Obama, Elections 2012, Law Enforcement and You

in Data

Recently there was a US Supreme Court decision about the use of GPS tracking equipment by law enforcement. The ruling upheld the installation and use of GPS tracking equipment on private vehicles as a violation of the US Constitution as it relates to ‘Illegal Searches and Seizures’. The Obama administration had argued that a warrant was not required to use global positioning system devices to monitor a vehicle on public streets.

The case began in 2005 when police officers went to a public parking lot in Maryland and secretly installed a GPS device on a Jeep Grand Cherokee used by a Washington, D.C. nightclub owner, Antoine Jones. Jones was suspected of drug trafficking and the police tracked his movements for a month. The resulting evidence played a key role in his conviction for conspiring to distribute cocaine.

The ruling unfortunately leaves the door wide open for law enforcement and for that matter anyone else that may want to use technology to spy on someone else. The justices unanimously upheld a precedent setting ruling by a U.S. appeals court that the police must first obtain a warrant to use a GPS device for an extended period of time to covertly follow a suspect. 

Read that last sentence again, this time very slowly and carefully and you will discover that police can use one legally without a search warrant for short periods of time. We know that a month is an ‘extended period of time’ per their ruling, so what is an ‘acceptable or short period of time’ defined as, and who is capable of making that determination?

This simple point of tracking someone’s movements should worry us all as more and more of our privacy gets compromised. Most of us are aware that the cell phones we carry can be used as a GPS and can also be turned into a voice transmission device even though the phone is not engaged in a call. In fact most experts agree that you should remove the battery from your cell phone if you want privacy and reinstall it to make calls.

Where most people are unaware is the vehicles they drive can violate their privacy and allow tracking along with lots more data being transmitted. A roadside reader technology has been tested by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) since 1994. This reader is capable of reading eight lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic at 100 miles per hour.

Remember that until the CAN protocol was a legislated requirement starting in 2006 there were many protocols and these transmitted data at many different speeds. When California first started testing roadside transmission in 1994 the standard data speed was 8 kilobits per second under OBD I, under the OBD II CAN protocol that speed can reach as much as 500 kilobits per second. With the reduced protocol set and the increased data speeds the amount and types of data can be vastly enlarged.

When GM, Bosch and Chrysler started what is now the data capture known as Event Data Recording (EDR) also known as Crash Data Recording (CDR) or ‘black box’. They included lots of data available that can be transmitted, such as seat belt usage, acceleration, deceleration, air bag (SRS) deployment, braking, a complete PCM dataset, and more. All of this data including the VIN, etc can be transmitted in a burst to the roadside or mobile receiver.

Under the guise of emissions control, OBD III will be implemented and using the already available GPS, and data transmit capability along with the increased data, increased speeds, and antenna it will be impossible for you to have privacy even while driving your car.

It is hard to believe this Orwellian scenario will ever take place, but as you can clearly see the path has already been laid out and the steps necessary to implement it are in place except for the requirement to burst transmit data. Read the other articles that we have been able to gather that can show you this is where the government is headed all under the guise of clean air. The government will be able to monitor where you go, how fast you got there, traffic violations, fuel consumption, seat belt usage and more invasions of your privacy in violation of the US Constitution.

It is time to put a stop to this invasion of privacy for some additional government agendas that we do not need. It is time for the people to exercise control of an out of control government. November 2012 is the best shot that ‘we the people’ have at regaining our rights that have been taken through illegal and unnecessary means for so long a time. I urge you to forget voting along traditional party lines in November, think about the good of our country, and use your vote to replace a corrupt power structure. If we are lucky we might have a good roster of independent candidates that have never held office and are not bought out by big business and political action committees (PACs).

Copyright © 2012 JD Durham

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JD Durham is a World Class Technician, an Automotive Hall of Fame honoree with 45 years experience in the automotive service and repair industry and a staff writer at Straight Talk Automotive. You are encouraged to visit for more information on OBD2 Scan Tool, and OBD Bluetooth scan tool, also accept this invitation to join our FREE members only area and access great free resources.

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Obama, Elections 2012, Law Enforcement and You

This article was published on 2012/03/08