Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


MA/NY: Using GPS To Track Cars Requires A Warrant

Jennifer Granick reports that in Massachusetts, Cops Can’t Convert Car Into Tracking Device Without Court’s OK.

Connolly decided that the installation of the GPS device was a seizure of the suspect’s vehicle. “When an electronic surveillance device is installed in a motor vehicle, be it a beeper, radio transmitter, or GPS device, the government’s control and use of the defendant’s vehicle to track its movements interferes with the defendant’s interest in the vehicle notwithstanding that he maintains possession of it.” Thus, the court held this interference with the owner’s possessory interest requires a warrant.

She also links to a similar case in NY with effectively the same results.
It’s great to see the courts addressing how relatively new technology can and has impacted our personal liberties and law enforcement. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how US v Jones (a federal appeals case addressing this same question) turns out.