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Abstract

Part I of this Note discusses the evolution of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in reaction to advancing technology, the Supreme Court and circuit courts’ disposition in dealing with electronic “beeper” tracking (the technology that predated GPS), and the legal doctrine governing the government’s use of cellular phones to conduct surveillance of individuals both retroactively and in real-time. Part II examines the developing split among the federal circuits and state courts over whether GPS surveillance of vehicles constitutes a search, as well as the parallel concerns raised in recent published opinions by magistrate judges as to whether government requests for cell-site information from third party service providers require a warrant. Part III of this Note argues for the adoption of a rule that GPS surveillance constitutes a search and seizure and should require a warrant because the privacy expectation—that the government is not tracking its citizens twenty-four hours per day—is still one that society considers legitimate. It also argues that increasing public use or consent to third party use of GPS technology does not destroy an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements, nor indicate that society no longer views these expectations as reasonable. In fact, increased public awareness of recent technological invasions of privacy may be producing an increased demand for control over information.

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