Showing posts with label Fourth Amendment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fourth Amendment. Show all posts

Positively Fourth Amendment: The Department Of Justice Wants In On Your Info, Anywhere

Thanks to a new initiative to amend the Constitutionally-sound rules regarding search and seizure, the United States Department of Justice seems to want to practice anything but.  Currently the D.O.J. is seeking  the authority to hack computers anywhere in the world...

This isn't cool and never will be, regardless of what the Department of "Justice" thinks.
(Image courtesy

You Keep It, They Peep It: No Fourth Amendment For Foreign Data Storage?

The United States government is actively opposing Microsoft's endeavors to protect users' electronic information. Contesting a ruling from earlier this year that demanded warrants for online data, the government cited the Stored Communications Act to attempt to retrieve data from a server in Ireland, saying,"Overseas records must be disclosed domestically when a valid subpoena, order, or warrant compels their production. The disclosure of records under such circumstances has never been considered tantamount to a physical search under Fourth Amendment principles, and Microsoft is mistaken to argue that the SCA provides for an overseas search here. As there is no overseas search or seizure, Microsoft’s reliance on principles of extra-territoriality and comity falls wide of the mark."

According to, the case was in regards to information stored by drug traffickers and was a target for extensive search, but the principle remains the same. Better get your own external hard drive to store those terabytes of homemade furry videos, because if they're stored offshore, the government can enjoy them to their hearts' content.

Just assume your data's not safe anywhere.

Your Phone Is Your Own: Supreme Court Forbids Warrantless Phone Searches

In a major breakthrough for privacy rights, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that cell phones are among the effects that are Constitutionally protected against warrantless searches.

Yesterday in a unanimous ruling, the court made it abundantly clear that warrants are required before any search of a citizen's cell phone can take place, with some speculation as to what will follow if a person was arrested on charges not pertaining to the vast amount of information a cell phone could contain. Justice John Roberts was quoting as saying, “A phone not only contains in digital form many sensitive records previously found in the home; it also contains a broad array of private information never found in a home in any form—unless the phone is.”

The Constitutional verbiage of the Fourth Amendment, partially reprinted here via, guarantees that citizens shall be “secure in their persons, houses, papers or effects." Phones of all types (from brick to smart) are covered under the ruling.  

Image courtesy

Big Business and Big Government: Dragnet Surveillance Already the Norm from the FBI to the Local Police

If only there were some kind of document that outlined the established powers of government, and provided for reasonable and rational limits to what that government is legally allowed to do, and if only it were faithfully enforced and adhered to, we would live in a very different world. The war on the Fourth Amendment continues apace.  From Wired:
The nation’s mobile phone carriers received more than 9,000 requests last year for cell-tower dumps, which identify every mobile phone at a particular location and time, often by the thousands.

The revelation, revealed in a congressional inquiry, underscores that domestic authorities, from the FBI to the local police, are performing a massive amount of surveillance on Americans on domestic soil, sometimes without probable-cause warrants.

Figures provided by the nation’s largest carriers, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, and smaller companies, like C-Spire and Cricket, show that the carriers overall got as many as 1.1 million requests for customer cellular data last year. They’ve earned tens of millions of dollars processing the data, the records show. . . .

But the most startling figures show that the authorities are obtaining information on the whereabouts of perhaps thousands of people at once, often by a judge’s signature based on assurances from the authorities that the data is relevant to an investigation.

Court Rules that Constitutional Protections Do Not Apply to "Hackers"

Are you keeping up with today's newspeak?  From Digitalbond:
The US District Court for the State of Idaho ruled that an ICS product developer’s computer could be seized without him being notified or even heard from in court primarily because he states on his web site “we like hacking things and don’t want to stop”. . . .

US House Narrowly Defeats Proposal to Re-instate the Fourth Amendment

A narrow majority of Democrats and Republicans in the US House are fervent opponents of the Fourth Amendment.  From the Washington Post:
A controversial proposal to restrict how the National Security Agency collects telephone records failed to advance by a narrow margin Wednesday, a victory for the Obama administration, which has spent weeks defending the program since media leaks sparked international outrage about the agency’s reach.

Lawmakers voted 217 to 205 to defeat the proposal by an unlikely political pairing: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a 33-year-old libertarian who often bucks GOP leadership and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), an 84-year old liberal stalwart and the chamber’s second longest-serving member. Usually divergent in their political views, they joined forces in recent weeks in response to revelations about the NSA’s ability to collect telephone and Internet records that were leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who is seeking asylum in Russia.

Google Files Suit Against FISA and NSA Gag Orders

From the Washington Post:
Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Tuesday to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests the court makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government.

The legal filing, which invokes the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about broad National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic.

