United States v. Jones was a really famous case that questioned the Constitution’s meaning in light of modern surveillance technology. The facts of the case is the narcotics conviction of a Washington, D.C., nightclub owner that a federal appeals court threw out because prosecutors learned of his visits to a house where drugs were trafficked through a tracking device installed without a valid warrant.
More broadly, the case asks what privacy expectations are reasonable in an era when Americans surround themselves with digital devices that constantly log their movements in computer databases.
According to Neal Devin, director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at the College of William & Mary, we live in a world where there’s a greater sense that people can figure out where you are and what you’re doing. If the court sides with the government, he said, “the police can take advantage of new technologies however they want.”
The good news of the case was the court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, and held that the installation of a GPS tracking device on Jones’ vehicle, without a warrant, constituted an unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court rejected the government’s argument that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in person’s movement on public thoroughfares and emphasized that the Fourth Amendment provided some protection for trespass onto personal property.
From my perspective, I think with the development of technology, human’s privacy is getting more and more transparent especially for the government. The government can take advantage of new technology such as GPS positioning to do whatever they want. The invasion of personal privacy seems to be inevitable. In terms of this case, there is a social problem, how to make a balance between the use of GPS tracking system on respondent’s vehicle and the personal privacy of the respondent? The video below detailedly talks about this case, also claimed many other social problems about using GPS tracking system.