Warrants, Evidence, Rights Impede Law Enforcement

Nope. Don't need one.

Police state, Nazi Germany, Soviet gulag; all have been used to describe the United States’ current surveillance policies by various groups on the left and the right.

Falsehoods with regards to the warrantless wiretapping program under Bush (you need a warrant to tap a citizen’s call to another person within the US) drew criticism from the left.  Very real liberty concerns in the Patriot Act elicited a response from the right.  Meanwhile, most of the world stood silent when Obama expanded government trespasses in both programs.

Then came the surveillance cameras on the street corners.  The fears over the government ‘eye in the sky’ eavesdropping caused many to literally foam at the mouth.

Oh how I wish cameras on street lights were our biggest concern when it comes to our liberties, and government surveillance of our lives.

It’s worse.  Much, much worse.

The ACLU recently released a report saying that spying on free speech is nearly at Cold War levels.

Perhaps it is, but we have bigger things to worry about.

This month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that you have no expectation of privacy in your driveway.  They also ruled you have no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your every move.  Therefore, law enforcement is legally allowed to sneak onto your property, install a GPS tracking device on your car, and then monitor your movements … without a warrant or probable cause.

Time:

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre – and scary – rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants – with no need for a search warrant.

One of those “eight other Western states” is my state of Nevada.

The court also concluded that rich citizens seemed to have more rights than poor or middle-class citizens when it comes to their driveway because the rich can erect a fence.  So if there is a fence around your property they need a warrant.  If not, they don’t.

I bet you all are rethinking that unconstitutional HOA now aren’t you?  Without an HOA you could simply build a fence around your property.

Warrants are sooooo last century.

That’s one nightmare scenario down, two to go.

You know the new airport body scanner that essentially paints a naked picture of you for the TSA agents at the airport?  Imagine that device in mobile form patrolling the streets as a tool for law enforcement to search your car without a warrant or probable cause.  Deja vu on that last part.  I’m sensing a trend here.

Forbes:

As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses andairport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets.

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents.

I know what you’re thinking.  This is just for foreign governments and national security types.  Wrong!

Law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans.

The article points out it is being used to scan vehicles that may be smuggling illegals into the country, potential bomb threats, etc.  All that is fine and dandy, but what is stopping them from using the device while driving down the freeway?

Check out the promo video.

Two down, one to go.

People often use the imagery from the movie Minority Report to illustrate their fears of a futuristic police state.  Few actually believe we are at risk of living in a society where people will be punished for future crime.  That is, crime that hasn’t happened yet.  Most Americans find it unconscionable that we’d imprison people for crimes they haven’t actually committed, but may commit in the future.

Enter the infantile attitude of ‘if it saves just one life’ to snatch that freedom candy from your crib.

MSNBC:

New crime prediction software being rolled out in the nation’s capital should reduce not only the murder rate, but the rate of many other crimes as well.

Developed by Richard Berk, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the software is already used in Baltimore and Philadelphia to predict which individuals on probation or parole are most likely to murder and to be murdered.

In his latest version, the one being implemented in D.C., Berk goes even further, identifying the individuals most likely to commit crimes other than murder.

If the software proves successful, it could influence sentencing recommendations and bail amounts.

Minority Report

Minority Report like tech is already being used by law enforcement in this country to predict who will commit crimes.  Tell me the person used as a subject by this software doesn’t get a little ‘extra attention’ from the authorities.

For me the worst aspect of this software is that it will be used for sentencing purposes in the future.  In other words, if the software says you are likely to commit a crime then you’ll get extra punishment as a result.  So much for innocent until proven guilty.

Right about now some naive reader of this post is saying to themselves “you don’t have anything to worry about if you aren’t doing anything wrong.”  Really?  I’ve often said that 100% of the population breaks the law.  The only difference is to which degree.  So let me paint a scenario for this software that even the best of citizens will find realistic and threatening.

You get a speeding ticket for going 20mph over the speed limit.  You notice the ticket given to you by the officer doesn’t have a total amount of the fine.  When you ask the officer how much the ticket is for he replies that it will be determined at your court date.  When you show up to court the teller runs a future tech analysis on you that predicts the likelihood you’ll speed again.  This will determine your total fine to be paid to the court.

The software produces a result that shows you have an 87% chance of speeding in the future.  As a result your fine is not the minimum $300, but instead is $1200.

But wait, there’s more!

The software also determines that since your speed was 20mph over the speed limit that at some point in the future you will drive at excessive speeds that equal reckless driving.  Add another $1,000 fine.

It has also determined that you will likely speed through a school zone and construction zone at some point in the future, and are given an additional $500 fine.

Now you didn’t speed to the point of reckless driving, or speed through a school or construction zone.  The software simply determined that you were likely to at some point in the future.  As a result, your $300 speeding ticket just became $2,700, your insurance rate went up for each future violation, and you are now only one point away from having your license suspended.  So now you have to pay for traffic school as well to keep from losing you license.

Can you imagine law enforcement sneaking onto your property, placing a GPS device on your car without a warrant, tracking your movement while x-raying your vehicle as you drive down Main Street, and using software to analyse all of your behavior to determine how much in jail time and fine you should get?

Those surveillance cameras on the street corner suddenly don’t seem so important, do they?

Thank goodness we have organizations like the Oath Keepers to give us a front line defense against these sorts of infringements.

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Posted on August 26, 2010, in Big Government, Constitution, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Warrants, Evidence, Rights Impede Law Enforcement.

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