Crime

Why can the government track your car with a GPS without a warrant?

| by Jerome McCollom

Should the government have the ability to put a global positioning tracker (GPS) on your car to track your movements without a warrant? If you hestitated for man than a second, what's the matter with you! Of course it shouldn't. The government shouldn't be able to track where you are going unless a judge approves there is enough evidence to warrant such a thing. I am not against the government taking the necessary actions to stop suspected terrorism, but this is not a police state. Yet, at least.

A young Egyptian-American named Yasir Afifii had a car mechanic who found such a tracking device underneath his car. Afifi wondered what it was and even posted online an image of it for people to give him information. Well, soon after the FBI stopped him and demanded it back. Afifi might have ties to terrorist groups or he may not, I don't know and that isn't the focus of this column. But, the government's ability to track any individual for any reason by putting a device on one's own property without a warrant, is scary.

If I put a GPS on someone, especially a police car, I would be charged with a crime. First, it's not my property. I couldn't put a bumper sticker praising humanism on the car of Pat Robertson, no matter how tempted I might be. Now, one of the excuses given by the defenders of this action is that there is no notion of privacy on the streets so cops can lazily put a tracking device on your car. First of all, why don't police care about this position when they are arresting people for filming  alleged police brutality?

Second, a GPS tracker is fundamentally different than being followed by a car. It is a complete record of your car at all times and where it has gone at all times. If because you have no expectation of privacy can the government track you (when the technology exists) a GPS implanted in your skin, along as you are in public? Also, can not the government track your car in a private garage where there is a degree of expectation of privacy, at least from government monitoring?   It is the hallmark of a police state. If the government can spy on someone for suspected terrorist ties, than it can spy on anyone. Anti-war protesters. Quakers. Literally anyone, no warrant necessary.

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