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Monday, February 16, 2004

GPS Goes to Court
In the MIT Technology Review blog (which is excellent, btw), Henry Jenkins talks about the legal ramifications of police using GPS trackers.
Meanwhile, USA Today has an article (not in the online edition) about the use of GPS tracker data as evidence in the Scott Peterson case. Apparently, the Modesto police used GPS trackers to monitor the suspectís movements for four months before his arrest. Petersonís defense attorney wants the evidence tossed out. One of their tactics is to question the motives of the experts who are defending the accuracy of such information, claiming that they are self-interested: ďI assume you want the judge to rule that this evidence is admissible so you can sell more GPS receivers.ď Here, the dispute centers less around the constitutionality of its deployment than on its reliability, resulting in a war of competing experts.

This is a fascinating example of the negotiation process by which a society -- or in this case, the courts -- adjusts to the potentials of a new technology. Whether it gets adopted or not depends on how it passes these various legal challenges.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 7:11 PM

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