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  • Peter Psarouthakis
    Feb 29, 2012
      In a recent Wall Street Journal article by Julia Angwin, she comments on
      remarks made at the University of San Francisco "Big Brother in the 21st
      Century" conference by FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. He
      acknowledged that as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in
      U.S. v. Jones overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices there
      has been a "sea change" inside the U.S. Justice Department. That ruling
      indicated that tracking a vehicle by law enforcement with a GPS device
      without a search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. As a result, the
      FBI has turned off approximately 3000 GPS tracking devices.According to the
      article, Mr. Weissmann indicated that in order to retrieve some of the
      devices it was necessary for the FBI to obtain court orders to briefly
      activate some of them in order to locate and retrieve them.

      The FBI is presently developing new guidelines for the use of GPS devices to
      cover the broader implications of the court decision beyond the use of GPS
      tracking. As the Supreme Court held that agents had committed a trespass in
      placing the GPS on Jones' vehicle, Weissmann indicated they are "wrestling
      with the legality of whether agents can lift up the lid of a trash can
      without committing trespass." He also indicated that the FBI is evaluating
      whether or not "a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the
      totality of their movements, even if those movements are in public"
      according to the Wall Street Journal article.

      Meanwhile in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the sponsor of a bill, HB 807,
      that would have outlawed most uses of GPS tracking by private investigators
      again on February 27 made a last-ditch attempt to have a Senate Committee
      vote a second time on his measure which had been defeated last week.
      ISPLA's executive committee member Nicole Bocra reports:

      Today, several investigators were in Richmond for the Senate Courts of
      Justice Meeting. Once again the Senate, in all its wisdom, voted NO to
      HB807. Thank you to PIAVA, PISA, ISPLA and our wonderful lobbyist, James
      Towey for all your hard work. We appreciate everyone who attended the
      sessions including Leon Baker who supported our efforts and those who
      contacted their legislators! Thank you! This bill is dead and cannot be
      reintroduced this year!

      Stay tuned as ISPLA addresses aspects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision
      relative to future anti-GPS tracking legislation expected in other states.

      Bruce Hulme, ISPLA Director of Government Affairs

      Join ISPLA today! - Go to <http://www.ispla.org/> www.ISPLA.org

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]