A Supreme Court ruled Monday that police violated a suspect’s 4th Amendment Right when they attached a global positioning system tracker to his vehicle without a prior search warrant.
In the unanimous decision, the justices said people in the United States should expect “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches.”
This was one of the first major cases testing the right to privacy in the digital era, where the lines have often become blurred. Even though there was unity in the ruling, the justices were split 5-4 over the reasoning.
While the minority said that installing the GPS device trespassed on private property along with violating the suspect’s reasonable expectation of privacy, the majority said just attaching the GPS device invaded the suspect’s private property in the same way a house search would have and should not be allowed.
The case stems from a 2005 drug operation that uncovered almost 100 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million when officials conducted a raid in a Maryland house.
A federal appeals court had overturned the conviction of Antoine Jones in that case because authorities had tracked Jones for four weeks prior to the raid by GPS.
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