Monday, February 15, 2010

4th Amendment, we don' need no stinkin' 4th amendment!

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution reads:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That pesky Bill of Rights.  There's a reason police can't just storm into your home and tear it apart looking for evidence against you unless they obtain a warrant from a judge for "probably cause."  In 1967, in the case of Katz vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that this amendment gave us "a reasonable expectation of privacy."

So far so good.  Enter President Obama's Department of Justice which will argue before the U.S Court of Appeals that our goverment does not need a court-ordered warrant to obtain cell site location information from mobile phone carriers.  In other words, the government will be able to track you, via your cell phone, for whatever reason they like, even if you're not engaging in criminal activity.  Obama's Department of Justice has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their cell phones' (and your) location.

Interesting case.  I'm sure you can guess where I stand on this given the way I've written this post (yes, I support the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights - call me a radical!).

Anyway, I think if the Bush Administration had proposed this, the hue and cry would be much louder than what little criticism I've seen of this case to date.  What exactly has Obama changed?  Reminds me of The Who's Won't Be Fooled Again - "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

No comments:

Post a Comment