Police Can't Attach Tracking Device Without Warrant Says Supreme Court

By Matthew Askari | January 24, 2012
In what is becoming an increasingly relevant issue, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police and the FBI had erred in attaching a GPS tracking device to a Jeep owned by a "suspect." A report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that all justices agreed that a GPS device could not be installed on a car, as it violated Fourth Amendment privacy rights. But the majority opinion, read by justice Antonin Scalia found fault in the act of entering private property to install the device, whereas justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. read the minority opinion— shared by four of the nine judges— stating that the long-term monitoring of the vehicle with a tracking device was in violation of the fourth amendment, regardless of whether or not the device was attached to a car. Multimedia systems, GPS navigation and vehicle tracking are ever more common on newer cars, and while the majority opinion found fault in attaching the device, the minority opinion affects cars that are already wired for such tracking. Earlier today, we reported on OnStar's vision of remote charging for electric and plug-in vehicles, by granting utility companies and the OnStar cloud access to your vehicle's location and specifics, such as battery life. Yesterday the Court ruled that one's car was considered personal property, hence attaching something even as small as a tracking device to that property was a violation of the owner's rights. But does this mean that a suspect needs only to drive a car without vehicle tracking to be free of monitoring by authorities? What do you think about the Supreme Court's ruling?
Source: Wall Street Journal