Pubdate: Wed, 09 Nov 2011 Source: USA Today (US) Copyright: 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc Contact: http://mapinc.org/url/625HdBMl Website: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/index.htm Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/466 Author: Anthony S. Barkow, Executive Director, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law. GPS TRACKING DOESN'T NEED A WARRANT On Tuesday, the Supreme Court confronted the question of whether a cocaine trafficker could reasonably expect his movements to be private as he drove around the city selling drugs -- or whether police, without first obtaining a warrant, could use a GPS device to track his movements 24/7, something they could unquestionably do through an old-fashioned tail. Law enforcement faces a difficult challenge to keep up with criminals who utilize advanced technology to commit crimes. Whether it is drug dealers using disposable cellphones or terrorists communicating by Internet, the government cannot fight today's crime using yesterday's means. This is particularly true in an era of shrinking budgets and, indeed, nationwide budgetary crises. The challenge for law enforcement is to fight crime more cost-effectively. Using new technology is one way to help answer the challenge. Not only will it help police save money and manpower, it will help redirect the conserved resources to other crime-fighting measures. As I sit on a train writing this article, regrettably I can hear every word of every phone conversation taking place around me. But my neighbors on the train surely know they can be overheard, and reveal their secrets to their peril. Similarly, walking down the sidewalk, we know that hundreds of eyes can see us, and that cameras may even record our movements. So purse snatchers doing sidewalk business cannot expect to steal unseen. And when you drive down a public street, anyone can see where you go, and you can be followed. Although we may expect anonymity in public places, we do not expect privacy. And thus the Fourth Amendment no more requires a warrant for the GPS surveillance of travel along public streets than it does for a traffic camera. If the police had unlimited resources, they could have tailed the aforementioned drug dealer, Antoine Jones, without any suggestion that they ran afoul of the Constitution. Merely attaching a device to the outside of his car to accomplish the exact same task does not convert their surveillance tactics into unconstitutionality. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.