The United States Supreme Court upheld a District of Columbia Appeals Court ruling on the case United States v. Jones (2012) on Monday, January 23, 2012. The unanimous decision affirmed that police must obtain a search warrant before using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to track the vehicles of suspected criminals. The justices agreed that not obtaining a search warrant in this type of situation was a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
- Supreme Court: warrant required for GPS tracking, San Francisco Chronicle
- Supreme Court: Warrants needed in GPS tracking, Washington Post
- Supreme Court: GPS devices equivalent of a search, police must get warrant, FOX News
- Supreme Court Rules GPS Trackers Need Warrants, MSNBC
Questions to Consider
- Why did the Supreme Court determine that using GPS devices to track suspected criminals a violation of the Fourth Amendment? Are there other Constitutional or Bill of Rights clauses that might also be incorporated into this ruling?
- While the justices reached a unanimous decision they had differing reasons for their conclusions. How did the justices differ in their opinions? Which opinion do you agree with, if any, and why?
- How might this ruling impact other pre-installed GPS devices on Smartphones, vehicles, personal computers, and other electronic devices?