.

Countermeasures (4, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373892)

Okay, so, as a citizen of California, I have a question for the Slashdot techies out there. These GPS trackers that can be tacked onto my vehicle. How large are they? What do they resemble? Do they give off any transmission signal/EM radiation of some sort. I am personally appalled by this particular ruling, but if that's how things are going to be, then let the arms race begin. I want to know what, exactly, these GPS trackers do. Do they transmit your location data back to the GPS sat system? Or do they transmit to some kind of local receiver? Do we know that frequency they transmit on?

If the police and government are going to take active duty to track all citizens, without the burden of providing a reasonable level of suspect, then I say we, as citizens fight back for our rights. If the local police want to track our vehicles, what kind of devices can we hack together to detect these nasty little tracker chips? There has to be some way to build a receiver similar to whatever the police use to detect the GPS data, attach it to a small wand or golf club or something, and wave it around our car every time we get in it to make sure the trackers are not installed. So, GPS nerds out there, how's about we start putting together a How-To to homebrew a GPS tracker detector? Then, if we find a tracker attached to our vehicle, we can simply pull it off and duct tape it to the local stray cat.

Re:Countermeasures (4, Informative)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373998)

The trend is towards cellular phone style devices; GSM or CDMA radios with GPS unit. No keypad or screen required so they can be quite small. Battery life is an issue, however they go to sleep of they aren't moving so they only need to work for the duration of a trip.

Re:Countermeasures (3, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374000)

Then, if we find a tracker attached to our vehicle,

is it ours? What's the law regarding when someone abandons their possessions on your property?

If I found one of these on my vehicle, then I can take possession of it? Didn't someone recently get into the press for finding such a device and ebaying it? iirc the police or whoever contacted ebay and got the auction taken down. I didn't see what happened after that.

Re:Countermeasures (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374014)

If the police and government are going to take active duty to track all citizens, without the burden of providing a reasonable level of suspect, then I say we, as citizens fight back for our rights.

They're organized and have guns. Citizens are generally not organized, even when they have guns. I'm afraid the math doesn't work in your favor.

Re:Countermeasures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374046)

How about something to scramble the GPS signal in the first place. You'd end up with a bubble of gps deadness on wheels.
On the other hand, I guess the poor bastard next to you might suddenly stop in the middle of the road because his/her prius quit working because of it.
OTOH...I could care less about the prius..

Re:Countermeasures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374060)

GPS system is one way - from the satellites => Earth. Your receiver just picks up the signals and triangulates you. So it doesn't "transmit your location data back to the GPS sat system".

Chances are, they'll store the data locally and either transmit the data wirelessly upon command (cop drives by your car, data is retrieved and device wipes itself to record more data) or someone has to manually come by, pull it off your car, download the data (and change the batteries). Or they could transmit continuously (via cellular networks, probably).

The former is mostly passive - you won't be able to detect this without seeing it visually (annoying - imagine having to check every part of your car before driving off from anywhere) or seeing someone tampering with your car (unlikely, unless you have a camera to monitor your car at all times).
The latter, you might be able to pick up with a sensor.

Re:Countermeasures (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374112)

They're small, about the size of a baseball. You can find plenty of personal tracking GPS systems online - look for hiking trail mappers.

Re:Countermeasures (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374116)

Better yet, collect the devices that are planted on peoples vehicles and disable any wireless capabilities temporarily. Hack them to work for the public at large, by instead transmitting their location to advertised websites located in a foreign country. And then start planting them on every marked and unmarked police vehicle you can find. Heck if we can inexpensively manufacture our own such devices it'd be worth doing. Cheap enough and we could extend to placing them on the vehicles of all public servants associated with the original tracking efforts of the police.

Yet another reason (4, Insightful)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373894)

Yet another reason to take the bus or train.

TFA kind of sucks (3, Insightful)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373910)

Can anyone link me to the actual decision, particularly the apparently barnburning dissent? Why why why can't mainstream media link to primary documents occasionally?

Re:TFA kind of sucks (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374068)

They have no profit motive in encouraging people to read primary sources themselves.

Wrong suit to file (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373920)

He should have sued the government for impeding the performance of his vehicle (by adding the weight of the device and also altering the aerodynamics of his car).

Yes, and... (3, Insightful)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373934)

If I find such a device on my car, I will either: 1. Smash it into little tiny bits. 2. Attach it to another car at random. 3. Call the bomb squad an tell them that there is something suspicious on my car that I did not put there. 4. Ignore it. 5. Ebay, baby! Track that mother fuckers!

Cool! (2, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373942)

If I find one of these on my car, it's mine! I can take a hammer to it; or better yet, I can stick it onto a taxicab and laugh out loud while I'm imagining the police scratching their heads and muttering "What the fuck?".

Is this different from just following somebody? (2, Insightful)

cshamis (854596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33373950)

Aside from using a technological tracker, this doesn't seem like it's any more an infringement of privacy than simply having the police follow you everywhere you go. Which they also do not need a warrant to do. Now, to attach a tracker to a car sitting in a driveway would be trespassing... unless the car was parked on a public street, or inside a garage.

Criminalize it and only criminals will have it. (5, Informative)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374008)

This has already [google.com] been circumvented.
So the cops are going after lay citizens and stupid crooks, a fair number of which really do deserve to be caught.

Who else immediately thought "Ben Stiller Show"? (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374048)

Who else immediately thought "Ben Stiller Show"? ...the one where they parody Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and tranquilize "a typical North American Street Bum", and ``Jim'' proceeds to attach "a harmless radio collar", which is actually a huge roll of copper wire. The bum revives, and staggers off under the wight of the roll of wire "completely unharmed, and none the worse for wear".

Wish I could find a link to the video for this... it was hilarious.

-- Terry

Er... what? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374054)

How would attaching a GPS to somebody's else's car not be considered vandalism?

Without something I could only presume is magic, there's no way they can be assured that it can't possibly damage the surface it's put on, hence... vandalism.

Overlooking something (2, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374058)

There's an important distinction here which isn't mentioned above.

From the look of it, they didn't declare that it's explicitly allowed by law, they only declared that it's not prohibited by law under the fourth amendment. IANAL, but that sounds like we're in a much better situation in terms of fighting this than we could be.

This is why GPS jammers have cig lighter plugins (2, Informative)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374062)

This is why most small GPS and cell phone jammers come with cigarette lighter plugins, so they can live in your car. If you want to take a private trip (and not have access to your own GPS or cell phone of course) you may want to invest in one of these (easier than crawling under your car and inspecting it every time you want to go do something. Or so I read in a magazine. http://www.dealextreme.com/search.dx/search.portable%20jammer [dealextreme.com] .

New dog, Old trick (1)

suprcvic (684521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33374098)

This is just the modern day equivalent to them tailing a person. They used to have to sit in a car, wait for the person to go somewhere and follow them hoping they don't get noticed. Now they just tack a gps transmitter to the car. I don't see how this is any more of a problem than tailing was/is.

Takings Clause Violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33374102)

Attaching a GPS to my car increases its mass. By the laws of physics, this means it takes more energy to move the car. This means it consumes more gasoline. Since I pay by the gallon, attaching the GPS costs me money.

The Takings Clause therefore requires the government to compensate me, right?

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