GPS Bullets Legal For Cops In Hot Pursuit?

The Starchase system allows police to fire a "GPS bullet" at fleeing suspects and then follow them in a somewhat more leisurely manner.

The Starchase system can be mounted to the front-grill of police cruisers, and it fires stick-on “GPS bullets” or tracking devices at the suspect's vehicle through a compressed-air launcher. “The dispatcher then views the location and movements of the tagged vehicle in near real-time on a digital roadmap via a secure Internet connection,” thus rendering a dangerous high speed car-chase unnecessary. The system is being tested by a number of police departments around the US.

Additionally, while a number of new investigative technologies like license-plate readers and law enforcement drones have drawn the ire of some civil libertarians, GPS bullet technologies (when used properly) do not appear to have quite as many downsides.

“We would not object to the GPS bullet technology when used in an exigent circumstance where an officer has probable cause," Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union told Ars. "But any other uses of GPS tracking technology outside the heat of a chase should require a warrant."

Such technologies have "the potential to obviate the need for high-speed pursuits by police cars through cities and towns, which are very dangerous and kill hundreds each year, with a third or more of those fatalities being innocent bystanders,” Stanley has further explained.

A similar idea has been used in the Star Wars movies. In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Obiwan Kenobi fights with bounty hunter Jango Fett on the cloner planet Kamino. When Fett takes off in his ship Slave I, Obiwan takes careful aim, and zings a homing beacon that attaches itself to Fett's ship.


(Star Wars Homing Beacon)

Via Ars Technica.

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