U.S. Appeals Court Rules On GPS Tracking
Three Judge Panel Agrees With Police Use Of GPS
The above video discusses and shows how the GPS Tracking Key Pro, a device used by police agencies for surveillance operations, can be used to effectively gather location-based driving data. Although at first glance the video appears completely harmless, in one portion of the video clip it shows a person connecting the GPS tracker to the under belly of a car via magnetic mount (Many consumers, businesses and police agencies prefer this location because of both ease of accessibility and covertness). It is this type of vehicle monitoring that occurs everyday by police who have cause to believe a person or persons are committing a crime or engaging in something illegal. Although most people agree that police should have the best tools available and accessible to effectively bust bad guys, it is the practice of attaching vehicle tracking systems to the cars of private citizens that has many people in uproar.
Because police in most states are not obligated to first acquire a warrant from a judge before connecting a GPS to the vehicle of a person or suspect. Despite many privacy advocates request that the U.S. Supreme Court or congress draft legislation outlining the proper use of surveillance equipment by police agencies, the issue is still being addressed at a state level. Looking to provide some clarity on the sensitive topic, the U.S. Appeals Court of the Seventh Circuit ruled on a case titled Cuevas-Perez that the use of GPS tracking systems without warrants was justified and reasonable.
The case that was brought to the Appeals Court involved an officer/detective placing a car tracker on the jeep of suspected drug dealer, Cuevas-Perez. After recording approximately 60 hours of wheels-in-motion driving activity that involved inter-state travel, the battery on the live GPS tracker finally failed, but not before investigating officers had acquired what they felt was a sufficient amount of data to suggest that Cuevas-Perez was engaging in drug trafficking. When officers pulled over the vehicle being operated by Cuevas-Perez, drug sniffing dogs found nine packages of heroin.
After reviewing the evidence from the case, the U.S. Appeals Court stated that since the digital monitoring was only for a short window of time (60 hours), that the vehicle observation technology did not allow the officer’s to have direct access to the “twists and turns of Cuevas-Perez’ life”. The three judge panel endorsed the use of GPS monitoring systems without first obtaining a warrant in this particular case. However, it is worth noting that although the “victim” in this case felt that police conducted themselves in a illegal fashion, the man was in possession with large quantities of illegal drugs, and moving the illegal goods across state lines. Obviously, the detectives working this case had a reasonable cause to monitor his vehicle through the use of GPS.
Tracking System Direct was unable to discover whether the police detectives working the case utilized GPS data logger technology with a device such as the GPS Tracking Key, or real-time technology with a device such as the SilverCloud GPS.
Source: The Newspaper