In a unanimous ruling this year, the Supreme Court decided that GPS tracking of criminal subjects by law enforcement required a warrant. With that decision, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had to turn off its 3,000 devices in use but it still wants them back. See the problem here?
The Wall Street Journal reports, FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann saying at a “Big Brother in the 21st Century” conference last week that the ruling has been a “sea change” within the agency. The FBI has had to apply via court order to temporarily turn on the devices, many of which are located under cars, in order to find them for retrieval.
According to WSJ, the ruling has caused the agency to review its GPS policy and other practices as well:
For instance, [Weissmann] said, agency is now “wrestling” with the legality of whether agents can lift up the lid of a trash can without committing trespass. The majority opinion in U.S. v. Jones held that the agents had trespassed when placing the GPS device on a car without warrant.
He said the agency is also considering the implications of the concurring justices – whose arguments were largely based on the idea that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of their movements, even if those movements are in public.
The Supreme Court’s precedent-setting ruling in U.S. v Jones lead Greg Nojeim, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s project on freedom, security and technology, to tell the Blaze at the time that he believed this “signals their willingness to protect privacy in the face of advancing technology.”