In a recent AP story, actress Jennifer Lawrence had some rather extensive and passionate quotes about her loss of privacy. Not too long ago, Lawrence’s nude photos were stolen and leaked on the Internet by a hacker who hacked into her iCloud account. In her comments for the AP story, she lamented how much paparazzi were harassing her: “I knew the paparazzi were going to be a reality in my life. . . . But I didn’t know that I would feel anxiety every time I open my front door, or that being chased by 10 men you don’t know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day.”
The two cases are Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, and they are decided in the same opinion with the title Riley v. California. The Court must have chosen toname the case after Riley to make things hard for criminal procedure experts, as there is a famous Fourth Amendment case called Florida v. Riley, 488 U,S, 445 (1989), which will now create confusion whenever someone refers to the “Riley case.”
The Supreme Court has long held that there is no expectation of privacy in public for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Because the Fourth Amendment turns on the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Court’s logic means that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection to surveillance in public. In United States v. Jones, the Court will confront just how far this logic can extend. FBI agents installed a GPS tracking device on Jones’ car and monitored where he drove for a month without a warrant. Jones challenged the warrantless GPS surveillance as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The D.C. Circuit agreed with Jones. United States v. Jones, 615 F.3d 544 (D.C. Cir. 2010). Other federal circuit courts have reached conflicting conclusions on GPS, and now the Supreme Court will resolve the conflict.
In United States v. Jones, FBI agents installed a GPS tracking device on Jones’ car and monitored where he drove for a month without a warrant. Jones challenged the warrantless GPS surveillance as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The D.C. Circuit agreed with Jones.