When detectives attached a GPS unit to the underside of an Ohio man's van--based only on tips from informants and absent a warrant--they set in motion a series of events leading to a case now before the Ohio Supreme Court. That case will test "the relevance of the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in the digital age," said the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, CDT, and several other groups in a recently filed amicus brief.
The brief says the Court should consider the "clandestine installation and indiscriminate use of electronic surveillance to monitor and record an automobile's every move, around-the-clock and indefinitely, as a search mandating a warrant based on probable cause."
The case turns on the "critical question" of whether law enforcement can secretly put a GPS tracking device on someone's car and remotely track that person's every move, "24 hours a day, for as long as they want, anywhere, without any judicial oversight whatsoever," the brief says. "The decision in this case will have profound consequences for the lives of Ohioans as it will permanently define to what extent citizens of this state must forfeit 'any meaningful claim to personal privacy or effectively withdraw from a technologically maturing society.'"
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