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GPS Tracking Without a Warrant Declared Legal 926

jnaujok writes "The Ninth Circuit court has declared that attaching a GPS tracker to your car, as it sits in your driveway, or by extension on a public street, and then using it to monitor every one of your movements, is totally legal, and can be performed by the police without needing a warrant. So, if you live in the Western United States, big brother has arrived."
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GPS Tracking Without a Warrant Declared Legal

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  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:54PM (#33373716)
    So then, it must also be legal for me to put one of these devices on my wife's car, or on the local squad cars, without their knowledge? Why do different rules apply to government employees than apply to the rest of us?
  • by zero_out ( 1705074 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:55PM (#33373728)
    Where I grew up, a person's driveway is most definitely within the domain of "reasonable expectation of privacy." And it's backed up with "git offa ma propertie! "
  • Why I despair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:57PM (#33373742)

    What really bothers me about stories like this is that the general public seems to not care.

    I'm sure it's awful to live in a country where protesting the government will get you arrested or worse.

    But it's a different kind of awful to have friends and neighbors who just can't be bothered to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens.

  • by mbrod ( 19122 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:58PM (#33373760) Homepage Journal
    That's what I was thinking. What if someone puts these devices on all cop cars and creates an app to publish where they are all at real time? Bet they wouldn't like that, but would it be legal?
  • So Then... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brainboyz ( 114458 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @04:59PM (#33373782) Homepage

    I can walk through the parking lot at the police station and attach GPS transmitters to all the squad cars and publish that information to the internet because they have no expectation of privacy, right?

  • by ZuchinniOne ( 1617763 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:00PM (#33373788)

    Woo Hoo ... now I can finally keep track of which Strip Clubs to go to when I want to have a word with my Congressman.

  • Land of the free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by santax ( 1541065 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:01PM (#33373806)
    I guess that is free as in beer? Having said that, here in the Netherlands it isn't much better. At least you guys are allowed to insult politicians.
  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:02PM (#33373820)
    Considering the way some of them spaz out when they get photographed in a public place, they'd go totally ballistic. But it would be a great way to identify where the speed traps are.
  • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) * <capsplendid AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:03PM (#33373828) Homepage Journal
    Clearly, you've missed the whole "Liberal Fascism" meme that's been positively sweeping the country. Lucky bastard.
  • by easterberry ( 1826250 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:03PM (#33373844)
    I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be. A law saying "police officers can do X" does not mean "anyone can do X" unless you recently got the ability to tazer people.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:04PM (#33373848) Journal

    Time for a Constitutional Amendment.....

    No. I take that back.

    Where in the Constitution was the central EU government ever given permission to tracking the People's movements (whether walking, horseback riding, or in a car)? I can not find it. The US Court has made a poor decision, because they ignored Our Rights in amendments 9 and 10. If such a power exist, it has been reserved to the Member States (or the people).

  • Re:So Then... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by butterflysrage ( 1066514 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:04PM (#33373850)

    no no no, those are govt property... attach it to their personal veheicles.

  • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:05PM (#33373870) Journal

    In Texas I can use deadly force to protect myself, my Property, and others.

    If I see a person, in my drive way, F**King with my Car or Truck, I will shoot them.

    So, They have the right to put it there and I have the right to shoot them to protect my property. Sounds fair.

    The real question comes in not the legality of the placement but in the legality of trespassing to place it, and if your car is in a locked garage can they break in to place it?

  • Re:Why I despair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:05PM (#33373876) Journal

    But it's a different kind of awful to have friends and neighbors who just can't be bothered to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens.

    The problem is, that's not how they see it -- you're not asking them to stick up for the civil rights of their fellow citizens, you're asking them to stick up for the civil rights of criminals. In today's culture, suspicion == guilt.

  • by VEGETA_GT ( 255721 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:05PM (#33373878)

    My question is, if I find a device on one of my motorcycles or car, is it legal for me to remove said strange device. One of those times I like being in Canada

  • Yet another reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iceaxe ( 18903 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:06PM (#33373894) Journal

    Yet another reason to take the bus or train.

