Old news becomes new again depending on who won

Interesting note showing the national media misreporting the ongoing controversey in GPS privacy cases: "Media discovers August 27th that Pineda-Moreno was decided January 11th"

Supreme Ct. ready to settle GPS surveillance - privacy issue?

The 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches by the government continues to clash with technology as judges seem to be deciding cases, not on any objective standard, but more on former Justice Potter Stewart's hopelessly subjective "But I know it when I see it" standard.

Latest case is United States v. Maynard, where a Washington DC court struck down a man's conviction in a drug case on the grounds the police unlawfully tracked his movement with a GPS device for 24 hours per day--a device installed without a warrant. Thus the court contradicted decisions GPS-related cases by appellate panels in Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Courts have held that the Fourth Amendment does not cover surveillance of a suspect because people have no expectation of privacy for actions exposed to public view. But the DC appeals court held that people expect their overall movements to be private because most people see only isolated moments of someone's life. Contrast that to a police department’s GPS technology that inexpensively tracks someone’s comings and goings for weeks at a time: "A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly churchgoer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individual or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

In other privacy cases, courts have recognized that aggregating information can lead to practices that, without technological improvements, are not a burden on privacy (for example, state databases that aggregate criminal records may have limited access, even while each court docket is considered public record).