Japan Top Court Rules Police GPS Tracking Without Warrant Illegal (News)


Tokyo, March 15 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Supreme Court found Wednesday that the police use of Global Positioning System devices without a court warrant in criminal investigations is illegal, in the first decision on the issue by the country's top court.

"It is desirable for new legislation to be enacted" if GPS devices are to be used in police investigations, the court said, in the ruling on a theft case. It is rare for the top court to make such an advisory comment.

"There remains doubt" about police conducting investigations using GPS devices with court warrants issued under the country's current criminal procedure law.

Following the Supreme Court judgment, the National Police Agency instructed police departments across the nation to refrain from using GPS devices in their investigations.

The court's Grand Bench, led by Chief Justice Terada Itsurō, judged probes using GPS devices to be compulsory investigations that require court warrants, like house searches, rejecting the police view that they are voluntary investigations, which do not require warrants.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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