crime

Use of GPS to track suspect ruled legal by Osaka court

24 Comments

In a case to determine the legality of police using GPS tracking devices to follow a suspect, the Osaka District Court has ruled that such actions are legal and within the rights of the police force in order to ensure public safety.

The ruling was handed down in the case of a man who filed a suit against police for using GPS to track him during their investigation into a series of vandalism incidents.

The court heard that in their investigation of eight cases of buildings being vandalized, police suspected a 36-year-old man and attached a GPS tracking device to his car in order to follow him., NTV reported Saturday. Because no warrant had been obtained for the device, the suspect's lawyer filed a lawsuit claiming that his client's privacy had been violated.

In handing down his ruling, the presiding judge said, "The GPS device was used only to assist officers in tailing the man when he was out in public, and was in no way an aggressive violation of his privacy."

The defendant was found guilty of destroying public property and sentenced to four years in prison.

According to legal experts, this is the first time that any court has ruled the use of such tracking devices as legal, even though the law already allows police to track suspects in criminal cases via the electro-magnetic waves emitted by their cell phones. Police may get a warrant to request information pertaining to an individual’s current location from mobile phone service providers. The providers are able to give accurate readings of the distance between a cell phone and base station.

The government is considering mandating the use of GPS monitoring devices among repeat sex offenders as a way of preventing recidivism and alleviating the anxiety of sex crime victims. Police also want to use GPS devices to counter the increase in scams in which someone calls an elderly person, pretending to be a relative in need of money, as well as other money transfer scams.

© Japan Today

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24 Comments
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Very very scary precedent.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

wtf? At first I assumed they meant that the police simply demanded the GPS data from his cellphone provider, but no, they actually put a bloody GPS tracker on his car themselves? WTF?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

After having read the article I think this case should go to the Supreme Court. Without having obtained warrants to track the suspect, legally this was a violation of his right to privacy. I can't understand why the paperwork wasn't filed...

0 ( +7 / -7 )

This is just the beginning, it's being sold as a helpful tool to watch or catch criminals. Meanwhile in Florida, they're are trying to pass a law that ALL homeless HAVE to be microchipped, for the safety of average citizens. A slippery slope, on so many levels.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The right to be left alone is a basic individual right of every law abiding citizen.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

wtf? At first I assumed they meant that the police simply demanded the GPS data from his cellphone provider, but no, they actually put a bloody GPS tracker on his car themselves? WTF?

I'm actually less annoyed about this than if they "nudged" the GPS data from the provider.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

im guessing thats something that Abe will need to change, maybe put it under the new secrecy laws. we cant have citizens moving around without the ability to track the 24/7

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't understand why some readers are complaining about the police using tracking devices on their suspects. It's really a small price to pay if the police can better protect people from criminals.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Yoshimi, the point is how do you know someone is a criminal? What's to stop the police from putting trackers on whomever they want?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The government is considering mandating the use of GPS monitoring devices among repeat sex offenders as a way of preventing recidivism and alleviating the anxiety of sex crime victims.

Wouldn't it be better to just put all potential recidivists to pasture on some out of the way peninsula?

Or build a big wall outside Fukushima Daiichi (it not being fair to put them anywhere that's currently inhabited, to the current inhabitants) and let them live out their days there.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm more worried about pedo, perverted J-cops knowing my locations (or my children's locations) than I am about graffiti artists.

In February a pedo J-cop in Gunma used confidential data contained in patrol contact cards to try and kidnap a 10-year-old girl.

Until the courts agree to SEVERE penalties for the misuse of confidential data (and I'm thinking of sentences along the lines of 10+ years in prison) I don't think that the J-cops should have access to any more data than they already have.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Makes you wonder hey, our/my new gaijin card has a IC chip in it which is trackable. Test it on the gaijins then roll it out to the sleeping masses. All in the name of tracking criminals. 100 yen stainless steel credit card holder blocks the signal by the way. No I'm not a criminal just a person who think privacy is a very serious issue in this technological age. Scary

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Yoshimi, the point is how do you know someone is a criminal? What's to stop the police from putting trackers on whomever they want?"

Dear Lazybones,

I exactly understand your concern. Of course, there is a possibility the police might put GPO on someone who will turn out to have nothing to do with the suspected crime. And I understand that someone could be you or me. That's exactly why I said "a price to pay." I'm quite willing to pay the price if they can protect us better.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If you aren't guilty then what's the problem? When I start breaking the law I'll start worrying about my IC chip... I'll take out my ETC card which also tracks me... And watch out for the cops but since I'm not doing anything wrong I don't care. Repeat Sex offenders should have gps implanted in them!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

In my previous comment I mistakenly wrote "GPO," I should have written "GPS" instead. Sorry about that.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It seems some people's concept of privacy is illusory. If the authorities (in any country in which you live, it doesn't matter) want information about you for some particular reason, they will get it. Anti-terrorism laws together with modern technology have put an end to keeping all your information and activities private. The only solace is that the vast majority of people do not have much to worry about. BTW, the IC cards in gaijin cards (and Japanese driving licences) are only "trackable" to a maximum range of 50 cms (or about 20 inches!)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In my case, police followed me using my cellphone because my ex complained that I may have an affair. It was not even a criminal case. Police wearing plain clothes followed me on more than two occasions, at least. One was wearing sports clothes and pretending he was running. Another was sitting on the way checking on me. This is all done secretly all the time. Later when I got a girlfriend who brother was a police, she told me her brother would check her location using her cellphone if she was not home and at work. Unless a lawyer raises it, this is simply common activity and even has a name ...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Zootmoney & Vicy Lyn:

'Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.'

Benjamin Franklin.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

nedinjapan: Unless a lawyer raises it, this is simply common activity and even has a name ...

Was reading a photo book titled 'Japan' the other day. It talked a bit about that. It was from the 70's or so. Back then: Police visited each house and business on their beat twice a year, to check on changes in inhabitants, job status, etc., and logged notes in report books kept at station. An example was given of one old lady who told the police she was suspicious of her neighbors' new wealth: they had gotten new curtains and a new stereo set (this being the 70's). The police duly reported this to central station for further followup.

Same thing happens in China, if you're a foreigner your spouse's family is supposed to tell local police if you are visiting. And/or family may provide a gift (tea or something) to flat block's warden (little old lady or little old man with red armband), to make things easier.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well down the slippery slope already.

No warrant? No way! Who paid off the judges?

To those who see no problem with this, 2015 's astrological mascot(the sheep) is befitting. You've forfeited your own right to privacy and peace.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Its a Japanese thing. A very law abiding people who dont have any issues with the authorities impelling GPS on criminals. For us westerners, there is a great expectation of privacy and freedom in our lives.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

police expanding their powers over the people, soon a more present police state as every month they get bolder and bolder, and people have less use of what little rights they are aware of that can be used in Japan. It's the old system in Japan. Get them trained now with little resistence

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After having read the article I think this case should go to the Supreme Court. Without having obtained warrants to track the suspect, legally this was a violation of his right to privacy. I can't understand why the paperwork wasn't filed...

Why on earth would the police need a warrant to TRACK a suspect? To search his property, sure. But no warrant is needed to physically tail a suspect and no warrant would therefore be needed to electronically do the same. Unless this guy parks his car inside his living room every night, the public location of his vehicle at any given time doesn't amount to an invasion of privacy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think this debate revolves on the fact that whether a car is a private property or not. For a private property, a warrant should be needed. For the gakojin card or driver license as it remains the government property (even though each person is the owner), no warrant are needed. By the way, does anyone have a link concerning the IC chip in the driver license or gaikojin card?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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