The New York State Court of Appeals ruled earlier today that police cannot use GPS tracking devices on suspectsâ€™ vehicles without a court-issued warrant. The majority in the 4-to-3 ruling decided that the State Police violated a suspectâ€™s constitutional protections against unreasonable search by using a satellite tracking device on his van without a warrant for two months in 2005. They also denied arguments the GPS tracker was akin to common police surveillance, saying:
â€œGPS is not a mere enhancement of human sensory capacity, it facilitates a new technological perception of the world in which the situation of any object may be followed and exhaustively recorded over, in most cases, a practically unlimited period. The potential for a similar capture of information or â€œseeingâ€ by law enforcement would require, at a minimum, millions of additional police officers and cameras on every street lamp.â€
While New York joins states such as Oregon and Washington where warrentless GPS surveillance has been ruled unconstitutional, Wisconsin courts upheld the secret spying last week.