Monday, January 23, 2012

Supreme Court limits warrantless intrusion onto personal property by GPS and probably wireless; more attorneys say SOPA is unnecessary to stop piracy

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement can’t attach a GPS device to your car without a warrant.  The ACLU is urging citizens to support a Gelocation and Privacy Suveillance Act, in this (website url) posting

It makes you wonder about all of the Nixon era wiretaps.

The case was U.S. v. Jones.  The slip opinion has been posted here.  There will continue to be legal controversy over monitoring electronic and wireless communications when no insertion of a device is necessary (such as trolling emails or tweets). 

I had a conversation today with an attorney, who said that in practice SOPA should be entirely unnecessary to control sites doing illegal uploads for piracy.  The government typically gets warrants for court approval to seize assets of sites using large server farms. The Alexandria federal district court has jurisdiction over a huge server farm used by many companies on the East Coast.  Typically, many foreign operations will use these farms. Yes, the federal government could get more cooperation overseas to seize similar operations (as ICE does here).  That way, it wouldn’t be necessary to enlist other providers and even web users to be responsible for policing for privacy.  He agreed that an element in Hollywood would like to eliminate amateurism from the Web. 

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