  • TFA kind of sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:07PM (#33373910)

    Can anyone link me to the actual decision, particularly the apparently barnburning dissent? Why why why can't mainstream media link to primary documents occasionally?

  • Yes, and... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cosgrach ( 1737088 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:09PM (#33373934)
    If I find such a device on my car, I will either: 1. Smash it into little tiny bits. 2. Attach it to another car at random. 3. Call the bomb squad an tell them that there is something suspicious on my car that I did not put there. 4. Ignore it. 5. Ebay, baby! Track that mother fuckers!
  • by Whorhay ( 1319089 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:09PM (#33373936)
    Actually I'd think it a great time to sanitize the vehicle incase you were doing something naughty. Then call in the local news media and bomb squad. Nothing like advertising what the police are doing with the publics time and money and making them use up more of it sending out the bomb squad to remove their device.
  • Cool! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:09PM (#33373942)

    If I find one of these on my car, it's mine! I can take a hammer to it; or better yet, I can stick it onto a taxicab and laugh out loud while I'm imagining the police scratching their heads and muttering "What the fuck?".

  • by cshamis ( 854596 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:10PM (#33373950) Homepage
    Aside from using a technological tracker, this doesn't seem like it's any more an infringement of privacy than simply having the police follow you everywhere you go. Which they also do not need a warrant to do. Now, to attach a tracker to a car sitting in a driveway would be trespassing... unless the car was parked on a public street, or inside a garage.
  • by daniel_newby ( 1335811 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:11PM (#33373956)
    No, you have zero expectation of privacy in your driveway. What you have is an expectation of non-trespass and non-vandalism.
  • Re:Heh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:12PM (#33373982)
    Damn Obama lag!
  • by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) * <capsplendid AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:13PM (#33373988) Homepage Journal
    ^^This. If the police department starts becoming responsible for a bunch of overblown bomb hoaxes a la Boston, this idea will go down faster than a lead balloon.,
  • Re:Why I despair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek ( 647352 ) <> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:15PM (#33374022) Homepage Journal

    Even in the comments to this article, at least one person echoed the common sentiment, "I don't do anything illegal so I have nothing to worry about."

    People seem oblivious to the fact that, if these sorts of encroachments are tolerated, authorities will only seek more and more power--until something you do every day actually is illegal, and we'll have the monitoring infrastructure to back it up and enforce it.

  • by Sprouticus ( 1503545 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:15PM (#33374024)

    You missed the finer points. Like the fact that they tresspassed on him driveway to plant the device...

    Personally if driveways are public space, then I want to go setup a cookout on the driveway of one of these judges...

  • by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:16PM (#33374036)

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."

  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:17PM (#33374058)

    There's an important distinction here which isn't mentioned above.

    From the look of it, they didn't declare that it's explicitly allowed by law, they only declared that it's not prohibited by law under the fourth amendment. IANAL, but that sounds like we're in a much better situation in terms of fighting this than we could be.

  • by Samalie ( 1016193 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:19PM (#33374080)

    This is the WORST possible argument one can give regarding the erosion of our rights.

    It is never acceptable to give away our rights...regardless of whether we ever perceive we may need them. SHould I take away your right to free speech, because you don't speak about controversial topics? How about taking away your right to the free pratice of your religion? How about taking away your right to be secure in person & property...the government doesn't want my stuff, why should I care if they take away Joe's house?

    For the love of god people...this shit is important to everyone. I can't believe anyone would say "Who cares?" when it comes to our rights & freedoms.

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:23PM (#33374154)
    What if I have a lot of property? Or I go onto private land? They can't follow you there without a warrant. But this fun little device can go where ever you can. Now that they are allowed to bug your car to collect one type of data, when are they going to add more functionality? Say, sound recording, miniature camera? And hey, since its legal to attach some things to your car now, can I stick on whatever I please now too? Hey, you love my political party now, enjoy my sticker. Wait, I don't like the color car you have, let me stick on some some of this liquid that hardens after a while to change that (paint). Maybe this isn't as slippery a slope as I'm imagining, but it's already gone to far as it is!
  • by Sprouticus ( 1503545 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:26PM (#33374192)

    Why do Republicans equate limited government with civil rights. Arguably the largest civil rights movements in the last century (sufferage, civil rights movement, gay rights, creation vs evolution in schoold, brown vs board of educaiton, etc) have ALL come to fruition from larger government involvement, not less.

