EFF in the News
In what must surely be regarded as quite a coup, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has won the support of the inventor of GPS, Roger L Easton, in an attempt to prevent the government using GPS tracking without a warrrant.
"This is the first case where the Supreme Court will consider automatic, persistent, passive location tracking by law enforcement," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann.
The EFF was joined in its brief by a 90-year-old inventor Roger L. Easton, whom the EFF says in a press release “is considered the father of GPS as the principal inventor and developer of the Timation Satellite Navigation System at the Naval Research Laboratory.”
This is great news for Californians, updating their privacy for the 21st Century," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The Reader Privacy Act will help Californians protect their personal information whether they use new digital book services or their corner bookstore."
Digital books and book services can paint an even more detailed picture—including books browsed but not read, particular pages viewed, how long spent on each page, and any electronic notes made by the reader," the EFF said in a statement.
It was also signed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze, and Roger Easton, the scientist who was the principal designer of what became the GPS, or Global Positioning System.
Google, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation all backed the measure.
The EFF has sued the government after the administration refused a FOIA request to reveal who is on the Intelligence Oversight Board, which is a "presidentially appointed, civilian panel in charge of reviewing all misconduct reports for American intelligence agencies."
Julie Samuels, a patent attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, is skeptical of Microsoft's motives. She says companies that aren't winning with consumers often assert their patents.
"When faxes started to go out of style, all of a sudden you saw this crazy uptick in litigation among fax companies," Samuels says. "It's because when a party isn't making much money selling their product, they realize they can maybe monetize their patents instead."
The threshold question in this case is whether the government's use of GPS technology to track respondents vehicle infringed a reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore constituted a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.