Monday, March 23, 2009

New York High Court to Review Warrantless GPS Use

From the New York Post:
New York's top court will consider Tuesday whether police violated the constitutional rights of a burglary suspect when they attached a global positioning tracker to his van without a court warrant.

Scott Weaver, convicted of burglary in part because of the Christmas Eve 2005 GPS data, said both his state and federal rights against an unreasonable search were violated. State police tracked his van to the parking lot of a suburban Albany department store that was later burglarized.


The trial judge refused to suppress the GPS evidence. A midlevel state court concluded 4-1 the device provided essentially the same information as constant visual surveillance, which requires no warrant. A dissenting justice said citizens have a reasonable expectation their every move won't be monitored by a technical device without their knowledge.

the legal test in previous federal case law turns on whether a device augments sensory perception, such as with a simple radio beeper as a tracking device, or actually goes beyond human senses, such as using thermal imaging devices to see what's happening indoors.