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GPS technology vs fourth amendment

The United States Supreme court ruled police must have a search warrant before using global positioning system (GPS) technology to track criminal suspects. (Case U.S. vs. Jones 10-1259). The Washington DC police installed a GPS device on Antoine Jones' Jeep on the 11th day in Maryland however the warrant authorized the installation within 10 days in DC. The court concluded that admission of the evidence obtained by warrantless use of the GPS device violated the Fourth Amendment.. And based upon the opinion of the supreme court, the government physically occupied private proper­ty for the purpose of obtaining information.

GPS is global positioning system is a satellite-based navigation system consisting of a network of 24 orbiting satellites. Vehicle tracking systems commonly use GPS or GLONASS technology which is the Russian Global navigation satellite system for locating the vehicle. The are other types of automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology to determine the geographic location of a vehicle and transmit the information to a requester. The actual vehicle information can then be viewed on electronic maps via the Internet or specialized software. Automatic vehicle locating is a powerful concept for managing fleets of vehicles, service and emergency vehicles. GPS was developed in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

In this case, the police used technology to help catch suspects but Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote that to "secretly monitor ... every single movement of an individual’s car for a very long period ... surely crossed” a constitutional line.


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