Last night at the Surveillance Research and Action: Approaches to Information Freedom panel, Gregory Donovan, St. Peter’s University, his talk was the Participation, Proprietary Media, and Data Surveillance in the “Smart” City. Within his presentation he discussed the Supreme Courts ruling of the United States v. Jones, which caught my attention, as the Justices ruled unanimously that the police violated Jones’ Fourth Amendment when they used his GPS as a tracking device.
Justice Antonin Scalia’s quote in The New York Times’ post, Justices Say GPS Tracker Violated Privacy Rights, was put perfectly, “It is important to be clear about what occurred in this case. The government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted.”
This is simply, another time where dated legal concepts have difficulty combining with 21st century technological advancements. Justice Sonia Sotomayor added that “it may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties.” Justice Sotomayor’s point is very important as it posses other issues this case brings up.
Such as whether it is legal for phone companies to put GPS devices in cellphones and track their customers, particularly when customers don't want this capacity in their phone? There are probably many ways we are being tracked and monitored that we have not consented to, throw electronics in products that we use. Although we consent in purchasing these technological products, do we really (have the knowledge to) consent to the tracking and GPS defaults that come with our purchase?
These issues can be related back to the Terms and Conditions May Apply film, as it deals with what are we really consenting to online? And most importantly the significance of online literacy- a topic Gregory Donovan demonstrated in his proprietary research My Digital Footprint, as he educated inner city youth, hands on, of the truth behind privacy and public content on social media sites.
The issue ruling the Supreme Court made and proprietary research Donovan both express that when you are connected to the online world, in any capacity, it is safe to assume privacy is as real as a unicorn.
You're Welcome World,