    The question is not whether Kagan wants bigger government, but whether she puts the needs of law enforcement/government above the individual. Im guessing from her time at harvard that she will lean to the individual.

  • by greenbird ( 859670 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:26PM (#33374196)

    making them use up more of it sending out the bomb squad to remove their device.

    Nah. They'd just prosecute you for calling in a false report, interfering with an investigation and obstruction of justice then send you a bill for any costs associated with their response.

  • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:26PM (#33374210)

    What irony? I've long feared my own government far more than any foreign government or terrorist organization, and I'm just an average American and don't even wear a tin-foil hat. And please be sure and notice that after the Bush administration rushed to take away more of my rights with the Patriot Act the Obama administration has done nothing to remove those restrictions. So it makes no difference which party is actually in the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:27PM (#33374214)
    There are a lot of self-defense cases that argue against the supposed monopoly on legitimate force. What government possesses is not different from its constituents, which is the ability to use force in response to harms. The difference is that the government can respond with a degree of force to harms which are not physical (such as financial, etc.), but this is because that right has been delegated by a consensus of the governed. No group can ethically exercise a power which any individual therein does not originally possess.
  • by BSDimwit ( 583028 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:30PM (#33374266)
    Rights are not granted, they are inherent. Privileges are granted.
  • Re:Countermeasures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:32PM (#33374288)

    And that defeatist attitude is one of the main reasons that they can get away with this kind of crap.

    How do you distinguish "defeatist" from "realistic"? I'd say it's based on the probability that enough people feel the same way but are just being silent about it, right?

    In my experience, the people I talk to about this just aren't interested enough to participate in effecting change. So I reckon I'm being realistic.

    On behalf of everyone who gives a shit... FUCK YOU!

    Oh, I'm sorry, is this Abuse? I was here for an Argument.

  • by buybuydandavis ( 644487 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:33PM (#33374312)

    Recall the recent story about a school district where no one was found criminally liable for tapping the cameras of student laptops while they were at home. I think there was something like 50k images taken. You think maybe some of those were of minors partially clothed, or entirely nude? Masturbating? Having sex?

    Would anyone but the government get away with wiretapping, video surveillance, and kiddie porn?

  • by Peach Rings ( 1782482 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:42PM (#33374452) Homepage

    It's probably best to just drop it in a river or off a pier or something then. Those things can't be cheap.

    (That is, if you can even get it off your car.. it's probably attached with strong magnets. I wouldn't even know what to look for, even if I jacked up my car every day and looked around with a flashlight.)

  • by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:43PM (#33374464)

    It's not a problem, in the same way that it's not a problem to have cameras recording everything that goes on within the sight of a public street at all times, easy to search in a database. How is it different than having a cop walking around the city taking notes?

    The difference is price and magnitude. The cost of tailing someone, and the risks of detection, prevent a police department from doing so indiscriminately. When you make it cheap and easy, you increase the use of that practice by orders of magnitude. With such an increase in capabilities, a similar increase in oversight is needed.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:46PM (#33374528) Journal

    Rights come from ownership of self.

    While a government can trample that ownership and turn you into a puppet for its control, it can only do so by force (weapons) and in violation of Natural Law and basic instincts. And in some cases those governments will be held accountable for that trampling (Nuremberg and Tokio Trials).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:57PM (#33374684)
    How am I supposed to know the difference between a police GPS tracker and a bomb?
  • by BlackSnake112 ( 912158 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @05:57PM (#33374686)

    How far till we are 'chipped' at birth?

    It is somewhat unnerving when evil things mentioned in books and old TV shows become reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:16PM (#33374988)

    Also attaching it to a judges car gets you nothing. Find a congress critter or one of their family.... Want something cleared up do it right... There is a reason for example gov agencies and people are not allowed to get other peoples reading lists and movie rentals...

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:22PM (#33375050) Homepage

    I don't think it will be illegal to detect or remove them or to destroy them.

