U.S. Federal Court Ruling Requires Police To Get Warrant For GPS Tracking Of Vehicles and Cell Phones
The latest ruling on Tuesday from a Federal Court in Philadelphia in the U.S. says that police must seek a warrant before tracking vehicles by attaching a GPS unit. This is believed to be a major win for privacy groups who have long fought to secure the Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.
The case involved a series of alleged pharmacy burglaries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Three brothers, the Katzins, were suspects in the case and they were tracked using a GPS unit attached to their vans after consulting with the U.S. Attorney's office, but without a warrant. Police arrested the trio, who appealed to the court as the police had gathered evidence from the GPS unit without a warrant, according to Washington Post.
The court, with a three-judge panel, ruled the case in the Katzin brothers' favor and dismissed the government's appeal.
The latest ruling is the first time that a federal appeals court has ordered warrants for attaching GPS tracking on vehicles.
"Today's decision is a victory for all Americans because it ensures that the police cannot use powerful tracking technology without court supervision and a good reason to believe it will turn up evidence of wrongdoing," American Civil Liberties Union Staff Attorney Catherine Crump, more
What about GPS on Cell Phones?Ruling on GPS Tracking Could Protect Cellphone PrivacyA federal court in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday that the government needed a warrant from a court based on probable cause before attaching a GPS unit to a car for tracking its movements.