Friday, September 24, 2010

The dwindling treasure of privacy...

For two administrations now, we've seen an out of control Justice Department seek - first in a panicked pursuit of new powers to invade American privacy at levels not seen since J. Edgar Hoover under the Patriot Act (and sundry litigious and administrative efforts) in a frantic effort to avert further large-scale terrorist attacks, and then for more questionable purposes under the current administration.

Each increasingly deep incursion into the fundamental right of Americans to be let the hell alone by their government - whether warrant-less searches, "National Security Letters" that recipients can't even legally *talk* about coercing the booksellers/internet service providers/ librarians of the nation to disgorge the reading selections and emails/browsing habits of Americans to authorities who may or may not have good reason - and blind trust of government not to abuse information or authority has NEVER worked out terribly well.

Ironically, this plays into the hands of the very terrorists we profess to oppose in our War on Terror - with each incursion pushing us further from freedom, democracy, privacy, and other hard-won American values... and towards some yet to be determined variant on totalitarianism in the name of "safety", in a sort of "backing into defeat" our current President seems to celebrate.

The latest in this trend is news of the Obama Justice department seeking to persuade courts that they don't need to *bother* with warrants or judicial review before dropping GPS devices on persons or vehicles and tracking them over the long term (the courts have already permitted such unsupervised misbehavior in the short term).

Excuse me? What part of the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution "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." does this (short term OR long) fail to violate?

Just what makes it so VERY burdensome for an agency to submit to judicial review, as required by any rational reading of the Constitution, that fundamental expectations of privacy are violated before warrant-less tracking devices are planted upon citizens?

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Because it would make the Feds actually WORK to make a case, rather than go on fishing expeditions to see who/what they can catch... sigh... I believe you would have a case for violation of 4th Amendment very easily.