Tagged: GPS

Can You Find Me Now?: New Jersey Supreme Court Says Police Need a Warrant to Access Location Information From a Cell Phone

“Advances in technology offer great benefits to society in many areas. At the same time, they can pose significant risks to individual privacy rights.” So begins the recently-issued unanimous decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Earls, in which the Court found that “cell-phone users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their cell-phone location information” and, therefore, under the New Jersey Constitution, “police must obtain a search warrant before accessing that information.” Coming at a time when the public’s attention is particularly focused on the tension between technology and privacy, this opinion represents a groundbreaking new rule of law on the constitutional limits of new methods of tracking and surveillance. (See also the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in United States v. Jones and the New York Court of Appeals’ recent opinion in Cunningham v. New York State Department of Labor.) With this unprecedented decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court becomes the first state supreme court to find a constitutionally-protected privacy right in the location of a personal cell phone.

Somebody’s Watching You — New York Court of Appeals Says State Can Place GPS Device on Employee’s Car, But Can Only Collect Data During Work Hours

In its recent 4-3 decision in Cunningham v. New York State Department of Labor, the New York Court of Appeals added to the growing body of case law addressing the constitutional implications of global positioning system (GPS) technology. In Cunningham, the Court found that the Department of Labor’s attaching of a GPS device to an employee’s personal car that was used for work purposes fell within the “workplace exception” to the warrant requirement, however, the search as conducted was unreasonable because the car’s location was tracked in the evenings, on weekends, and while the employee was on vacation. Interestingly, the Court suppressed all of the evidence collected by the GPS device, not just the data collected during non-work hours, citing the “extraordinary capacity” of GPS devices to permit “constant, relentless tracking of anything.”