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The Champion

May 2009 , Page 26 

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Privacy and Technology: Law Enforcement's Secret Use of GPS Devices

By Susan J. Walsh, Ivan J. Dominguez

As this issue of The Champion went to press on May 12, 2009, the New York Court of Appeals, relying significantly on arguments set forth in NACDL’s amicus brief, issued a landmark ruling holding that, in the absence of exigent circumstances, the installation and surreptitious use of a GPS device to monitor an individual’s whereabouts require a warrant supported by probable cause. Read People v. Weaver at http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/decisions/2009/may09/53opn09.pdf. 

Anyone can visit your house and yard on Google Earth, from space! L.L. Bean is selling a device which, if dropped in your backpack, can track and report the bag’s movements to your home computer. It “keeps friends and family updated” on a person’s location and status.1  

Computer hackers can remotely activate the built-in microphones and video cameras on a computer from a world away, bringing the hackers into the conference room, bedroom, office, or other location with a video- and sound-enabled device that you paid for.2 

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
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