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ACLU sues for FBI GPS tracking guidelines

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The American Civil Liberties Union is taking the Justice Department to court over the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most recent policies for using global positioning systems to track people.

In documents filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the group asks the department to immediately release memos detailing the FBI's use of GPS technology after a Supreme Court decision that found that attaching a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car qualifies as a search under the 4th Amendment.

The ACLU says FBI officials have publicly disclosed the existence of memos that describe news guidelines developed in the wake of the Supreme Court's United States v. Jones case. The group filed a freedom of information request for the memos in February but so far the FBI has not released the documents, according to the court filing.

"There is a strong public interest in disclosure of the memoranda," ACLU lawyers argue in the documents. "The FBI's guidance regarding Jones directly influences law enforcement policies and American citizens' Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The release of the memoranda will help the public understand whether the FBI conforms to the constitutional requirements discussed in Jones."

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Recent ACLU efforts have gathered and publicized law enforcement use of GPS to track people through cellphone data.

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// October 22
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