Tag Archive: Fourth Amendment


Tea Party, Taxes And Why The Original Patriots Would’ve Revolted Against The Surveillance State

 

We Rebelled Against Much Less

 

 

” Let’s just imagine we could transport an Internet-connected laptop back to the 1790s, when the United States was in its infancy. The technology would no doubt knock the founders out of their buckle-top boots, but once the original patriots got over the initial shock and novelty (and clearing up Wikipedia controversies, hosting an AMA and boggling over Dogecoin), the sense of marvel would give way to alarm as they realized how electronic communications could be exploited by a tyrant, such as the one from which they just freed themselves.

 As America’s first unofficial chief technologist, Benjamin Franklin would be the first to recognize the danger and take to trolling the message boards with his famous sentiment: Those who would trade liberty for safety deserve neither. (And he’d probably troll under a fake handle, using Tor, since the patriots understood that some truths are best told with anonymity.)

  Mass surveillance was not part of the original social contract—the terms of service, if you will—between Americans and their government. Untargeted surveillance is one reason we have an independent country today.

  Under the Crown’s rule, English officials used writs of assistance to indiscriminately “enter and go into any house, shop cellar, warehouse, or room or other place and, in case of resistance, to break open doors, chests, trunks, and other package there” in order to find tax evaders. Early patriot writers, such as James Otis Jr. and John Dickinson, railed against these general warrants, and it was this issue, among other oppressive conditions, that inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Fourth Amendment.

James Madison drafted clear language guaranteeing the rights of Americans, and it bears reading again in full:

 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.”

EFF has the story

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From Brian Kolfage

 

Judge Napolitano On NSA Ruling: ‘NSA Couldn’t Even Prove Its Phone Surveillance Stopped An Attack’

 

 

Published on Dec 17, 2013

” A federal judge ruled that the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records is likely unconstitutional. Appeals Court Judge Richard Leon called the NSA surveillance “almost Orwellian,” saying that Founding Father James Madison would be “aghast” at the NSA’s “indiscriminate” invasion of Americans’ privacy.

  The surveillance will continue for now, since the ruling was immediately stayed pending further appeals.

  Judge Andrew Napolitano, a vocal critic of the NSA, weighed in this morning on Fox and Friends, telling Elisabeth Hasselbeck that judges on the FISA court have overstepped in granting permission to the NSA to collect these vast amounts of data.

  The NSA also could not or chose not to demonstrate that these collections helped keep the country safe, he explained.

” Not only is this unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment. Not only is this wrong because it permits the government to listen to all phone calls and keep copies of them forever, but there isn’t even any evidence that it works,” said Napolitano.

  He called it “startling” that the NSA wasn’t able to show Leon instances where phone surveillance stopped a suspected terror plot.

” It’s mystifying as to why they wouldn’t have told them about one,” said Napolitano, adding that up to this point the government’s main argument is that the NSA surveillance helps keep Americans safe.

  The NSA will not have to change its tactics unless a higher court upholds Leon’s ruling. Napolitano believes the case will eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Agents Seize Records Of Reporter, Washington Times Prepares Legal Action

 

 

” Maryland state police and federal agents used a search warrant in an unrelated criminal investigation to seize the private reporting files of an award-winning former investigative journalist for The Washington Times who had exposed problems in the Homeland Security Department’s Federal Air Marshal Service.

Reporter Audrey Hudson said the investigators, who included an agent for Homeland’s Coast Guard service, took her private notes and government documents that she had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act during a predawn raid of her family home on Aug. 6.

The documents, some which chronicled her sources and her work at the Times about problems inside the Homeland Security Department, were seized under a warrant to search for unregistered firearms and a “potato gun” suspected of belonging to her husband, Paul Flanagan, a Coast Guard employee. Mr. Flanagan has not been charged with any wrongdoing since the raid.

The warrant, obtained by the Times, offered no specific permission to seize reporting notes or files.

The Washington Times said Friday it is preparing legal action to fight what it called an unwarranted intrusion on the First Amendment.”

    We posted about this blatant , illegal fishing expedition yesterday . This piece offers considerably more detail than was available yesterday , including the fact the Mr Flanagan has been arrested on “gun charges” more than once  , but more importantly , that Ms Hudson has been the cause of numerous governmental investigations and much embarrassment over the course of her career in DC . She is certainly an enemy of the State .

 

 

” Mrs. Hudson has been a reporter in Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years, and covered Homeland Security for the Times after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks through December 2009.

Her investigations have sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She has won numerous journalism awards for her investigations, including the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi bronze medal for public service, the Society of Professional Journalists Dateline Award in Investigative Reporting, and was nominated twice by The Times for the Pulitzer Prize.”

 

 

Another battle in the war on whistleblowers/journalists is enjoined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTIRE STATES SWALLOWED BY DHS ‘BORDER’

 

fourth amendment free zone dhs

 

 

” Major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and even Houston have been declared by the Department of Homeland Security to be within the official 100 mile ‘border’ of the United States, subjecting 197 million citizens to electronic belonging searches without any suspicion.

