Amicus Brief of CDT, EFF, et al in U.S. v Jones GPS Vehicle Tracking Case

The threshold question in this case is whether the government’s use of GPS technology to track respondents vehicle infringed a reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore constituted a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Just recently, the Court recognized the need to consider the nature of new technologies when defining “the existence, and extent, of privacy expectations” under the Fourth Amendment. City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S.Ct. 2619, 2629 (2010). See also Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967) (overturning ruling in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438(1928), regarding application of Fourth Amendment to telephone conversations).

The same attention to the impact of new technology is warranted with respect to the government’s contentions here, which—in minimizing the fundamental change in information collection that results from the revolutionary nature of GPS—would have the effect of substantially limiting the application of the Fourth Amendment.


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