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Judges Divided Over Rising GPS Surveillance
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, August 14, 2010
Posted: August 17th, 2010

The growing use by the police of new technologies that make surveillance far easier and cheaper to conduct is raising difficult questions about the scope of constitutional privacy rights. The issue is whether the Fourth Amendments protection against unreasonable searches covers a device that records a suspects movements for weeks or months without any need for an officer to trail him. The GPS tracking dispute coincides with a burst of other technological tools that expand police monitoring abilities including ... the widely discussed prospect of linking face-recognition computer programs to the proliferating number of surveillance cameras. Some legal scholars ... have called for a fundamental rethinking of how to apply Fourth Amendment privacy rights in the 21st century. Traditionally, courts have held that the Fourth Amendment does not cover the trailing of a suspect because people have no expectation of privacy for actions exposed to public view. On [August 12], five judges on the San Francisco appeals court dissented from a decision not to re-hear a ruling upholding the warrantless use of GPS trackers. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski characterized the tactic as creepy and un-American and contended that its capabilities handed the government the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives.

Note: For lots more on threats to civil liberties and privacy, click here and here.

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