It’s a civil libertarian’s worst nightmare. Warrantless data tracking is now a sad reality for many Americans, courtesy of an overreaching decision by a U.S. appeals court and a misguided understanding of that whole “4th Amendment” thingy.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit recently condoned warrantless data tracking on historical cellphone records. In a nutshell, this means the Feds can ring up the cellphone companies and demand old records, without so much as a hug and kiss, before going off to screw Americans over.
The problem with cell tower records is that they just don’t tell you who called or messaged, but actually can allow an in-depth examination of a person’s movements and habits; far beyond the scope of most surveillance warrants, which are only concerned about very specific activities. Unfortunately, current jurisprudence hasn’t caught up with modern technology, and even the judges who ruled for the warrantless tracking noted the serious flaws with current law and judicial precedent.
Naturally, Rand Paul is on the forefront of opposing just this sort of unholy intrusion into Americans’s privacy. He has constantly called out the evils of warrantless data gathering, and further intrusions into American’s privacy. Few politicians are willing to take the lead to strike at the heart of Big Government, and call out 4th Amendment abuses, but time and time again, Senator Paul has shown himself to be a champion of civil liberties.
Make no mistake, the 4th Amendment is under attack here, and it is under attack partly through applying old fashioned laws written for old fashioned wired telephone networks to modern, mobile communications. We don’t live in a world where your phone is hard wired to the wall, and you have to dial out to the long distance operator to call out of town. No, we live in a world where a cellphone can be used to track your every move, serves as a primary communication tool, and serves as a secondary computer that we do banking and all manner of private things from.
Thanks to outdated rules and law made years before the existence of cellphones, and the flawed theory that data disclosed to a third party may be acquired without a warrant, the U.S. Government now has unprecedented surveillance powers. This invasion of privacy must stop, and it must stop at once. Share your thoughts on 4th Amendment abuse with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Steve Coffman
(Photo courtesy of kevin, Flickr CC BY 2.0)
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