    There have been cases in the past where rights of ownership and possession become issues. So, if you happen to have a radio transmitter detector, or some other sort of detection device to determine that you have been bugged, you are pretty much free to remove it, sell it on ebay, whatever you like. SMART criminals (I know, there are way few of those) will know to check for them... but will probably also keep their vehicles secure.

    People really don't know what is going on here and more significantly, don't WANT to know. Too often we use words like "conspiracy theory" to mean "obsessive and/or paranoid nutbag." And every time we hear something scary like this about our government, most people simply don't want to believe it and label anyone who speaks of it as a "conspiracy theorist." The psychology is the same for anyone who speaks for the truth about the holocaust. (The very fact that I said the word already has more than 50% of the people here ready to mod me down. I don't care, you are only showing who and what you really are by making presumptions without hearing what anyone has to say.)

    We have "blank check laws" being passed without the people voting for them knowing what they really are. We have unconstitutional money seizure laws. We have secret rules and laws just for the DHL. (I know that's a fact because there was and still is a lot that TSA screeners cannot say or advise the public about... and I was actually a screener for a while) We have erosions and in some cases complete disregard for the constitution that was designed SPECIFICALLY to protect the people from "government." A constitution only works when the government follows it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:23PM (#33375058)

    Or it might just be $100 for a cell phone with GPS dialed to a police phone #, and some magnets.

  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:29PM (#33375152) Homepage Journal

    Lots of people care, but we long ago passed the point on the slippery slope where it will cost you your and your family's life to protest, but have not yet reached the point on the slope where it becomes likely to cost their lives NOT to protest.

  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:35PM (#33375258)

    Some of us still know how to read a map....

  • by mjhacker ( 922395 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [rekcahjm]> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:36PM (#33375260) Journal
    Ah, libertarians, the very definition of misplaced idealism. Always insistent that the invisible hand of the free market can solve everything and makes everything better. Even though limited federal involvement (herp derp don't want to violate states' rights) made pretty much every single civil issue WORSE in this country. Remember slavery? Or segregation? Or how about all those southern states that wanna teach kids that the world isn't billions of years old?

    Don't you have a Ron Paul convention to go to or something?
  • by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:48PM (#33375416)

    They can legally do it because the court says its legal. What part of the US judicial system don't you understand?

    Thanks for all the platitudes, but the history of justice in the US is actually rather different from that you learned in grade school. You might want to brush up on an infamous character in the US southwest, Judge Roy Bean. His was a racket that enriched him at the expense of justice, all the while being perfectly legal. Keep in mind the tooth fairy is not actually real.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @06:56PM (#33375506)

    This is why it should be legal everywhere to use armed force to protect one's property. A home should be a castle, and the best way to deal with those who would storm that castle is to kill them,

    Unless you advocate protecting your rights with violence if necessary, you don't advocate protecting your rights.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:06PM (#33375596) Homepage

    The Ninth is the most over-ruled circuit in the entire country. Stay tuned.

    By quantity, not ratio. It's by far the busiest circuit in the country. Most cases that go to SCOTUS are overturned (which makes sense as the Court would only see the case if there was some issue with the lower court's decision or a need to resolve it with other decisions), the 9th is overruled roughly as much as any other, e.g. in 2007 it was overruled 19/22 times, while the next busiest district was overruled 4/5 times.

    So, I wouldn't bet on the results of the inevitable SCOTUS case based solely on the 9th's largely mythical "most overturned" status.

    I'd like to bet on the results on the basis that it's fucking obviously a 4th Amendment violation. But if that reasoning worked, they wouldn't have ruled that way to begin with. :P

  • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:15PM (#33375706) Homepage
    Not likely. With the number of little-known and little-enforced laws on the books, pretty much everyone is guilty of plenty of things.
  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:15PM (#33375720)

