Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wisconsin Court Upholds Warrant-less GPS Surveillance

Are law enforcement agencies in your state secretly tracking your vehicular movements? If you reside in the state of Wisconsin, they just might be doing exactly that.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that the Wisconsin District 4 Court of Appeals, which is made up of three judges, has ruled unanimously that law enforcement agencies in that state may place GPS tracking devices on citizen's vehicles to track their movements without first having to obtain a warrant:
As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.
You will find the whole story here.

As a libertarian, I find this court's ruling to be contrary to everything I believe in as a freedom-loving American citizen. No government agency should be allowed to place a tracking device on your vehicle without first going before a judge and making a case for it.

I realize we are moving more toward a surveillance society, particularly in the more urbanized areas of the country, with traffic cameras, red light cameras, cameras on public sidewalks, even cameras in the local car wash, and I realize you can be tracked via your cell phone as well, but secretly placing tracking devices on citizen's vehicles without probable cause is going way beyond the pale.

This is once ruling I hope to see go all the way to the United States Supreme Court and be tossed, before this lunacy starts to catch on in other places.

Assuming that it hasn't already.


whoinsamhill said...

You would think a warrant is in order here! Soon we'll all be driving around transmitting our locations! Well, not me---I'll be too old to drive by then. Down the road we'll all have chip implants instead of baptisms, you think?

Dave said...


LOL-They can put a chip in me once I'm dead, but not before.

And thanks for commenting. :-)


When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson