3,000 warrantless FBI GPS trackers ordered off by Supreme Court

turn aheadflickr/Rodrigo Soldon

The FBI has been placing GPS trackers on cars without warrants. The Supreme Court ruled this practice must stop.

In the case of US vs Jones, the Supreme Court ruled the FBI's practice of attaching GPS transmitters to suspect's cars violated people's expectation of privacy. Since the suspects mainly traveled on public roads, the FBI said the suspects had no expectation of privacy. Now the FBI has turned them all off.

But since the transmitters are turned off, the FBI can't find all the cars in question so they can retrieve their GPS units. The FBI has been filing court orders to turn on specific GPS units just so they can be retrieved.

Shame on the FBI

Oh, well, as long as they pinky-swear they turned off all the tracking devices, then I’m sure they’re being honest. After all, no reason not to trust Big Brother, right?

Ken on wsj.com

So does anyone go to jail for authorising and carrying out these illegal activities, or are the government above the laws they make?

William Topping on arstechnica.com

It's very likely that you know someone who's vehicle is being tracked by the FBI this year.

alister on news.ycombinator.com

Shame on the Supreme Court

This decision is wrong. I expect the FBI to protect me and my family. If tracking these people will help do that, then I support it 100%.

Citizen A on wsj.com

the duly elected government should have the right to track the whereabouts of any citizens that seem suspicious, are members of unpopular groups online, or post things here that could be construed as having a chilling effect on any business interests.

Al Luwahey on arstechnica.com

However …

Do I get to keep the tracker if I found one on the underside of my car?

eaden on arstechnica.com

hey people, don’t forget about the GPS devices that are actually built into the car from new. these devices can be remotely hacked into and tracked very easily which means they don’t have to physically go anywhere near your car.

An insider (UK) on wsj.com

If you carry a cell phone while on, remote tracking is possible too. It's even easier since usually the wireless signal is better

slug on news.ycombinator.com

If you find a FBI tracking device on your car, just take it off and put it on a Greyhound bus. Problem solved.

LeChat on wsj.com

Most people are saving the FBI the trouble of attaching a GPS. They buy them in their phones and cars, and check in on FourSquare and Facebook wherever they go.

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