: 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.

WAMU 88.5

Remains In Jamestown Linked To Early Colonial Leaders

Scientists from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation say they've identified four men buried in the earliest English church in America.
WAMU 88.5

The Democracy Of The Diner

Whether the decor is faux '50s silver and neon or authentic greasy spoon, diners are classic Americana, down to the familiar menu items. Rich, poor, black, white--all rub shoulders in the vinyl booths and at formica counters. We explore the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the diner.

WAMU 88.5

D.C. Council Member David Grosso

D.C. Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Education David Grosso joins us to discuss local public policy issues, including the challenges facing D.C. Public Schools.

NPR

Researchers Warn Against 'Autonomous Weapons' Arms Race

Already, researcher Stuart Russell says, sentry robots in South Korea "can spot and track a human being for a distance of 2 miles — and can very accurately kill that person."

Leave a Comment

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