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FBI shuts down 3,000 GPS trackers after privacy ruling

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In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling on GPS tracking, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has apparently turned off roughly 3,000 devices and are drafting more general guidelines for their use.

GPS Phone
GPS Phone

A recent ruling on GPS tracking has prompted the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn off about 3,000 tracking devices, says FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. The Supreme Court ruling on US v. Jones, which found that placing a GPS tracker without a warrant constituted an illegal search, has apparently caused a "sea change" in the Bureau, leading it to draft broader guidelines for both GPS device use and related questions regarding the right to privacy.

Although the ruling doesn't necessarily apply to things like cell phone location tracking or collecting information from other third parties, Weissmann says that "even though it's not technically holding, we have to anticipate how it’s going to go down the road." Unfortunately, there's no mention of digital privacy here, though the agency is apparently debating whether opening trash cans constitutes committing trespass. Weissman's comments were part of a University of San Francisco conference called "Big Brother in the 21st Century."