Every time someone buys one of our sweatshop-free made in the USA t-shirts, we donate a dollar to an organization pursuing liberal political activism. We’re sending our latest donation to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in recognition of its legal work to stop the FBI from putting GPS locators on folks’ cars without so much as a warrant. This past week, thanks to the EFF’s team of crack lawyers, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals slapped down this warrantless surveillance of our whereabouts, declaring that:
A reasonable person does not expect anyone to monitor and retain a record of every time he drives his car, including his origin, route, destination, and each place he stops and how long he stays there… in Katz the Court clearly stated “what [one] seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” 389 U.S. at 351. Or, as this court has said, outside the home, the “Fourth Amendment … secur[es] for each individual a private enclave, a ‘zone’ bounded by the individual‘s own reasonable expectations of privacy.”
Application of the test in Katz and its sequellae to the facts of this case can lead to only one conclusion: Society recognizes Jones‘s expectation of privacy in his movements over the course of a month as reasonable, and the use of the GPS device to monitor those movements defeated that reasonable expectation. As we have discussed, prolonged GPS monitoring reveals an intimate picture of the subject‘s life that he expects no one to have — short perhaps of his spouse.
If you are grateful to the work of non-profit lawyers at the EFF for affirming Americans’ fourth amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and if you have any cash to spare, then please consider making your own donation to the EFF today. The EFF continues its work to defend our constitutional rights against government incursion in numerous ongoing court cases, and it could use your help.