The Obama administration is claiming that authorities do not need court warrants to affix GPS devices to vehicles to monitor their every move, reports Wired magazine. The administration is set to make its argument Tuesday before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
“This case is the government’s primary hope that it does not need a judge’s approval to attach a GPS device to a car,” Catherine Crump, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a telephone interview.
The administration maintains that position despite the Supreme Court’s decision last year that concluded that attaching the GPS devices amounted to search protected by the Constitution. If the administration prevails, the high court’s ruling would be virtually meaningless.
The question of whether probable-cause warrants issued by a judge are needed is an open one because the high court stopped short of answering it. The court ruled in January, 2012, that attaching the device amounted to a constitutionally protected search because it was a trespass on a private vehicle.
The New York Times called the US v. Jones case “the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade.”
Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to capture and store Americans’ confidential text messages, according to a proposal that will be presented to a congressional panel today.
The law enforcement proposal (pdf) would require wireless providers to record and store customers’ SMS messages in case police decide to obtain them at some point in the future. They asked that an SMS retention requirement be glued onto any new law designed to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations will explore whether to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The 1986 law, known as ECPA, regulates how government agencies can compel companies to disclose information about users.
Richard Salgado, Google’s Legal Director of Law Enforcement and Information Security, will testify and outline Google’s approach to government requests for user data.
Law professor Jeffrey Rosen, the co-editor of the new book Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change, details how technological changes that were unimaginable at the time of the Founding Fathers are challenging our notions of things like personal vs. private space, freedom of speech and our own individual autonomy.