Judge refers to Orwell in GPS case
A superior court judge in Delaware has struck down evidence that was obtained via warrantless GPS tracking. In her ruling, Judge Jan R. Jurden stated,
(A)n Orwellian state is now technologically feasible…without adequate judicial preservation of privacy, there is nothing to protect our citizens from being tracked 24/7…
Police had stated that they had the defendant under surveillance for 20 days. He was arrested after being observed in what appeared to be a “cash-for-drugs exchange.”
Judge Jurden’s reasoning was,
…the same legal principle that allows officers to tail a suspect in traffic, without a warrant, doesn’t apply to GPS because the devices reveal far more about a person under surveillance than physical surveillance could—and more than police need.
“Prolonged GPS surveillance provides more information than one reasonably expects to ‘expose to the public,’” she wrote. “The whole of one’s movement over a prolonged period of time tells a vastly different story than movement over a day as may be completed by manned surveillance.”.
While “the ruling falls in line with judicial opinions in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “issued a ruling last August effectively allowing the use of GPS tracking without a warrant.” The police agencies within the Court’s jurisdiction are allowed to use the GPS devices without a warrant.
Judge Jurden’s ruling is expected to be appealed.