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    Family Law Legal Research Blog

    Anne B. Hemenway

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    Admissibility of GPS Surveillance Data in Civil Cases

    Posted by Anne B. Hemenway on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 @ 11:01 AM

    Anne Hemenway—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                When a spouse places a Global Positioning Systems ("GPS") device in the other spouse's vehicle without consent to monitor that spouse's movements and position around town, the admissibility of the GPS data in the divorce trial is likely to be challenged. In United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that a GPS tracing device is a "search" under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and absent a warrant allowing for the device to be used, data from the GPS device will be considered inadmissible.  Further, in Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), the United States Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure also requires the government to obtain a search warrant before acquiring cell phone data, which the Court analogized to GPS tracking data. The Court recognized that "individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the whole of their physical movements. Allowing government access to cell-site records—which 'hold for many Americans “privacies of life,”’ . . . contravenes that expectation." Id. at 2209-10.

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    Topics: family law, GPS, no consent, admissibility of data, Anne B. Hemenway, exclusionary rule, invasion of privacy, telemarketing

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