The prolonged use of a global-positioning device by law enforcement to surveil the movements of a suspect in a drug investigation is a search requiring a warrant, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled. The court concluded that the surveillance was a search because it defeated the suspect's reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of his movements over the course of a month, as distinguished from his privacy interest in a single journey from point to point in the tracked vehicle. The court commented: "A reasonable person does not expect anyone to monitor and retain a record of every time he drives his car, including his origin, route, destination, and each place he stops and how long he stays there; rather, he expects each of those movements to remain 'disconnected and anonymous.'"
U.S. v. Maynard, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 16417 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 6, 2010) Download PDF