On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before tracking suspects with GPS technology.
The case stems from an incident wherein GPS technology helped authorities link Washington, D.C., nightclub owner Antoine Jones to a suburban house used to stash money and drugs after said authorities attached a device to Jones’ Jeep. An appeals court overturned a conviction that would have put Jones in prison for life.
The Justices said in their opinion that the act of attaching a tracking device to a vehicle was a form of search and, thereby, required officials to first obtain a warrant.
“By attaching the device to the Jeep, officers encroached on a protected area,” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.
The Supreme Court found that Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights had been violated.
Justices Samuel Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan agreed that GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones, should also be addressed.