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People v. Weaver (2009) – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In People v. Weaver (12 NY3d 433, 909 NE2d 1195, 882 NYS2d 357 [2009]), the New York Court of Appeals rejected the notion that the increased siting of personal information on the Internet has been accompanied by any reduction in our reasonable expectations of privacy.

In Weaver the Court held that New York's analogue to the Fourth Amendment generally requires a warrant before the police may attach a GPS device to a car, even though cars generally travel on public roads where their location is apparent to anyone:

"The great popularity of GPS technology . . . may not be taken simply as a massive, undifferentiated concession of personal privacy to agents of the state. Indeed, contemporary technology projects our private activities into public space as never before . . . and the advent of portable computing devices has resituated transactions of all kinds to relatively public spaces. It is fair to say, and we think consistent with prevalent social views, that this change in venue has not been accompanied by any dramatic diminution in the socially reasonable expectation that our communications and transactions will remain to a large extent private." (12 NY3d at 442-443.)