Wow. I'm actually surprised. Here's the decision. And there's our Justice Department:
The Justice Department had argued that drivers do not expect their movements on public streets to be kept private, no matter the duration, so GPS tracking should not fall under the Fourth Amendment protections regarding searches and seizures.Sounds like a recipe for stalking. Wonder how they'd feel if it were their family, their spouse, their kids, being followed around by some weird guy saying "hey, you don't expect any privacy when you're kids are walking in public to school."
A lot of our lives are now public because of new technology. While we may expect less privacy as a result, it doesn't mean we deserve less. Or that the government should be permitted to take advantage of it.
Sotomayor raises another important point:
Sotomayor, who fully joined Scalia's opinion, suggested in a separate concurring statement that she agreed with parts of Alito's analysis, which would cover privacy expectations not only when police affix a device but when there's no physical invasion. That could cover when police access signals from a GPS-enabled smartphone.Right. They can track you on your smartphone too. You consented to have that phone with you, the cops don't even need to enter your physical space to track you. Is that okay, without a warrant? I think not.