    If you look more closely at those groups today, you'll see that none of them are about civil rights. Maybe they were at one point, I don't know as I wasn't there, but I'm talking about now. They're about amassing voter blocks and power structures. what's the difference between the KKK and the NAACP these days? not much once all the pomp and circumstance the latter has gained from its heyday is stripped away. One has gained political acceptance and the other has not. Neither want equality. sure, they throw the term around but it's newspeak definition. they want dominance and special status. This message appeals to those who have been or just feel disenfranchised, so they join. Others, who are not in the demographic, but hear the message, may feel a form of survivor-guilt, so they support the movement too, and the monster grows.

    the real proof is in the actions of those groups who have already achieved their stated goals (legal equality in some context) but do not disband. Instead they keep the fires burning just enough to maintain their political relevance. I have nothing against non-whites, gays, or women, but I do have a big problem with the way PACs like the NAACP, the womens' groups, and more recently, even the gay activist groups are abusing these people for political power. It's great that NARAL fights for abortion rights, but yet it has no problem with supporting the demonization of males. It's great that the NAACP supports the building of schools in poor non-white communities, but then why does it rail against any attempt for white people to support their poor? When that happens, they break out the racism plackards. ..but who cares when it allows a 2 minute press conference about abortion or gay marriage to trigger mass vote herding? that's a gravy train that's too good for the democrats to pass up I guess. the irony is that it's the government which limits these two examples in the first place. So, in the name of freedom, the curtain of government is expanded, and the next time some PAC claims victim status over some issue, even more peoples' rights can be trampled when the rope around the edges is pulled tight. this has been the cycle for the last 30 years at least.

    Im guessing from her time at harvard that she will lean to the individual.

    ..not if the current democratic party is any indication of what happens to all those anti-establishment, pro-people types once they graduate and have 30-40 years to simmer in their own juices. they become jaded, then hardened, then desperate. Once that happens, they dont care anymore who they have to trample to achieve their goals. thus they become what it was they started out to fight in the first place. perhaps this is why the activist groups mentioned above have become what they are now.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:22PM (#33375794) Journal
    I don't know about you, but if I found one on one of my vehicles, I'd just attach it to someone else's vehicle and say nothing.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:26PM (#33375834) Journal

    if you try to disable, remove, or relocate the device.

    What device?

    You have some kind of paperwork showing you put some sort of device on my car, I dunno, like a warrant or something? No? Well, then I guess you must have my car confused with someone else's because there was never any sort of device on my car.

  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:48PM (#33375992)

    I'm not sure I follow. Sufferage didn't necessarily mean more or less government. Nor did the civil rights movement. Nor gay rights. Creation vs evolution did not, as there wasn't even a Department of Education until the 70's. Vis-a-vi Brown.

    Don't be obtuse. Forbidding private business owners from discriminating based on race, color, religion, or national origin (and enforcing this prohibition) was an expansion of government powers. A valid one, in my view.


  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:53PM (#33376038)

    No one can still claim something as theirs after attaching it to your vehicle.

    Sure they can, and believe me, they will. And if we bitch too loudly, they'll just make it a felony to even touch the damn things.

  • by canadian_right ( 410687 ) <> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @08:11PM (#33376178) Homepage

    The USA constitution basically says that all your rights are due you simply being a person, and the constitution limits the power of government to prevent it from abusing your rights. The government does NOT give you rights, your are "born" with rights.

    I'm not sure what "privileges" you are talking about, but generally the law does not grant privileges, but restricts your actions, eg drinking age, drivers license, or grants entitlements, eg public roads, police, schools, medical care, etc...

  • by FCAdcock ( 531678 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @08:11PM (#33376182) Homepage Journal

    Apparently that's the same thing Martin Niemöller thought right up until the point Hitler sent him to the camps. We have become so used to the government or other people doing everything for us in this country that now when we wish someone would stand up against the government's injustices we don't even think of doing it ourselves. It may be safer to allow others to fight our battles for us, but it's not healthy to rely on that.

  • Re:Heh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @08:36PM (#33376362)

    No I've not.

    So where are the GULAG for political prisoners in Arizona? []

    Point them out.

    Where is the law making agitation or propaganda or circulating materials or literature that defamed the state and social system a crime in Arizona?

    Where is Arizona's internal passport system? or, I want some links.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @09:17PM (#33376612)

    Why was the parent modded up? It's clever rhetoric, but it's obviously absurd. It might even be a troll (but people get more and more serious with their absurdity these days, so you never know).

