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Pittsburgh GPS case prompts privacy concerns

October 21, 2008 by  

Does GPS surveillance violate privacy? A court case that is currently in the federal courts in Pittsburgh could help set a precedent for how law enforcement officials handle global positioning system data.

The issue centers on whether or not police officers should be required to demonstrate probable cause and obtain search warrants before they track suspects using GPS, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials are seeking permission to obtain information on a suspect’s location using data stored by their cell phone – either in real time or via historic records.

They say that electronic surveillance is less expensive and more effective than following someone in a vehicle.

However, some privacy advocates have raised concerns about the possibility that this technology violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Some of the legal questions about the use of GPS concern whether or not a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy when their vehicle is driving on a public road.

"The government and police say they are trying to keep people safe, but our rights do come into question. It’s a balancing act," civil rights attorney Sam Cordes told the news provider.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, GPS uses satellites and monitoring stations to provide 3D location information, along with the time.

Personal Liberty News Desk

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  • Bob Livingston

    This issue has nothing to do with keeping people ‘safe’.  It has everything to do with knowing every move we make and adding to the dossier on every American. –Bob

  • Jeff Miller

    Ever so slowly, under the guise of keeping the public safe, our freedoms and privacy are being comprimised by our government. History has shown that the course that the United States is on will end one of two ways; either total government control of the people, or violent revolution. The reason for this is very simple, the masses are always too apathetic and ambivalent to do anything until faced with a critical situation in which they must either give up or fight. The efforts by many in government to take away our Second Amendment rights is proof that they are very much aware of the latter of these two possible endings. Thank God they haven’t had their way so far. I believe that the results of this election are only critical as to whether either of the two endings will come sooner or later. Unfortunately I think one or the other is inevitable, regardless of who wins. We’re just too far down the road to turn it around. As for myself, I’ll let the now famous words of a great american patriot Charlton Heston speak for me; “From my cold dead hands.”

  • bruce3

    the first thing the bongo administration will do is to try and pass a long list of commie gun control acts in order to turn citizens into can bet that the traitor in chief will tell us he is doing this to protect the children besides what do you need that ugly rifle for?just remember that all democrats and a number of republicans are out right traitors to the republic. they hate the restraint of the constitution on their lust for power and will do anything to get around it through misinterpretation as they do with the 14 amendment with the so called anchor know that they will try to restrict the first amendment for you but not for their propaganda. this was obvious from the one sided coverage favoring the “one” while villifying the opposition.

  • tomeg42

    Easy solution to the problem for now folks and that would be to turn off your cell phone when your driving. For one you don’t need to be jabbering away on the damn thing when your supposed to be paying attention to the road in front of you. As for this OUT OF CONTROL GOVERNMENT we all have the opportunity to get rid of the lifers that crave the power that holding office gives them and that is on Feb. 2nd you get out and vote in the primary election and wherever you see a name and the word incumbent next to it, you vote for the other person. It doesn’t matter who that person is or what party that person is from, because their all the same and the only way for us mere mortals to get our Government back is to vote out those that feel they have a birthright to the job that they are on the ballot for. Let’s get out and wake these bastards up starting on Feb. 2nd. IF YOU DON’T, THEN QUIT YOUR BITCHING!!!!

  • Marcus Rhodes

    What about conflicts with the fifth amendment?

  • http://? E. Twing

    For no GPS tracking REMOVE the battery. Some new versions will give location even if turned OFF !

  • Becky

    The battery must be removed to disable the tracking device.


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