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They're not the same thing for several reasons:

* The OnStar device is owned by the motorist, not the police.

* The device is installed on every car. I specifically do not think it's OK for the police to dragnet every car.

* The device is by design difficult, in the long run impossible, to remove; it's built into the car.

You seem fixed on the actual information the police are gaining: whether from OnStar or a portable telemetry device, they get a real time feed of where the car is going. Well, they get the same real-time feed from tailing the car. Tails do not require warrants.

> Well, they get the same real-time feed from tailing the car. Tails do not require warrants.

I think that they should.

Tailing does, however, require significant resources on the part of the police department; a point which you seem to be purposefully ignoring, because it has been made by several responses to you up- and downthread.

Slapping a $200 GPS tracker on a car is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for someone to tail you.

Every comment I've made here acknowledges that the whole idea behind the GPS tracker is to make it cheaper (and more effective and safer, but mostly cheaper) to tail people. I think that's a good thing. Believe it or not, I think that when the FBI wants to tail someone --- not snoop on their email, listen to their phone calls, paw through their garbage, pull their financial records, but actually tail someone --- I generally want them to be able to do that.

As has been said over and over and over by everyone literally everyone here including me, they clearly shouldn't have access to everyone's telemetry data by default. But $200 (and be honest it's the FBI they're probably paying $5000, but, sure, $200) seems fine to me. "If you are willing to put $200 on the line to do it, you should be able to tail someone from a computer screen instead of an unmarked car". Yes, that works for me.

The device is installed on every car.

Wait, what? Last time I looked, there were about 6 million vehicles with OnStar. It's certainly on a lot of new cars, maybe even most, but all? In any case, there's a good argument that reading off the GPS data from such a device wirelessly is less instrusive than physically attaching a device to the vehicle.

I was conceding the point of the comment I was responding to, of "all cars having some kind of telemetry in them", and I think in 5 years or so that will actually be true anyways.

I just don't agree that sticking a transponder on my car --- that I'm free to remove if I see it --- is really all that intrusive. It seems less intrusive than them staring through the windows of my car.

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