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securityweenie
At last, a semblance of sanity rears its head!

from: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/02/25/fbi...-court-ruling/i

FBI Turns Off Thousands of GPS Devices After Supreme Court Ruling
By Julia Angwin


The Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann.

Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.

These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law.

After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them.

Mr. Weissmann said that the FBI is now working to develop new guidelines for the use of GPS devices. He said the agency is also working on guidelines to cover the broader implications of the court decision beyond GPS devices.

For instance, he said, agency is now “wrestling” with the legality of whether agents can lift up the lid of a trash can without committing trespass. The majority opinion in U.S. v. Jones held that the agents had trespassed when placing the GPS device on a car without warrant.

He said the agency is also considering the implications of the concurring justices – whose arguments were largely based on the idea that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the totality of their movements, even if those movements are in public.

“From a law enforcement perspective, even though its not technically holding, we have to anticipate how it’s going to go down the road,” Mr. Weissmann said.
The Netweasel
I find it extremely disturbing that so many people in the United States of America know so little about their own country -- its founding, how its government is supposed to work, and its seminal documents such as the U.S. Constitution. It would seem that many of those charged with the responsibility of governing the nation are ignorant of these basic things, too. One does not have to pass a high-school-level test on U.S. Government in order to become part of it.

I don't mean to embark upon a history or civics lesson, but please bear with me for just a moment, because this is vital to my point.

What so many don't seem to understand is that the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. Any law enacted at the city, county, state, or federal level which conflicts with the Constitution is an illegal law and must be struck down. Constitutional Law is a subject of study unto itself, because it takes precedence over every other collegiate law course, and over every legal system in the country. The only legal system higher than the Constitution is the law of God Himself, and that is not a joke because the law of God is the foundation of the U.S. legal system.

Amendment IV of the Constitution states,

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.


Historically, being secure in one's "persons, houses, papers, and effects" has always been understood to include people who leave their houses to walk down the street, for example. And by extension, since the automobile didn't exist when this amendment was written, it has been extended to people driving around, too. That is why police must obtain a search warrant to search your car, if you choose to deny them permission.

Basically, Amendment IV protects the individual's right to privacy.

And now to my point.

This ruling by the Supreme Court is indeed a "semblance of sanity" because it reaffirms the rule of law, and the Constitution as the supreme law. Putting tracking devices on people's cars without their knowledge or permission, and without a court order issued by a judge, is unreasonable search. The people thus tracked are no longer secure in their persons. This is a great victory!

Even more importantly, it closes the door on a lot of other unconstitutional shenanigans that the U.S. government has been up to lately. Like a cartoon snowball that starts out small and keeps getting bigger as it rolls down the mountain, picking up skiers, shrubs, and police officers in its unstoppable and inevitable response to the gravity of truth, it is going to smash a lot of government misbehavior against that inevitable immovable tree at the bottom.

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