    What about my right to murder someone who looks at me funny? Should I have a right to torture you until you work for me? All but the most basic civilizations are based on the careful limiting of what people can do. If everyone respects those limits, the society runs smoothly. ...

    Yes, you should outlaw yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. Yes, you should take away the right for someone to murder others in the name of religion. Yes, you should place limits on the amount of hazardous materials a person can gather, or the amount of stuff they can take from others without paying, or the ability to have certain devices capable of quickly causing widespread harm.

    Your argument is that murder and torture are "rights" that were taken away? And because there are some legal restrictions on behavior, we have no rights at all? Obviously you are joking. I hope it's a joke. It's as absurd as claiming absolute rights.

    What essential right is actually being given up here? Where in the constitution does it require that police already know your actions before they can investigate them?

    In the Fourth Amendment, where it says 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.. So yes, police need probable cause before they search your person, house, paper, and effects. For some reason the founding fathers didn't explicitly specify automobiles.

    If my Fourth Amendment rights apply only in my house, they're almost useless, a mere technicality. I have to leave my house to live my life. Everything I do and own is at some point external to my house (e.g., books I read, phone calls I make, visitors, etc.), except for the things I build from scratch from the dirt under the basement and never take outside, and the thoughts in my head. Is that all that's protected?

    The police can already do this. They can follow you by car, bike, helicopter, or on foot. They can check every license plate in the city. They don't need a warrant unless they start entering the conceptual ground of "search and seizure".

    Here's the new issue and challenging part. We can't ignore the effect of technology. For example, the right to bear arms was established before there technology advanced and we created missiles; the technology changed things. The legality of police following someone was established before advances in information technology; that changes things too. We can't pretend that the old law applies just as before.

    Using IT, the state could track record all movements of all citizens outside their homes, and even record them on video, monitor their heart rate, record their speech, etc (not now, but it's not far off). Many think that that would be a great invasion of privacy, create the tools of oppression (imagine McCarthy, Nixon, or J Edgar Hoover with that information), and effectively eliminate most of the rights in the Fourth Amendment.

    So we need to find a new balance, but I think the general principle is that, however we interpret those rights in the era of information technology, the Fourth Amendment wasn't written in jest.

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @10:10PM (#33376930) Homepage Journal
    Funny, the last time the cops pulled my wife over (for not having a seatbelt on as she turned off our home street) and she realized that she didn't have our current insurance card, I tried to come by and offer it to them. They didn't know the law (it makes it quite clear that the driver is NOT required to have the proof of insurance on their person, only to be insured, and that the police are required to make some attempt to verify the insured status if feasible), and told me that I would be arrested if I didn't vacate the scene immediately "for interfering with police business". And that it would be her fault if they shot me on a suburban street at 5:00 on Saturday afternoon. If that's not making up the law as you go, what is? Mind you, I'm 35, flabby, white, and drive a very boring, very new car. Any cop who thinks I'm a threat when I step out of a car with both hands visible and an insurance card in my hand waving hello is in need of a return to the academy.
  • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @11:14PM (#33377274)

    Wrong, in UK style systems it is Parliament that is supreme, [] . Meaning they can write any law they like including a law that fires the Monarch. (James II as an example)
    And as the House of Commons usually has all the power and is elected by the people it would not be incorrect to say that the government derives its power from the people.
    This is modified in places like Canada by a Constitution containing a Bill of Rights (Charter of Freedoms in Canada's case)

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @11:32PM (#33377366)

    Citation, I don't believe that's presently the case. Not that it means anything given how much activism has been going on with the SCOTUS lately. Ever since W started packing it with underqualified loonies.

    You'd better check your history. FDR was ready to increase the number of SC Justices (as he decided an attempt to dissolve/reform the SC might get him impeached) so he could pack the court in order to pass sections of the New Deal that the SC originally rejected which frustrated his plans. He eventually got the SC to go along. I think it was Social Security, maybe? Don't remember off the top of my head. Judicial activism has historically been a favorite tool of Progressives in implementing new policies, laws, and "positive rights" suddenly discovered in a document that's existed for over two centuries without anyone finding any such "rights" previously.

