Police Can Track GPS Without A Warrant | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Police Can Track GPS Without A Warrant

Play associated audio

By Meymo Lyons

The same GPS technology that motorists use to get directions can be used by police without a warrant to track the movements of criminal suspects on public streets.

In a case that prompted warnings of Orwellian snooping by the government, the Virginia Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Fairfax County Police did nothing wrong when they planted a GPS device on the bumper of a registered sex offender's work van, without getting a warrant.

Police were investigating a series of sexual assaults in northern Virginia in 2008 when they focused on David L. Foltz Jr., a registered sex offender on probation. They attached a global positioning system device to the van he drove for work and tracked him as he drove around.

After another sexual assault occurred, police checked the GPS log and determined Foltz had been a block or two from the scene at the time of the attack. That prompted officers to follow him in person the next day. They saw Foltz knock a woman to the ground and attempt to sexually assault her. Foltz was arrested, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Foltz' appealed, claiming if police could track him by GPS without a warrant, all citizens are subject to the sort of ''Big Brother'' government monitoring that George Orwell wrote about in his novel ''1984.'' The court found no merit in such a dire warning.

NPR

In This Test Kitchen, The Secret To A Great Cookbook Is Try, Try Again

Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner have a thriving food empire that includes wildly successful cookbooks. We go inside their London test kitchen as recipes are put through their paces.
NPR

Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

A U.K. researcher says the environmental argument for eating bugs isn't working on its own. She says chefs and policymakers must "make insect dishes appeal as food, not just a way to save the planet."
NPR

Fact Check: 3 Questions Answered About Bill Clinton's LLC

Does Bill Clinton have a secret corporation that he is using to hide money? Is it intended to pay a lower tax rate? Or is it something else entirely?
NPR

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

The scanners are standard equipment for police, but what's not settled is what happens to all the data collected. That data can link people to certain addresses and flag unusual activity.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.