Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brown Shirts No. 6

gee, if it's just a cheaper, more modern way of shadowing people, why don't they attach one to EVERY American's car, and then hire people to interpolate the data. Since it's just like they're following us around in plain sight.

It will be a great place to live.

I want Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney [or Tim Kaine and Barack Obama -- take your pick; the names are unimportant] to know where I go, and what I do.



And don't point to the good that comes out of it -- I'm not blind to that. Good would come out of stifling all dissenting speech, and good would come out of allowing the marshalls to barge into anyone's house whenever they wanted to. As a society, I thought we'd sort of come to the conclusion that we would sacrifice that "good" for the greater "good" of constraining the authority of the power-seeking state from managing our lives for us.

Gahdamned Army Jeep

9 comments:

tomanonymous said...

Why do you hate 'murrica? There's all kinds of Marshalls at my house, and I pretty much do what I want.

Charles Hawtrey said...

You won't once they get done with you. . . .

Mister Parker said...

I'm not sure the legal analysis turns on the fact that it's cheaper or more convenient to use a GPS tracking device, but on the fact that the police don't need -- and as far as I know, have never needed -- a warrant to observe your car as it moves around. I think the state would argue that the GPS, like binoculars or night vision goggles, is merely a mechanical device that aids in that wholly legal observation.

The defense might argue though that physically attaching something to another's property in order to carry out a survelliance requires a warrant, ala a wiretap.

I don't know the case law well enough with regard to the rationale for requiring a warrant for a wiretap, say, but not for a stakeout to know where I'd come down on the issue ...

And, of course, you'd have to have reasonable suspicion to make a Terry stop and probable cause to make an arrest (if I recall my criminal law correctly. It's been 21 years ...).

Now, does a GPS device diminish one's sense of privacy as he/she moves around in public? Certainly. So do cameras, cookies on my computer and beat cops. Am I a fan of privacy? Yes. Do I think the government should err on the side of privacy? Why, I believe it's the essence of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

But do I think attaching a GPS device to somebody's car is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment? Don't know. Haven't got a clue ...

Charles Hawtrey said...

It's a tough issue, in some ways.

I agree with you about cookies, cameras, and the like. Indeed, I am a fairly strong proponent of the idea that what you do in public is . . . public. Why, I have had arguments on the street with people who I observed, and photographed. They're in public -- they have no expectation of privacy, and they're out there, baby.

Now take the cameras and the "public" nature of what anyone walking the streets is doing, and add to it facial recognition software, and a database tracking and perhaps even predicting those persons' movements. Why, they're doing whatever they're doing in public, and the government is just observing and tracking their movements. But I think we recognize that a real change in the "observation" has occurred.

The ability of the government to collate and humptheirass shouldn't alarm anybody.

A few terms back, the Supreme Court held that the outside-the-walls heat detection used by the drug police -- policemen just measuring the readily-measurable, observable, very public, heat -- violated that pesky Fourth Amendment.


Wacky Justice Scalia wrote for the majority in concluding that the technological advancement that allowed exterior "recording" of the publicly-available heat information nevertheless ran afoul of the Constitution, holding [w]here, as here, the Government uses a device that is not
in general public use, to explore details of the home that
would previously have been unknowable without physical
intrusion, the surveillance is a “search” and is presumptively
unreasonable without a warrant.


The decision turned mightily on the sacrosanct nature of the home as the bastion of privacy, so it is readily-distinguishable, and I think it likely that the judges would closely examine anew the use of the GPS tracker. However, all five of the Justices in the majority still sit on the Court, and I suspect that if the GPS issue could get there quickly, that practice too would be stricken.

You know, Charles Hawtrey loves the law.

Charles Hawtrey said...

Sclia for the majority [and truth and justice!] and Stevens for the misguided, mirotten dissent.

Mister Parker said...

As a judge, I'd probably say the police would need a warrant, but I am a liberal commie dupe ...

l'il jimmy watson said...

pinko

¡barangus!™ said...

Are we sure the cat's not already out of the bag? A cell phone is a dandy tracking device that many of us carry voluntarily.

Charles Hawtrey said...

A cell phone is a dandy tracking device that many of us carry voluntarily.

You leave yours on?!?!?