Government Believes It Can Read Your Emails and Text Messages Without a Warrant

Among the greatest dangers to the rights and liberties of the people of the United States is the sustained assault on the Fourth Amendment being waged by agencies and individuals at all levels of the government.  For example, the IRS claims it can read your email without a warrant, because you have no expectation of privacy.  From CNET:
The Internal Revenue Service doesn't believe it needs a search warrant to read your e-mail.  Newly disclosed documents prepared by IRS lawyers say that Americans enjoy "generally no privacy" in their e-mail, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and similar online communications -- meaning that they can be perused without obtaining a search warrant signed by a judge. 
Police take the very same liberties with your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.  From the EFF:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Washington State Supreme Court Monday to recognize that text messages are "the 21st Century phone call" and require that law enforcement officers obtain a warrant before reading texts on someone's phone. . . . In this case, police seized a cell phone during a drug investigation and monitored incoming messages. Officers responded to several texts, setting up meetings that resulted in two arrests, without first getting a warrant. Prosecutors have argued that no warrant was required because there should be no expectation of privacy in text messages, as anyone can pick up someone else's phone and read what's stored there. 
If you do not see a problem with a government that believes it has the right to monitor all of your electronic communications, perhaps you should re-read the constitution and brush up on the history of totalitarianism. 

Police Want All Your Text Messages On File, In Case They Want to Read Them

The Criminal Justice System is aptly named because it is indeed a criminal enterprise.  From CNET:
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to capture and store Americans' confidential text messages, according to a proposal that will be presented to a congressional panel today.

The law enforcement proposal would require wireless providers to record and store customers' SMS messages -- a controversial idea akin to requiring them to surreptitiously record audio of their customers' phone calls -- in case police decide to obtain them at some point in the future.

"Billions of texts are sent every day, and some surely contain key evidence about criminal activity," Richard Littlehale from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will tell Congress, according to a copy (PDF) of his prepared remarks. "In some cases, this means that critical evidence is lost. Text messaging often plays a big role in investigations related to domestic violence, stalking, menacing, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking."

Littlehale's recommendations echo a recommendation that a constellation of law enforcement groups, including the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, the National District Attorneys' Association, and the National Sheriffs' Association, made to Congress in December, which was first reported by CNET.
According to US law enforcement, it is better to violate everyone's rights, than have to do some real investigative work.

Surprise Decision: Appeals Court Recognizes Fourth Amendment

From ars technica:
Citizens' rights to be free from searches don't hold everywhere. At border crossings, as in airports, people can be searched by authorities as a matter of routine course. But what should the standard be for not just rummaging through a briefcase, but for when the government wants to dig deep into the files on our electronic gadgets—even looking at deleted files?

A "watershed" decision from a federal appeals court today ruled that the government must have "reasonable suspicion" to do such an intensive computer search. . . .

Border searches are an exception to the general principle, protected by the Fourth Amendment, that warrants be obtained. Still, a border is not an "anything goes" zone, as an 8-3 majority of the court emphasized in today's decision [PDF]. Searches still need to be based on a "reasonable suspicion." . . . .
From Tech Dirt:
In a somewhat surprising 9th Circuit ruling (en banc, or in front of the entire set of judges), the court ruled that the 4th Amendment does apply at the border, that agents do need to recognize there's an expectation of privacy, and cannot do a search without reason. Furthermore, they noted that merely encrypting a file with a password is not enough to trigger suspicion. This is a huge ruling in favor of privacy rights.

Anything on Your Phone May Be Used Against You in a Court of Law

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is pretty clear: 
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.
The right to be secure in one's person, houses, papers and effects has been effectively eviscerated in the United States.  Do you think all that information on your smart phone is secure?  Think again.  From Ars Technica:
The courts have traditionally allowed the police to inspect any items a suspect is carrying when they arrest him or her. But in the past, the information the police could obtain in this fashion was fairly limited. The advent of the smartphone has changed all that.

A new document uncovered by the ACLU provides insight into just how aggressive law enforcement agencies have become about obtaining the contents of seized cell phones. Last fall, writes the ACLU's Chris Soghoian, "officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized an iPhone from the bedroom of a suspect in a drug investigation."

A document filed in court shows that police extracted a wealth of personal information from the device, including call records, contacts, stored text messages, photos, videos, and passwords. They also obtained "659 geolocation points, including 227 cell towers and 403 Wi-Fi networks with which the cell phone had previously connected"—a detailed record of where the device had been in previous weeks. Soghoian says law enforcement agencies can buy portable devices that extract this kind of information from smartphones in a matter of minutes.
As in the Republican and Democratic parties, the quasi-fascist mentality that grips the leadership in the nation's law enforcement agencies is a grave threat to the rights and liberties of the people of the United States.  But it appears few people give a damn.  

Government Claims Right to Illegally Search All Your Electronic Devices

The Democratic and Republican parties and their leadership continue to promulgate a dangerous war against Constitutional rights and liberties.  The Department of Homeland Security should be immediately eradicated.  From Computer World:
Two out of every three people reading this could have your electronic devices searched, without there being any reasonable suspicion, because the Department of Homeland Security has decided that such search and seizures do not violate your Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Border agents don’t need probable cause and they don’t need a stinking warrant since they don’t need to prove any reasonable suspicion first. Nor, sadly, do two out of three people have First Amendment protection; it is as if DHS has voided those Constitutional amendments and protections they provide to nearly 200 million Americans.