Thursday, January 28, 2010

Privacy Rights and GPS Technology

You can’t catch me, Johnny Law

Well, score one for privacy if this can catch on everywhere else:

Police in Maryland would need a warrant before they use electronic tracking devices to monitor individuals, under legislation being discussed Thursday in a Senate Committee.

Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher, D-Montgomery, who proposed the measure, says he has learned a growing number of county police departments are placing GPS-type technology on vehicles to track suspects’ movements. He says he has “no problem with it,” but thinks a warrant should be required first since “folks generally have an expectation” that police have not attached GPS units to their vehicle.

Waldstreicher says there would be exceptions for cases when the police need to act quickly and there isn’t time for a warrant.

When they say “place” a device, do they mean sticking something under a car in order to track it? If so, why on Earth would anyone think that that is not an invasion of privacy? If you feel the need to protect yourself, jamming 1575.42 MHz isn’t difficult at all. Just get yourself one of these:

GPS Jamming Device

Are they legal? Probably not. But, if you aspire to be an outlaw, then what are we talking about here?

In any event, I don’t think Johnny Law needs to have the right to track vehicles without someone taking a peek over his shoulder. Make a judge approve such a drastic measure. If we don’t at least have some sort of judicial oversight on this, the abuse of police power will become an issue at some point. And I don’t mean that we will have cops running around putting tracking devices on the cars of their girlfriends. I think that it is a given that we will have that.

I know it will come as a shock to some people, but the police do make mistakesand the police do follow a bad tip and they do end up following, arresting, or harassing innocent people.

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