Mr. Plum in the observatory with the … Little Buddy?
Well, this is chilling. We’ve heard a lot recently about the privacy implications of warrantless wire tapping. But this is the first we’ve heard of a murder allegedly committed with the help of a GPS device designed to help parents keep track of their children.
A man is currently facing trial for allegedly shooting his wife’s lover after following her with a Little Buddy GPS device.
And to think, normal people feel bad after occasionally creeping around an ex’s Facebook profile….
* Is it more amusing that law students at the University of Georgia adopted a “Law Hawk” as an unofficial mascot, or that the student newspaper article about it reads like something out of The Onion? You decide. [Red and Black]
The Supreme Court just handed down a unanimous opinion ruling in one of the most closely watched cases of the year. All the justices agreed on the result, but diverged significantly in reasoning.
This morning, the court issued its decision in United States v. Jones. Police in Washington, D.C. placed a GPS tracking device on the car of Antoine Jones, a nightclub owner, without obtaining a warrant. The GPS device helped law enforcement link Jones to a house used to store drugs and money. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. An appeals court later overturned his conviction.
The central issue in Jones was whether attaching a GPS device to a car (i.e., allowing law enforcement 24/7 access to a person’s movements), without obtaining a warrant first, violated the Fourth Amendment.
The case has been heralded as one of the most important privacy cases in recent memory. Wired’s Threat Level blog said Jones “is arguably the biggest Fourth Amendment case in the computer age.” Editor emerita Kashmir Hill attended oral arguments for the case back in November.
What did the justices say? The ruling might surprise you…
“If you win this case, there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States,” said Justice Breyer.
The Supreme Court justices were decked out in their usual black robes today for U.S. vs Jones [pdf], a case involving the question of whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracker to someone’s car. But given their paranoia about possible technology-enabled government intrusions on privacy, it might not have been surprising if they had also been wearing tin foil hats.
When I come across internet slideshows with titles like “8 Coolest Things Ever” or “Top 10 Reasons Why Lady Gaga Is a Man” or “Yale Law School’s 7 Most Disgraceful Graduates,” I think, “Ugh, not more link bait. I already spend half my time on this trash.” But like everyone else, I click it anyway, feel unsurprisingly disappointed, and then wish for the last 45 seconds of my life back.
When someone sent me “6 Ways Your Car Can Spy on You,” I had little-to-no expectations. But it turned out the little slideshow actually had a few tasty morsels of knowledge.
Keep reading to learn how simply paying bridge tolls keeps you on the grid, and how police can assign liability based on an unexpected similarity between airplanes and your Honda Civic….
Next year, the Supreme Court will decide whether it’s okay for law enforcement to put a GPS tracking device on someone’s car without a warrant. Some courts say yes and some courts say no. If it’s not the po-po tracking you, though, but a spouse who suspects you might be cheating, a New Jersey court says, “Go for it.”
A New Jersey woman hired a private investigator to follow her husband to find out if he was straying. Her husband, Kenneth Villanova, a Gloucester County sheriff’s officer, kept managing to lose the investigator [*insert high-speed car chases here*]. So the investigator, Richard Leonard, advised his client to put a tracking device in her husband’s car, reports the Star-Ledger. She put it in the glove compartment of their jointly-owned GMC Yukon.
Busted: Within two weeks, it revealed Villanova’s car sitting in the driveway of a woman who was not his wife. Oh, the bittersweet pleasure of catching a partner in the act.
Villanova was not pleased. He sued his wife and Leonard for invasion of privacy and for causing him “substantial and permanent emotional distress.” My married colleague Matt Herper has (jokingly) remarked to me before that there is no privacy in marriage. Asked to clarify, Herper says: “There’s no presumption of privacy, or right to it. If invading a spouse’s privacy is an offense, it’s probably a smaller one than expecting to keep very many secrets.”
The New Jersey appellate judges came to the same conclusion, but with slightly different reasoning…
* Apple was hit with a lawsuit by parents angry that their credit cards were being used by their stupid kids to buy dumb swag in iPhone games. [Time]
* An Italian fortune, an American woman, and the suggestion that paternity sometimes cannot be forcefully established by the simple query “Who dat is?” [New York Times]
* When police use GPS to lojack hoes that drive Volvos and Rodeos, can they do it without a warrant? [WSJ Law Blog]
* An article about the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, or something like that. I’m not sure as I dozed off halfway through, like I regularly did during Ethics class in law school. [ABA Journal]
* This post details various sports goings-on, like the possible move of the Sacramento Kings and former linebacker and all-around gentleman Bill Romanowski. Because Lat demands all the sports coverage we can find. [Am Law Daily]
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