According to the latest ruling out of the Ninth Circuit Court, it’s perfectly legal for state, local, or federal agents to secretly plant a GPS tracking system on your car in the middle of the night, even if it’s parked in your driveway, and then use said GPS vehicle tracking system to track your movements as they see fit. BAscially the ruling says that federal agents can secretly install a GPS vehicle tracking device into your car without a warrant – and this doesn’t violate a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The ruling, which sets precedent for Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, holds that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures” doesn’t apply to driveways. But the Ninth Circuit doesn’t make precedent for the whole country, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently ruled that extended tracking via GPS requires a warrant. But, since conflicting precedent has now been set on the West Coast, this issue is bound for the Supreme Court.
In the case, DEA agents secretly planted a GPS vehicle tracking system on Juan Pineda-Moreno’s Jeep at night while it was parked outside his home, and then used it to pinpoint the illegal marijuana crop he was cultivating. Pineda-Moreno appealed the case on the grounds that the secret GPS tracking violated his Fourth Amendment rights, but a three-judge panel denied his appeal in January and a larger panel ruled this month against reconsidering the case.