It is “reasonable” for law enforcement officials to decide whether to place a tracking device on the car of a private citizen, one of the five members of President Obama’s NSA review group charged with recommending surveillance policy has argued.
University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone addressed the tracking issue in a February 12, 2012, Stanford Law Review article entitled, “A Reasonableness Approach to Searches After the Jones GPS Tracking Case.”
The Jones case centered on a private citizen, Antoine Jones, who was suspected of drug trafficking. Police had received a warrant to attach a GPS device to Jones’ car for a limited period of time, but then exceeded the warrant by tracking him for a month and beyond the geography limited in the warrant.
The case went to the Supreme Court, which sided with Jones’ attorneys, who had argued the police trespassed on private property – Jones’ car – and had conducted an unreasonable search against the constraints of the Fourth Amendment.
In his brief, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote to the police: “[I]f you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States.”
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