It all started in 2008, when the DHS declared that certain ‘border control agents’ could search the electronic belongings of individuals without suspicion — let alone a warrant. Bypassing the rights provided by the Constitutional to every citizen of the United States, the DHS immediately came under fire for the policy. The response? The DHS promised to have the policy reviewed within 120 days. The catch? The review was done two years late and by their own review panel known as the Civil Liberties Impact division.

Absent of any independent input in their secretive review, the DHS published a brief document stating that the suspicionless search policy was perfectly reasonable. Laptops, cell phones, camcorders, and all other gadgets were open game for the DHS within the ‘borders’ of the country.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACLU Sues Over NSA Phone Surveillance

 

 

” The #ACLU filed suit Tuesday against the National Security Agency, over revelations about an apparently extensive telephone surveillance program.

The 11-page suit filed in the Southern District of New York asks a federal judge to declare the so-called ‘mass call tracking” program a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments; the civil liberties group wants the program stopped, and its records destroyed.

The lawsuit states:

The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where. It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Protect Against Laptop Webcam Hacking

 

 

” Last week, a federal judge in Texas refused to authorize the government to hack a computer suspected of criminal use, including controlling the computer’s camera.  The government had sought a warrant to “surreptitiously install[] software designed not only to extract certain stored electronic records but also to generate user photographs and location information over a 30 day period.” Noting the high standards for a warrant for wiretaps and video surveillance under the federal rules and the Fourth Amendment, Judge Smith determined that the government had not met its burden.

Judge Smith looked carefully at the legal issues, but you can’t be sure that every judge will be familiar enough with the law and technology to stand up to overly broad government requests. At the same time, you may be concerned that malicious hackers or rogue government entities will take control over your camera. But you can protect against the effects of webcam hacking with a few easy steps.”

 

 

 

 

 

Warrantless Searches Proposed — for Third Time — by WA Democrats

 

 

 

” Cut to Washington State: in this case, liberal Democrats in the legislature have introduced an assault weapon ban that includes annual inspections of the homes of people that already own assault weapons to make sure that they are being safely stored.

There is no need for a warrant; there is no probable cause requirement; and the Seattle Times columnist writing about this clearly unconstitutional law observes that the sponsors include “Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, a lawyer who typically is hyper-attuned to civil-liberties issues.”

After a stream of criticism, the author withdrew the warrantless search section of the bill, calling it a “mistake.” Yet, as Bryan Preston points out, the warrantless search section – word for word — was included in bills by Kline in 2009 and 2005.

Mistake? I think he was just finally caught and called out this time.

What makes this especially outrageous: not only are they ignoring the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee regarding warrantless searches and the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, but also the Washington State Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms.

Before liberals attempt to defend not only warrantless searches but also to claim that “assault weapons” are not protected: the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has recognized by name the AR-15 as a constitutionally protected arm.

The case was an ugly one: State v. Rupe (Washington, 1984). The defendant was convicted of murdering the two women who worked at a branch office of Tumwater State Bank. Rupe had left his bloodstained checkbook on the counter in the midst of the robbery, and was convicted on a combination of evidence including testimony of conspirators. No, Rupe did not use an AR-15; he used a revolver. So how did an AR-15 end up in this case? “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Wins Trial Over Airport Arrest

 

 

 

 

“A Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area won a trial Friday in his lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:

” Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.”

 

 

Airport Security Is Making Americans Less Safe

 

 

 ” The TSA was created to replace the patchwork of private security companies that handled airport security in the pre-9/11 era. Its budget quickly ballooned: Since 2002 the number of TSA agents has risen from 16,000 to more than 50,000. Still, to a traumatized public, any amount of overreaction in the name of preventing another terrorist attack seemed acceptable.

More than a decade later, it’s time to move on. For one thing, the attention paid to terrorism in the U.S. is out of proportion to the relative threat it presents. Since 2000 the chance that the death of a U.S. resident resulted from a terrorist attack was 1 in 3.5 million, according to John Mueller and Mark Stewart of Ohio State and the University of Newcastle, respectively. Out of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen. In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 annual deaths worldwide, outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq—the same number, notes Mueller, that occur in bathtubs in the U.S. each year.

Yet the TSA still commands a budget of nearly $8 billion—leaving the agency with too many officers and not enough to do. The TSA’s “Top Good Catches of 2011,” reported on its blog, did include 1,200 firearms and—their top find—a single batch of C4 explosives (though that payload was discovered only on the return flight). A longer list of the TSA’s confiscations would include a G.I. Joe action doll’s 4-inch plastic rifle (“it’s a replica”) and a light saber toy. For all the face cream, breast milk, and live fish that vigilant screeners collected in airport security lines last year, the TSA didn’t spot a single terrorist trying to board an airline in the U.S. “

 

 

Illustration By Glenn McCoy

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