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View Full Version : Justice Scalia, I Salute You


Davian93
01-23-2012, 01:01 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46101025/ns/technology_and_science-security/

GPS monitoring without a warrant struck down by SCOTUS.

Good work by Scalia (who wrote the main opinion).

GonzoTheGreat
01-23-2012, 01:23 PM
Poor paparazzi. If SCOTUS had ruled otherwise, they could have attached tracking devices to all the cars of all potential celebrities, just to see where they were all going. Now they're not allowed to do that without a search warrant, which they can't get because they aren't police officers.

fdsaf3
01-23-2012, 01:29 PM
I have absolutely no idea how I feel about this. I can make compelling arguments to myself on both sides of the issue. What I find even stranger is that while reading the opinion I found myself nodding along to Justice Scalia. That almost never happens.

Wait. On second thought, that never happens.

It'll be really interesting to see what this does to change the nature of law enforcement.

I guess, if I had to make a snap judgment right here and right now, I agree with the decision. It does seem pretty suspicious that police would be able to apply a GPS device to a car and track it. At the same time, I fail to see a significant distinction between that and having the car followed by a squad car at all times. I'm guessing the issue is with putting the object on the car, but how is this substantively different than having the car tailed? It's the same result - you always know where the car is.

As I said, I'm torn on this.

Davian93
01-23-2012, 01:31 PM
The key difference is that the squad car would likely be recognized...as would other methods of surveillance (like a plain car) whereas the GPS device wouldn't be noticed unless you bought special equipment and swept your car for bugs regularly...thus, the expectation of privacy is violated.

Scalia is a very smart guy regardless of how you feel about his opinions on the Constitution.

fdsaf3
01-23-2012, 01:36 PM
Yeah I get that. All I'm saying is that the end result of knowing where the car is at all times is the same regardless of the method used to attain that information. Feel free to switch "squad car" with "unmarked civilian car" and see if the analogy makes more sense to you.

I also never meant to imply that Scalia is unintelligent. Having read 10-12 of his opinions, it is my opinion that I don't agree with him very often. Smart dude, no question about it though.

Davian93
01-23-2012, 01:40 PM
FWIW, I dont agree with him that much either. I can at least respect him though...unlike an idiot like Clarence Thomas.

As for a plain civilian car, it still takes far more effort and planning and the likelihood of being notices still significantly higher than just slapping a magnetic GPS under the bumper. Thus, the police dept is far less likely to pay for expensive surveillance unless they have the probable cause for a warrant anyway.

I'd be curious to see if this ruling could be applied to tracking cellphones and other devices via GPS. What's to stop them from just asking Onstar for an individual's driving record? It also hopefully puts a nail in the coffin of the idea of tracking everyone's vehicle via GPS for "miles driven taxes" in lieu of registration fees. Some states have been proposing that idea in the last couple years despite the inherent privacy issues.

Crispin's Crispian
01-23-2012, 03:10 PM
It also hopefully puts a nail in the coffin of the idea of tracking everyone's vehicle via GPS for "miles driven taxes" in lieu of registration fees. Some states have been proposing that idea in the last couple years despite the inherent privacy issues.
Does it? If it's made a law, there is no longer an expectation of privacy. Moreover, since it is outside the bounds of law enforcement it can't violate the 4th Amendment.

Davian93
01-23-2012, 03:22 PM
Does it? If it's made a law, there is no longer an expectation of privacy. Moreover, since it is outside the bounds of law enforcement it can't violate the 4th Amendment.

The law can be challenged as unconstitutional...and likely would be by the ACLU among others.

Terez
01-23-2012, 03:27 PM
I thought this was going to be about Scalia telling people to turn off the TV or change the channel if they don't like the Super-PAC ads. Good advice! lol...but he was wrong when he said 'people aren't stupid'.

AbbeyRoad
01-23-2012, 05:38 PM
At the same time, I fail to see a significant distinction between that and having the car followed by a squad car at all times.
You can electronically locate many more people than you can afford to specifically order real human officers to follow.

Davian93
01-23-2012, 06:24 PM
Maybe someone can sue over those license plate recognition police cruisers that go around scanning every license plate they see for wants/warrants. Seems a bit ridiculous IMHO.

Though not nearly as invasive as having cameras on every freaking corner/road in the country.

Sinistrum
01-23-2012, 06:31 PM
Meh, this changes absolutely nothing in Texas since we already had a statutory requirement to get a court order before this is allowed in state prosecutions. Probably the right result, but I'm still generally apathetic.

SauceyBlueConfetti
01-24-2012, 12:09 PM
Alito also said the court should address how expectations of privacy affect whether warrants are required for remote surveillance using electronic methods that do not require the police to install equipment, such as GPS tracking of mobile telephones.

I agree with Dav on the cell phone questions. I think that part is more interesting than the rest of the decision. Now I wanna read my privacy notice on my GPS devices - we have an in-car one and a stand alone one-(and I assume many, if not most, of us have those) and my cell phone to see if it asked me to waive those rights.

Although Tony Soprano knew this trick and had his in-car device disconnected. :D