Obama Administration Argues For Warrantless GPS Tracking

As you may recall, last year we covered the U.S. v Antoine Jones case in detail. The case involved an alleged drug trafficker in the D.C. area. Police gathered enough evidence to convict Jones, but the verdict was appealed because police failed to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS tracking device to his vehicle. Jones went back and forth in appeals courts until his case landed in the high U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court judges ruled that a warrant was necessary for tracking suspects with a GPS device. More than a year after that historic ruling, the ObamaRead More

GPS Subject Tracking is Set Aside (for the Moment)

The high court has ruled that government may not use GPS tracking on subjects without obtaining a warrant. In the case of United States v. Antoine Jones, justices concurred that the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure had been violated when law enforcement agents placed a GPS tracking device on Antoine Jones’ Jeep Grand Cherokee. After Jones, a night club owner in Washington, D.C. had been accused of narcotics violations, they traced his movements for 24 hours per day for four weeks during an investigation period between 2004-2005 without a warrant or Jones’ consent. The courtRead More

Privacy Rights and New Technology – Are They at Odds?

Owning a cell phone and all of its perks is simply part of 21st-century living. They not only keep us in contact with our world, they are in part a biographical sketch of our lives. For instance, if someone took a close look at your cell phone, they would see what kind of music you enjoy, pictures and videos of your friends and families, what you are streaming and watching, get a close look at your contacts, see what games you play, and find how you spend a good amount of your time.   Goodbye Fourth Amendment? The addition ofRead More

Leftover GPS-related Case Almost Slips through the Cracks


Earlier this year, the United States’ legislative branch really made law enforcement angry. The Supreme Court made a decision involving gathering of evidence via GPS: A warrant was required, the high court said, in order to clandestinely install a GPS tracking device on the vehicle of a criminal suspect. To say the least, this threw the law enforcement community for a loop, as longstanding policies, from the FBI down to small rural police stations, had to be revisited and modified. In some cases, existing cases had to be handled in an entirely different manner. Now, the Ninth Circuit Court ofRead More

ACLU Sues FBI For GPS Tracking Memos

GPS Supreme Court

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been on the front lines of the warrantless GPS tracking debate from day one. Now, almost a year after the Supreme Court ruled that tracking suspects with a GPS device is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the ACLU is suing the FBI over documents regarding the ruling. At that time, the FBI had an estimated 3,000 GPS tracking devices on the field, with and without warrants. When the Supreme Court’s ruling was announced, the FBI sent out two memos to agents, instructing them to turn off allRead More

Does GPS Belong in the Workplace?

GPS Supreme Court

US v. Jones rocked the world of law enforcement, sending many offices including the FBI back to square one on many cases of GPS surveillance that lacked a warrant granting the right for this intrusion into the private lives of many suspected criminals. It was the unanimous agreement that any surveillance period using a GPS tracking device takes away an individual’s expectation of privacy when going about their day-to-day activities. After any landmark Supreme Court decision such as this more issues are typically brought before the court relating to it, and some wonder if the court will soon address theRead More

Evidence Collected With Warrantless GPS Tracking Device Deemed Admissible

GPS Supreme Court

It appears not all citizens are protected from warrantless tracking after all, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Jones case which declared GPS tracking of suspected criminals conducted without a warrant unconstitutional. In Iowa, a federal judge decided evidence gathered with a warrantless GPS tracking device installed on the vehicle in the case against a suspected drug trafficker is admissible in court. DEA agents affixed a GPS tracking device on the car of Angel Amaya without first obtaining a warrant, and US District Judge Mark Bennett declared the evidence was admissible in court because the device was placedRead More

Iowa Police Chief Weighs In On Supreme Court’s Warrantless Tracking Decision

GPS Supreme Court

We’ve provided extensive coverage of the recent Supreme Court ruling calling for authorities to first obtain a warrant prior to placing a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car. The FBI is merely one of many agencies who have frowned upon the decision, arguing that it is just going to make their jobs more difficult by making it harder to prove the wrong-doings of certain suspects. Others, like Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine, disagree. Regarding the court’s ruling, Hargadine said, “I’m surprised it’s taken this long, and I would agree with the court that this is an invasion of privacy.Read More

FBI Winds Down GPS Tracking Program

GPS Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down GPS installation and tracking without a warrant is changing the way the Federal Bureau of Investigation builds cases against suspected criminals nationwide. When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia penned his decision, which was part of a majority by the Court, the FBI was required to instantly cease and desist all GPS tracking that was not covered by a warrant. The decision ended permission for what some law enforcement officials claim is as an essential task in building cases against criminals in the United States. A Law Enforcement Essential? In 2004, suspected drug kingpinRead More

GPS and Warrants: The Supreme Court’s Decision

GPS Tracking Supreme Court

At the end of January 2012, the Supreme Court gave its final ruling in the case of United States vs. Jones. Though unanimous, the judges did have different reasons for their decision to rule in favor of Jones, stating that police had indeed violated his Fourth Amendment rights by placing a GPS tracking device on his vehicle without a warrant. Case Overview When police decided to place a GPS unit on the underside of the suspect’s vehicle without a warrant, they thought they were protected by previous rulings that defined an illegal search as violating a citizen’s person, house, papers,Read More