If GPS tracking is okay for them, is it okay for us?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Another Agitator fan sent me a link to a story regarding a recent Ohio court ruling that upholds warrantless GPS tracking of people in their cars.

[Judge] Holbrook wrote that “a reasonable expectation of privacy” does not exist for those parking and traveling on public roads.

This topic has been in the news for some time and the practice apparently dates back for some years.   I first heard about it when an American born Muslim student discovered a GPS tracker on his car and the FBI demanded it back.    That student has since filed a lawsuit against the FBI for violating his right to privacy.  According to this recent article in WIRED, federal district courts have been inconsistent, but Obama, being no more of a champion of privacy than his moronic predecessor, is trying to get the issue before the Supreme Court so they can dispense with that silly warrant nonsense once and for all.

If it is legal for a cop to follow you when you’re driving, then I believe SCOTUS will rule that GPS tracking constitutes the same thing and is therefore Constitutional.

The person who sent me the link asks this:   If the courts ultimately rule that it’s okay for cops to attach one of these to a car without a warrant, would it not then be perfectly legal for ordinary citizens to do it back to the cops?

My answer would be, no.   There are two kinds of people in this world:   the rulers and the ruled.   If there is anything we know from watching our government in action, the rules (made by the rulers) apply only to the ruled.    But, using the “reasonable expectation of privacy” angle,  it would be hard (not impossible) to argue that cops have an expectation of privacy that citizens don’t have.  We’ve seen Radley make this argument with regard to citizens recording cops, and vice versa.

Anyone else care to weigh in on the question?

[Posted by Dave Krueger]


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57 Responses to “If GPS tracking is okay for them, is it okay for us?”

  1. #1 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Judges….courts….legislators….are not going to fix these situations.

    The people that actually hold these government jobs, and we all know some, need to feel uncomfortable having them.

    From frontline LEOs to the prosecutors….to their secretaries…even the janitor that cleans the courthouse….these people need to be shunned…mocked….their family members embarrassed….that cop that lives next door to you needs to be told to keep his kids away from yours.

    We should not put up with our neighbors and fellow citizens screwing us daily, and then let them be comfortable when they get home.

  2. #2 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Attn: Dave Kreuger – Wanted to get this out for posting by Dave or one of the other guest bloggers, so posted here because it’s a 4th Am. case. http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html

    The Indiana Supreme Court held in a divided vote that there is no right to resist unlawful entry into your home by the police. This eliminated magna carta common law wholesale and went far beyond what even cop loving/statist “conservatives” needed for the case at hand.

    This ruling followed on the heels of another one that eliminated the need for a warrant to do a no-knock raid. The cops on the scene could decide on their own if knocking was appropriate or not. At least now they can stop lying about knocking.
    Apparently the statist Chief Justice was recently appointed by Mitch Daniels.

    Also, if anyone has email info for any of the guests, please let me know. Thanks.

  3. #3 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Greg,

    I wasn’t proposing a system to allow tracking of cops – I assumed one was in place. I was proposing a law to explicitly allow the public to track cops, because of the fun of watching the cops explain how this could be a bad idea.

    Public “Servants” always deeply resent being reminded that THEY work for US, and not the other way around. Any time you propose a measure that makes their hireling status explicit they puff and blow and gibber.

    In a day and age when bureaucracy is spreading like an ever growing termite nest, it’s vital to cultivate a sense of humor about it – or sooner or later your head will explode, making a lot of work for some crime-scene cleanup people.

  4. #4 |  Mannie | 

    #50 | Kevin Carson | May 13th, 2011 at 2:18 am

    A similar issue came up regarding cops who dig through people’s curbside trash without a warrant. A court in some Pacific NW town, in response to a legal challenge, ruled that the material on the curb was discarded, and therefore no reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

    That is old news.

    If I have something mildly sensitive to discard, I shred it and mix it with syrup made from the treasures in the cat box. They had better want it really badly. ;-)

    Really sensitive stuff, of course, would be shredded and burned, but that’s more of a pain.

  5. #5 |  Mannie | 

    #53 | C. S. P. Schofield | May 13th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I wasn’t proposing a system to allow tracking of cops – I assumed one was in place. I was proposing a law to explicitly allow the public to track cops, because of the fun of watching the cops explain how this could be a bad idea.

    If you want to make it really interesting, eliminate the requirement for real time posting. Put a 30 day delay on it, to eliminate any intelligence value. Let Officer Friendly explain why he spent six hours parked under the railway bridge, or in the donut shop.

    Public Serpents should be responsible to their Masters.

  6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #52 Laura Victoria

    Attn: Dave Kreuger – Wanted to get this out for posting by Dave or one of the other guest bloggers, so posted here because it’s a 4th Am. case. http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html

    I just noticed this. I will post this if no one else beats me to it.

    Thanks.

  7. #7 |  markm | 

    The best idea: #22 | Jerith | May 12th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    “So can we take off the tracker and just leave it there in the street? Then call in a suspicious box/package.”

    How do you know what that strange electronic device is? Take a tip from the TSA and various big city police departments – be safe and call the bomb squad to blow up any unknown electronics. After moving it to a safe distance from your property, of course.