The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police cannot attach a GPS tracker to someone’s car without first getting clearance from a court. The link goes to a Wall Street Journal story about the opinion. In summary, the majority of the court ruled that the GPS devices were not a trivial matter, and that they warranted judicial review before their use. Using the small, inexpensive devices to track people amounted to a violation of the person’s Fourth Amendment Rights against unlawful searches and seizures. In separate consenting opinions, Justices Sotomayor and Alito wrote that the GPS trackers went beyond an unlawful search. Justice Alito wrote that the devices were also a invasion of an individuals “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The passage that particularly caught my eye was Justice Sotomayor writing: “Awareness that the Government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms. And the Government’s unrestrained power to assemble data that reveal private aspects of identity is susceptible to abuse. The net result is that GPS monitoring—by making available at a relatively low cost such a substantial quantum of intimate information about any person whom the Government, in its unfettered discretion, chooses to track—may “alter the relationship between citizen and government in a way that is inimical to democratic society.”
Replace GPS with Drone and read that again.