Warrantless GPS Tracking: Is the Government in the Right?

Over the past few months there has been much heated discussion over the government’s ability to track whomever they wish without a warrant, or if this is a major impunity on personal privacy. The debate is set to be settled this October, with the Supreme Court issuing a landmark ruling on the topic.

There are two opposing sides of this argument, with one claiming that GPS trackers are not an invasion of privacy and do not interfere with the 4th amendment (which guards against unreasonable search and seizure) because they are attached to the outside of a vehicle and only record a person’s publicly viewable location. By using these location tracking tools, authorities can save money by using officers in a more efficient way and can also provide much more accurate results than if an officer had to spend weeks physically following a vehicle.

The opposing view to this argument is that unlike hiring an officer to tail a vehicle, the GPS tracker is there for 24 hours a day for 28 days on a single charge. This means that the tracker records an invasive amount of information about a person and can be used to create a whole profile of that person’s life. Another viewpoint for this issue is that a GPS tracker would be the proper tool to use if there was a warrant and a reason for tracking a person, but should not be used on random individuals that the authorities don’t have concrete proof against.

Both of these points of view have validity to them, but when you really think about it, the government can track whomever they wish with all the resources they already have. If they really wanted to track an individual without a warrant, they would be able to find the means to accomplish their goals, however, it would be at a higher cost, which comes from tax payer’s money anyway.

What do you think? Should the government be able to track you with a GPS tracker without a warrant? Or, if they really have the motive, should they instead use a more expensive method and send undercover detectives to tail you?

(Story & image via Wired)

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