Friday, May 15, 2009

Stop following me! ... taken to a whole new level

Here's a disturbing bit of news: a court in Wisconsin has just ruled that state law enforcement officers could attach a GPS tracking device to your vehicle and follow you around on their screens, 24/7 – without a warrant or notification of such. Talking about "prying eyes".

As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.

That means "police are seemingly free to secretly track anyone's public movements with a GPS device," he wrote.

This is, of course, entirely unconstitutional. No, surveillance by law officers isn't illegal; they're perfectly at east to follow one's movements by patrol car, or surveillance cameras, or anything of that vein as they wish, however worrysome that may be in itself. What it comes down to, is the legality of them attaching a tracking device directly to your own personal possessions, be it your car or in a coat pocket. They simply have no right to touch any of your personal possessions without a warrant, which (in theory) entirely invalidates this appeal court's ruling.

However, if some overly-suspicious cops did try and follow me around via GPS on an ultra-cool CTU*-style screen, I'd just be sure to casually head to the the nearest gun shop, spend a few minutes inside the building while they scratch their noggins, and then feign to race towards the nearest Police precinct. Just for the fun of imagining them running around panicking. =)

* Make sure Jack Bauer's watching, too.

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)


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