In spirit at least, I feel this practice violates the third amendment. "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." At the time this was written soldiers were the primary agents of government in contact with the public, now supplanted by police domestically. I read the 3rd amendment as "Government, stay out of my private life unless you are invited or have a damn good urgent reason and have followed proper procedure(probable cause, warrant, properly served)" The amendment was passed during a time when people feared that a strong central government, while trying to protect the people from tyrants, would become tyrannical itself. The same fear pervades today, only the agency and methods are different.
Without a warrant where does it stop? You open the path to automatic speed limit violations and
selective enforcement. Ever watched Fifth Element?
Everyone with OnStar can tracked and provide
automatic surveillance and ticketing. With
GPS they can also issue automatic parking
But the police can monitor your movements by air, tailing you in a chase vehicle, electronic tolling records, . . . . . Monitoring the location of your vehicle does not amount to a search. I predict the SCOTUS will uphold the use of GPS devices. But then again, I never thought New London would have prevailed over Kelo.
A tracker on a private vehicle driving on private property would definitely require a search warrant. But the same vehicle traveling on public roadways would be considered a grey area by many. My opinion is that the accumulation of any meaningful amount of data from a tracker does in fact constitute a search. At one time, I agreed with Rene. Let the cops do their jobs. But since 9/11, I have since changed my mind. Every piece of legislation that gets passed, every ruling against civil liberties, is just another chip away from the freedoms and privacy we once enjoyed. Today, people can and have been arrested and thrown in jail for nothing more than sleeping in the back seat of their own vehicle parked on their own property. Another ruling against privacy protection would just be a continuation of this trend. The bottom line is that if this guy really is the scumbag they say he is, they would have no trouble obtaining a warrant for the tracker in the first place. It's not "tying their hands", It's part of their job. A certain element of danger & unpredictability is inherent in a free society. The "safer" you make it, the closer you get to a police state.
When there is probable cause, why should police have to fight the drug war with hands tied behind their back? As long as there is a reasonable justification, I am all for monitoring those individuals that profit from poisoning our youth! Even at the cost of losing some civil liberties, in the general sense, but my view is that most people that fall in the category of good citizens, we have nothing to worry about.
A warrant *is* required to install a surveillance camera or microphone ("bug") on someone's personal property, whether that be their home, car, or private business facility. This is simply investigating the use of tracking devices in the same matters, which I believe falls under the intention of our Fourth Amendment as a "search" -- the founding fathers could never have predicted such a tracking device.
It is perfectly legal to install surveillance equipment in a public place as long as it is not intended to infringe on privacy (e.g. pointing it into a neighbor's window). If the police want to stick GPS devices on the sides of public buildings, I'm OK with that. Less jokingly, if they want to place tracking devices on public transit, I think that's acceptable, too. If they want to place them on my property, though, they had better have probable cause and a warrant.
I believe that it should also be required that when surveillance cameras are installed that the area should also be clearly marked with signage stating that the area is under surveillance. After all, we have laws controlling the use of hidden microphones and sound recording devices. Whats the difference between spying on someone with a micorphone or with a hidden camera?