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State Courts Split on Warrantless GPS Tracking

Today, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that police must obtain a warrant before installing GPS tracking devices on individuals' vehicles. The decision prohibits law enforcement from secretly using GPS trackers to compile comprehensive travel histories on citizens without a warrant. The case follows last week's Wisconsin Appeals Court decision authorizing warrantless GPS surveillance by police. Other states have split on the application of a warrant requirement. On April 20, 2009, EPIC filed a brief in Commonwealth v. Connolly, urging the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to require a warrant before police track drivers using concealed surveillance technology. The EPIC brief warned that warrantless GPS tracking "raises the specter of mass, pervasive surveillance without any predicate act that would justify this activity." For more information see EPIC's Commonwealth v. Connolly page.

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