Following a Supreme Court hearing in January, the United States Department of Justice has shut down 3,000 GPS devices that were used to track civilians without a permit. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FBI had trouble collecting the GPS devices, which were used to track people, after they were turned off. These devices were often stuck underneath cars, which would allow the FBI to track car owners' movements. The Bureau sought warrants to turn some of the devices back on only to track them and retrieve them. The agency is reported to be working on new guidelines for the use of GPS devices. They are also reported to be considering further implications of the court order, with an example of considering whether opening a trash can without permission is trespassing.
Shutting down GPS devices
This is in response to a lawsuit, regarding the police use of a GPS device on a suspect's car for 28 days without a warrant. The Supreme Court of the United States found that the move violated the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This Amendment protects citizens and residents from house searches, property searches and other types of surveillance done by law enforcement officials without prior warrant. The case involved Antoine Jones, a night club owner in Washington who was suspected of being involved in a cocaine selling operation. The police placed a GPS device on his car for 28 days without a warrant. While the information collected was used against him in court and he was given a life sentence, the Supreme Court also ruled that more information was collected than was needed. This is why the use of the GPS device was unconstitutional.