In October 2010, local San Jose student Yasir Afifi found out that the FBI was secretly tracking him when he discovered a GPS device in his car. It turned out he was being investigated for about 3-6 months for terrorist activities, all of which he completely denied. On Monday, January 23, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that this kind of investigation was illegal, and police can’t track suspects by installing GPS technology without first obtaining a warrant. As Professor Donald Tibbs from Drexel University says, “The Supreme Court’s decision is an important one because it sends a message that technological advances cannot outpace the American Constitution.” Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Warrant needed for GPS tracking, high court says
By JESSE J. HOLLAND and PETE YOST Associated Press
AP Photo/ Photo by PAUL SAKUMA
Posted: 01/23/2012 07:30:10 AM PST
Updated: 01/23/2012 06:43:42 PM PST
WASHINGTON—In a rare defeat for law enforcement, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed on Monday to bar police from installing GPS technology to track suspects without first getting a judge’s approval. The justices made clear it wouldn’t be their final word on increasingly advanced high-tech surveillance of Americans.
Indicating they will be monitoring the growing use of such technology, five justices said they could see constitutional and privacy problems with police using many kinds of electronic surveillance for long-term tracking of citizens’ movements without warrants.
While the justices differed on legal rationales, their unanimous outcome was an unusual setback for government and police agencies grown accustomed to being given leeway in investigations in post-Sept. 11 America, including by the Supreme Court. The views of at least the five justices raised the possibility of new hurdles down the road for police who want to use high-tech surveillance of suspects, including various types of GPS technology.
Submission by Gail Noble: Do you feel like your 4th Amendment is being violated if police searched your Blackberry/cell phone during a traffic stop without a warrant? Check out California v. Nottoli, and you decide.
Reported by mulltiple sites, including pogowasright.org (a privacy politics site)
The California Court of Appeal on September 26approved a police officer’s rifling through the cell phone belonging to someone who had just been pulled over for a traffic violation.
Reid Nottoli was pulled over on December 6, 2009 just before 2am as he was taking a female friend home. Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff Steven Ryan said Nottoli’s silver Acura TL had been speeding on Highway 1. After speaking with Nottoli on the side of the road, Ryan suspected the 25-year-old was under the influence of a stimulant drug. His license was also expired, so Ryan said he would impound the vehicle. Nottoli asked if his car could stay parked on the side of the road, which was not heavily traveled and out of the way. Ryan refused so that he could conduct an “inventory” search prior to the towing.