Biss’ GPS-tracking bill passes Illinois Senate, moves to House

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) that would regulate GPS tracking passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday and now moves to the House.

The bill would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before acquiring location information on a person or his or her property.

“Location tracking is just one of many technologies that have advanced rapidly beyond the capacity of existing state law to regulate their use by law enforcement,” Biss said in a news release. “This legislation doesn’t hamstring law enforcement as they appropriately utilize these tools to carry out their mission of protecting the public, but it does affirm the constitutional protections that have always limited police activity and government surveillance.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that GPS tracking of suspects in law enforcement investigations requires a warrant. In the case that prompted the ruling, police officers attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car and monitored his movement for 28 days. The ruling did not necessarily extend to all methods of acquiring GPS data on a suspect but dealt with the specific instance of attaching a physical tracking device to a suspect’s property.

The Senate bill would extend the protection to data acquired digitally from a suspect’s electronic devices.

Biss’ bill passed in the Senate with no opposition. It now moves to the House for consideration.

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