Once upon a time in America, there was a Fourth Amendment

Fourth Amendment

Gotta give the government credit. They’re always coming up with new and better ways to catch bad guys. Now it seems they have a gadget called a “stingray” that can track cell phones, even if they aren’t being used to make a call.

I’m all for law enforcement dreaming up new ways to catch the bad guys. If only they would limit themselves to tracking the bad guys — and do it legally. As in: Get a warrant, per the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment “is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.” (Wikipedia)

I don’t think it’s asking too much to expect the government to abide by the same Constitution it is sworn to protect, the same Constitution and body of laws that John Q. Citizen is expected to obey. I support law enforcement’s use of stingrays, phone and email taps, GPS trackers on suspects’ cars, etc. — provided it has a warrant to do so.

We all know the Patriot Act did an end-run around the Fourth Amendment. But it didn’t end there. (It probably didn’t even start there.) Now we’ve got stingrays in the mix. Read the Wall Street Journal article. It’ll curl your hair.



Categories: Constitution, Law, privacy

9 replies

  1. Well, my hair is still pretty straight after reading up on the “stingray”. Still, it’s an interesting development.

    Maybe I am too influenced by crime shows, but it seems to me that cell phones offer the bad guys way too much anonymity and this is a reasonable tool for the cops. Frankly, I can’t get too excited over the 4th Amendment issue here. Is there really much difference between following someone in a car and using the stingray device?

    As far as I’m concerned the cops can track me all they want to. It’s going to be pretty boring though.

    • I’m not suggesting it isn’t a reasonable tool. I’m saying they should have to have a warrant to use it. They can follow me all they want, too, but they’d better have a warrant to do it. Otherwise it’s harassment, stalking, intrusion, an invasion of my privacy, etc.

  2. An old friend’s version of a joke: “I’m from the government and here to help you!” The funny thing is, no one ever laughed…

  3. It’s difficult to understand that there are some who don’t care whether their children inherit the unique US heritage of being constitutionally protected from a democratic majority of imbeciles who place no value on their own self worth. It’s just astonishing. Might as well be a caged animal in a zoo.

Trackbacks

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"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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