According to the 9th Circus in California, the government has the right to bug your car and track your movements via a GPS tracker. In the initial appeal to the three Judge panel, two of the three judges upheld the government’s right. The larger court refused to review the ruling.
Does this bother you? It does bother me. It is a clear invasion of privacy. A basic right, one not enumerated in the Constitution, is the right to travel freely and without interference. When the government tracks you, they have placed constraints on where you can travel. If you go somewhere they don’t want, they can track you down and arrest you.
Some would say the government already has that right. After all, the government restricts access to Area 51 in Nevada. The difference there is that Area 51 is government property and violating that perimeter is trespassing. The government cannot, however, prevent you traveling on the public roads next to Area 51. The dissenting judges in the 9th circuit believe this is just another violation of personal privacy.
It is a dangerous decision – one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich. — Yahoo News.
I had an email exchange yesterday discussing mobile phones. In that discussion, the other party said he wanted a GPS app. His son travels the boonies and wanted a Garmin-like GPS capability. I said that while my current phone has a GPS module, I have it turned off (except when calling 911). I don’t want to publicize my movement, where I’ve gone, nor whom I see. It isn’t anyone’s business except perhaps my wife and if she asks I’ll tell her.
I once owned a GMC Yukon that had On-Star installed at the factory. I took the Yukon to a local mechanic and had it disconnected. (By the way, did you know the cops can ease-drop on you via On-Star and track your movements? With a warrant of course, but it seems that it’s easier and easier for cops to get such warrants.)
Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, but I prefer to preserve my privacy against anyone most specifically governments.