Welcome back, Drone Law Nation! Today we continue our special series on Drone Law Today: Drones and the Fourth Amendment!
This third episode looks at the case of U.S. v. Jones, a Supreme Court case from 2012 that considers whether GPS tracking technology can be a “search” under the Fourth Amendment.
These cases are important to the future of police use of drone technology.
And why is that? Because our “search and seizure” case law changes over time when the Court considers what society thinks about new technologies.
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the 1928 Olmstead decision. In that case, the Court held that wiretaps were NOT searches under the Fourth Amendment! That case was all about “trespass” – without trespass, there was no search!
In Part 2 of this series, we looked at how the Court changed the law (in Katz) to focus on a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy” to determine whether a “search” occurred. Remember: if it’s a “search” under the Fourth Amendment, police need a warrant!
The Jones case is another step in this evolution. It also “resurrects” some parts of Olmstead – trespass analysis may be alive again!
And why does this matter for drones? Because drones are a brand new technology that, like wire taps, FBI “bugs,” and GPS tracking devices, will crash right into the Constitution in unexpected ways. Understanding these cases will help you, Drone Law Nation, to protect yourself and your business by seeing how things may play out.
Listen in for Part 3!
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