A victory for freedom

Court's GPS decision upholds the Fourth Amendment

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How much should the government be able to spy on us?

Well, it’s a little less now than before Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, thank goodness.

The high court unanimously said that law enforcement officers cannot secretly attach global positioning system devices to cars to track criminal suspects without a search warrant issued by a judge.

The fact that this very diverse and often split-decision court was unanimous indicates this ruling was as no-brainer as you’re going to get at the highest court in the land. At the start of the 21st century, it’s more than a little frightening to think about all the ways the government can already monitor us. With future technological developments certain, it’s essential that this court draw a line in the sand to protect our rights going forward.

This is a landmark ruling and a victory for freedom – and, really, for humanity, as we attempt to safeguard our dignity and liberties in a world with increasingly invasive devices around us.

You can argue that police aren’t putting such devices on the vehicles of law-abiding citizens. But: 1) how do you know that? And 2) in spelling out our rights, particularly in the first 10 amendments, the Constitution doesn’t delineate between the good guys and bad guys; we all have the same rights. In this case, it’s the Fourth Amendment:

“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’s pretty unambiguous.

Few editorial pages in the country are as pro-law enforcement as this one. But even the good guys wearing badges must have lines they cannot cross.

What’s nearly as ominous as the devices the government is getting its hands on is the fact that, in this case, those sworn to uphold the laws and Constitution had to be told to do so by the courts.

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Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 12:49 am
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Locally, not too long ago

Locally, not too long ago cameras were installed at traffic lights to monitor traffic flow and so on. Law enforcement also said they could use the cameras to determine if a certain vehicle had passed through the light, who was in the car and so on. It was stated they could determine if someone had gone somewhere by connecting the information from the cameras in various locations.

That immediately set off red flags with me, but I think I was the only person who saw the cameras as an invasion of privacy. It actually does the same thing the GPS tracker does, possibly even to a greater degree, if you think about it, because it shows who was in the vehicle with you. As technology improves this camera tracking is going to be more sophisticated.

It’s simply too much like a police state and Big Brother when the camera system allows police to know everybody who went through an intersection and what time it was.

To counter my concern, some say you shouldn’t worry about others knowing where you’ve been if you’re not doing anything wrong. But that kind of thinking would also allow midnight searches without warrants. You know just do a block a night randomly.

Happily, the Supreme Court gets it. We have to be careful with technology that allows the government to tell where we are every minute. It leads to excesses.

itsanotherday1
48420
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itsanotherday1 01/25/12 - 12:49 am
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RM, do you watch the teevee

RM, do you watch the teevee show Person of Interest? It is pure fiction of course, but facial recognition software is being refined; and coupled with camera arrays all over town, they could very well prove that RM first went to the gentlemen's club, then to the liquor store before winding up at the poolroom with a blond bombshell. That would be good because you would have an airtight alibi about where you were when the still got hit.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 12:53 am
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Itsnotherday1, haha...but you

Itsnotherday1, haha...but you get it. See our goal should be to guard against buying any kind of technology for law enforcement that allows everyone to be tracked. Right now, it would be possible to place gadgets on every license tag and have a satellite track every vehicle all the time. A program could determine where a certain tag number went on a certain day.

itsanotherday1
48420
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itsanotherday1 01/25/12 - 12:58 am
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There is another bad angle to

There is another bad angle to GPS. We had them installed in field reps cars to improve response time based on who was closest to a client. Managers were expressly forbidden to actively see where their people were at a given time, but the company was very clear that the recorded data was subject to subpoena if someone wanted to see it. That made some of the guys who tipped around on their wives a little nervous.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 01:25 am
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Sure, any kind of data like

Sure, any kind of data like that could be subpoenaed. But I think the biggest concern is a worry if government slips a little too far to some extreme. I mean I want a Woverines like fighting chance if that happens. Heck, if they know where everyone is all the time, they could start pushing buttons and make someone they don't like have a desire to watch Dancing with the Stars or something.

And what about the Internet with every company and government agency from here to Ludowici already tracking what you do.

onlysane1left
223
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onlysane1left 01/25/12 - 08:10 am
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Wasn't all of this stuff

Wasn't all of this stuff started unde the Patriot Act, that everyone felt was so great to start, but now, this article and other commenters seem to be against? Why did that ever get started in the first place?

allhans
24988
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allhans 01/25/12 - 09:21 am
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only.."started" doesn't mean

only.."started" doesn't mean keep "adding to".

Chillen
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Chillen 01/25/12 - 11:18 am
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Big Sis and her boss, obama,

Big Sis and her boss, obama, are shedding tears today. Darn those Supreme Court Justices. Don't they realize that there is an AGENDA to implement? I'm sure they are working on payback right now. How dare the obama appointees vote for personal freedom!

American Freedom 1
1984-like Freedom thieves & haters 0

EMAGUY
6
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EMAGUY 01/25/12 - 11:24 am
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Riverman1, why are you

Riverman1, why are you worried about the government placing a tracking device on your car tag? Why go through the expense of purchasing, maintaining, and placing the GPS tracking device on vehicles? A natural progression of using GPS on vehicles would be using an individuals GPS enabled smart phone to track the individuals movements.

Even better, there would be no cost to law enforcement to use the technique. The subject (suspect?) under surveillance would incur all costs (phone purchase, monthly maintenance, etc). Just an extension of what might have been had the Supreme Court not stopped this.

TParty
6004
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TParty 01/25/12 - 11:26 am
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The Patriot act infringes on

The Patriot act infringes on our liberties for sure- much like the GPS on cars. The government can do other things without a warrant as well. I hope this is the beginning of fighting for regaining our rights which have been slowly taken from us.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 11:29 am
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I look at the Patriot Act as

I look at the Patriot Act as a necessary evil of being at war. We took extraordinary measures under Democrat FDR during WWII and I'm not going to criticize anything done in a war. But I am against anything similar not involved with national security.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 11:37 am
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Emaguy, you are right. My

Emaguy, you are right. My former barber, Crazy Pete, used to check every customer's scalp for embedded devices that he believed the government was putting in everyone. He really was quite sophisticated in this process. He would ask you if you had ever had an operation where they put you to sleep. He thought that's when they did it.

Now I never put too much into what Crazy Pete said because he was using a straight razor on me, but maybe his obsessions were the truth, even if they didn't involve my head. I need to find Crazy Pete and tell him about all this.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/25/12 - 05:41 pm
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Here is another rant on this

Here is another rant on this subject. DUI checkpoints. We stop every vehicle on a road and are questioned and asked to show our license, etc. How is this different than a third world country with a dictator wearing a rhinestone uniform with roadblocks and soldiers asking for your papers and questioning you?

The Supreme Court has ruled something like it's an extraordinary measure taken because of the overwhelming assault on society of drunk driving. I might buy something like that for awhile, but you can't have things like that going on forever. We have to get back to the vision of freedom our forefathers had.

Riverman1
94348
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Riverman1 01/26/12 - 08:56 pm
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The other thread about the

The other thread about the guy being stopped walking, got me thinking about this thread again and my last comment. About DUI checkpoints invading our privacy, I wouldn't mind if a checkpoint were being done to find someone who had just committed a violent crime or something. But to routinely stop every car is just interfering with the right of people to be secure in their person. It's a major inconvenience and has no place in a free society.

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