Sep 282010
 September 28, 2010  Court, Surveillance

Stephen Gantz, an information security and privacy professional, has recently posted two articles on GPS, privacy, and court decisions.  In the first, “Geo-Location Tracking Data and Your Privacy,” Gantz writes:

Can GPS be used to track your movements, without a warrant? That depends…

The 4th Amendment implications of location-based data have been a topic of active discussion, prompted in part by two recent federal Circuit Court rulings, and to a lesser degree by some outspoken opinions made both in concurrence and dissent to these and other court rulings, and a number of legal interpretations offered by law professors (including some who filed briefs in the cases in question) and other analysts about the most appropriate interpretation of the text of the 4th Amendment itself.

He then reviews a number of crucial court opinions on the topic. Read the entire article here.

The second article begins:

The previous post looked at some of the variable and as yet unresolved factors that may help determine how and under what circumstances GPS location data may be used for investigations by law enforcement personnel, with or without a warrant.

As should be abundantly clear to anyone reviewing the recent and often conflicting or inconsistent judicial rulings on the collection and use of location data (GPS-based or otherwise), privacy expectations and the corresponding applicability of the 4th Amendment or any of the variety of statutory regulations relevant to such data may depend on the specifics of a given situation.

One way to think through these scenarios is to consider key characteristics that incorporate (or exclude) current regulations or legal precedents, by asking questions such as the following.

Gantz then discusses the following questions:

  • Is the collection and use of GPS data a search?
  • What sort of GPS device is in use?
  • Who is collecting the GPS data?
  • In what locations is the individual when GPS data is collected?
  • What type of data is being sought?
  • What period of time does the GPS data cover?

You can read the second article here.

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