A federal appeals court ruled that New York City can track taxi drivers by using their cabs’ GPS systems.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling came in the case of taxi driver Hassan El-Nahal, who filed a lawsuit in 2013 charging that the tracking system violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In the 2010 crackdown, El-Nahal one if the cabbies targeted who were overcharging passengers for fare prices.
GPS installed in Taxi’s Throughout NYC
The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission were able to use the GPS devices that had been installed in cabs in 2004 to determine that some drivers were cheating passengers by charging a higher suburban fare when they were still in the city. El-Nahal felt as though his constitutional rights were violated when the commission “mandated the physical placement of tracking devices in privately owned taxicabs.” As a result, El-Nahal sued the city.
The appeals court ruled that the use of the GPS devices was permitted. The court said El-Nahal couldn’t argue that the government had improperly intruded into his property since the GPS device had already been installed when he drove the cab.
“It could allow the government to require car manufacturers to install GPS devices in all cars to track individual drivers,” said the lawyer, Daniel Ackman. “They’d have no Fourth Amendment claim because they did not own the car when the device was installed.”