Government agents can put a GPS tracking device on your car and follow you wherever you go without a search warrant and it is legal, according to a recent ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court's ruling applies to nine western states.
Adam Cohen, a lawyer, wrote an opinion column in Time Magazine stating that the controversial ruling could turn America in the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell in his classic novel, 1984.
The ruling came out of a case where government agents wanted to follow an Oregon man suspected of growing marijuana. The vehicle the agents bugged was parked in the man's driveway. But the court's judges ruled that he did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment because the driveway was "open to strangers" such as delivery people and neighborhood children.
A dissenting judge wrote in his opinion that, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."
All appeals against the court's ruling have failed.
*Originally published on August 26, 2010.