FBI In A GPS Pickle After Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court has recently ruled in a case that compels the FBI to obtain a search warrant before using a clandestine GPS device on people’s vehicles. The decision also saw the FBI deactivate an devices they currently have in the field. And that makes it hard for them to get the devices back.
U.S. Justice Department General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, spoke at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday. He said the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.
These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law.
After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them.
You’ve got to love karma.