Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court announced an important new decision which should make all believers in freedom and privacy rights breathe a little bit easier. In United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from using GPS devices to track a suspect's movements without first obtaining a search warrant. In other words, warrantless use of GPS devices are no longer allowed!
In the Jones case, the police were investigating a nightclub owner for alleged drug trafficking. They had surreptitiously installed a GPS device on Mr. Jones' Jeep Grand Cherokee and were tracking his moevements, all without first obtaining a warrant. The government had argued that no warrant was necessary. However, the Supreme Court held otherwise and gave new hope to freedom lovers everywhere!
As a former federal prosecutor, (and currently, as an Augusta, Ga. criminal defense attorney), I strongly agree with this important decision! First of all, I submit that it is not that difficult for police to simply obtain a search warrant in an appropriate case. Moreover, I believe that, in a free society, in which our privacy rights are constantly being threatened by technology, it is important to see the Supreme Court protect us and stand as a bulwark of freedom!
It will be interesting to see the caselaw develop in this area of the law. What do you think?