Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

One Way or Another

Hypothetical situation about the opposite of a Big Brother Police State: you’re on a public street in a car registered in your name, in plain view of Tom, Dick, Harry, and pretty much every concept of God known to the Western World. In this situation, is a police officer allowed to look at you, or not allowed to look at you? The answer ought to be obvious.

So if you’re on a public street in a car registered in your name, in plain view of a GPS satellite, and probably carrying a phone and/or navigation system in your pants and on your dashboard, what makes you think that the police can’t use the same technology to watch you? Do you magically gain some sort of rights when computers are involved? A recent AP article about a court ruling in Michigan seems amazed at the lack of privacy we have while in public.

If we want to make a law requiring the police use only eyeballs to follow you, that’s fine. I think it’s much more cost-effective to have the police use technology to keep up with society, but there’s plenty of room for debate. However, let’s not act surprised that driving around on a public road is less than completely private.