Supreme Court Upholds Fourth Amendment Protections

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Supreme Court Upholds Fourth Amendment Protections

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

The US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment affirms the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…”

Warrants based on probable cause must be obtained to conduct them legally.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5 – 4 majority in Carpenter v. United States that Fourth Amendment protections apply to cell phone location information.

Prior to the ruling, government at the federal, state and local levels could obtain cell location records from companies on request by claiming they’re required as part of an investigation. 

Supporting the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said location information collected by Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and other cell providers creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years…400 million devices in the United States” tracked. 

Authorities must now get warrant approval before obtaining this data, an important privacy protection.

According to the Court, cell phone tracking lets government achieve “near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user.”

Cell providers collect it for every device so “police need not even know in advance whether they want to follow a particular individual, or when.”

The FBI, CIA, NSA, and other Big Brother US spy agencies have other ways of monitoring everyone, trampling on Bill of Rights protections virtually unrestrained.

Federal mass surveillance is pervasive, circumventing rule of law principles, metadata collected unrelated to national security without court authorized warrants.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and major telecommunications companies are complicit in spying on customers.

Phone conversations are recorded, emails collected and stored, computers and television sets turned into monitoring devices in ways Orwell never imagined, today’s technology way ahead of his time.

Capabilities enable spying on virtually everything we do, turning America and other so-called Western democracies into totalitarian states.

What’s going on happens extrajudicially without congressional oversight or knowledge.

Big Brother is real, no longer fiction, reflecting unchecked police state power. Fundamental freedoms are vanishing, most people unaware of or indifferent about what’s happening.

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling was an important step in the right direction, prohibiting cell phone information exchanged between individuals from being shared with third parties without warrant authorization.

Yet it’s not enough to counter the power and ability of the state to monitor and control our lives in countless ways – capabilities increasing as technology advances.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.