    That's what the name "Progressive" means; to "progress" past the Constitution. Unfortunately, once it's deemed OK for the government to ignore any part of the Constitution for even a "good" reason, the areas ignored experience "creep" such that eventually the government operates further and further outside of the Constitution with impunity, becoming a de facto totalitarian government. Many are now of the opinion we are already experiencing a "soft tyranny" which is growing by leaps and bounds.


  • by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @12:04AM (#33377524) Journal
    If an individual were to follow me around all day tracking my movements, we could call it stalking. If the police do so by attaching a device to my car, it is called justice?
  • You know your government has tanks, missiles, stealth bombers and is on its way to warships with laser cannons right?

    And those tanks, missiles, stealth bombers and other weapons are manned by citizens. I used to be one. While we were joking about it a number of us, including me, argued we'd frag [] someone giving us a bad order. While I'm no longer in the Army my nephew is in the Marines and I could see him doing it.

    Heck even the Chinese had difficulty having it's army fire on civilians during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 []. Commanders for the local army units refused to order soldiers to fire on civilians []. Protesters were even cheered on by the police []. Communist party bosses were scared the local military units were going to revolt so Beijing called in units from other parts of China. Even then there were reports of sporadic gunfire and interfactional fighting among PLA units. []

    It's not as easy to get a nation's military to fire on its own citizens as you seem to think. Heck in the Israeli military there are even refuseniks [] who refuse to take part in the occupation.


  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @01:20AM (#33377886)

    Yeah, carry on dreaming.

    There would be a few nuts holding out but you know as well as I do that the population would just roll over, especially if the words safety, pedophile or terrorist were used.

  • by werewolf1031 ( 869837 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @02:28AM (#33378176)

    I am a law abiding citizen

    Until they decide you aren't.

    Quite probably the most insightful thing anybody will post in this entire thread, because it is the whole point. Frightening how many people just don't (or refuse to) understand this, and are perfectly willing to let every little freedom slip away one at a time because "that doesn't affect me right now".

    You may be the favored demographic today, but as political leaders change, and, more importantly, laws change, you may find a bulls-eye on your back tomorrow when someone in power doesn't like something you say or do that was, yesterday, considered perfectly harmless.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @02:43AM (#33378228) Homepage Journal

    How's that working out for them in Iraq?

    Imagine how much worse it would go if the people manning those weapons realized it could be family members and friends they're shooting at.

    It still takes boots on the ground with rifles to actually control an area.

  • by turkeyfish ( 950384 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:16AM (#33378344)

    Why would you feel comfortable living in a society where the police watch everyone 24/7, particularly when the potential for corruption is so large?

    Once this is in place its only a short step to using that data for corporations or governments to decide that some people aren't doing/going what/where they want them to do/go. Suddenly, your life becomes a constant challenge to follow the same pattern day in day out so as not to run afoul of the authorities. Yes, I want the police to have the tools they need to catch criminals, but society must be attentive enough to draw careful limits on such activities, lest it slip into an opportunity for abuse or worse a police state. You say its only a difference of price and magnitude. While that may be true, with both society becomes qualitatively as well as quantitatively different. Once we go down that road, there's a good change that we won't be coming back.

  • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @03:37AM (#33378408) Journal
    Insightful argument, it almost makes me hope that it *will* go that far so people will be forced to protest... problem is it will probably reach that state at different times for different people so the rest won't care enough to help the others in their protest.
  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @04:08AM (#33378546)
    Except that removing the device would be interfering with law enforcement and therefore obstructing justice. Regardless, once anyone destroys one of these devices, they'll quickly pass a law making the destruction or removal of the device illegal.

    As for the constitution. It's not a matter of "the constitution only works when the government follows it". It's a matter of "the constitution only works when the people FORCE the government to follow it". Yes, FORCE the government to follow it. Force, as in armed rebellion.
  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Thursday August 26, 2010 @08:55AM (#33379904) Journal
    You are an idiot. There is a huge difference between someone "storming" your property, armed and with the intention to kill you, and some cop or postman just walking onto your land.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"