gps_trackingThe New York State Court of Appeals ruled earlier today that police cannot use GPS tracking devices on suspects’ vehicles without a court-issued warrant. The majority in the 4-to-3 ruling decided that the State Police violated a suspect’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:

“GPS 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 “seeing” by law enforcement would require, at a minimum, millions of additional police officers and cameras on every street lamp.”

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.