Obama Administration circumventing the Constitution: opening up all third-party databases to government and commercial scrutiny?
Can we trust our present government when it comes to upholding and defending the United States Constitution?
We are living in dangerous times, when a far-left White House and Congress is attempting to circumvent the Constitution of the United States and exert a command-and-control authority over our nation and its citizens. By creating legislation (healthcare, cap-and-trade) which allows political control over our economy, private enterprise and individual citizens.
So it is not a far-reach to imagine a scenario when a hyper-politicalized agency – answerable only the White House – steps beyond the bounds of the Constitution to spy on those whom it regards as a threat to gaining and maintaining political power.
So why am I not surprised to find the Obama Administration fighting in court for the right to openly identify and legally track every person with a mobile phone without the necessity of a “probable cause warrant?”
CNET News is reporting …
“Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.”
“In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that ‘a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records’ that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.”
Imagine a scenario where a hyper-politicized government agency wants to compile a list of people attending one of the tea party rallies? Or simply compile a list of supporters attending a friendly political rally. Under the legal theory being pursued by the government, Americans enjoy no reasonable expectation of privacy as it relates to their cell-phone locations, and tracking these locations is a legal activity not only for the government, but for private contractors who have contacts with the government or are pursuing a commercial venture.
The technology has existed for a long time …
“Not long ago, the concept of tracking cell phones would have been the stuff of spy movies. In 1998's ‘Enemy of the State,’ Gene Hackman warned that the National Security Agency has ‘been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the '40s--they've infected everything.’”
But it is absolutely true. CALEA, Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, mandates “telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have the necessary surveillance capabilities.”
“Common carriers, facilities-based broadband Internet access providers, and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service – all three types of entities are defined to be ‘telecommunications carriers’ for purposes of CALEA section 102, 47 U.S.C. § 1001 – must comply with the CALEA obligations set forth in CALEA section 103, 47 U.S.C. § 1002. See CALEA First Report and Order (rel. Sept. 23, 2005).”
For those who believe that the tracking system is rather imprecise, should consider that most modern phones contain a GPS (Global Positioning System) chip and that there are other sophisticated systems which can precisely triangulate your position – or consider how technology enables first responders to locate and respond to 911 calls for emergency assistance.
The electronic game changer …
While it is true that older laws may not be directly applicable to situations involving modern technology, it seems to me that the basic principles of the Constitution still hold true and that the law enforcement agencies, on the local, state and federal level, are tying to diminish these protections by claiming that the subject of an investigation has no reasonable right or expectation of privacy.
The Obama Administration appears hard at work trying to diminish our freedoms in order to promote their concept of a more totalitarian regime which features central planning and a centralized command and control procedure over our economy and our individual lives.
Privacy advocates are concerned …
"’This is a critical question for privacy in the 21st century,’ says Kevin Bankston, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who will be arguing on Friday. ‘If the courts do side with the government, that means that everywhere we go, in the real world and online, will be an open book to the government unprotected by the Fourth Amendment.’"
The government always starts their arguments with a national security imperative, a law enforcement necessity to keep us safe or telling us “it’s for the children” …
'No reasonable expectation of privacy'
In the case that's before the Third Circuit on Friday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, initially said it needed historical (meaning stored, not future) phone location information because a set of suspects "use their wireless telephones to arrange meetings and transactions in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities."
“U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan in Pennsylvania denied the Justice Department's attempt to obtain stored location data without a search warrant; prosecutors had invoked a different legal procedure. Lenihan's ruling, in effect, would require police to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause--a more privacy-protective standard.”
“Lenihan's opinion (PDF)--which, in an unusual show of solidarity, was signed by four other magistrate judges--noted that location information can reveal sensitive information such as health treatments, financial difficulties, marital counseling, and extra-marital affairs.”
Lenihan appears to be the type of judge we want safeguarding our freedoms. But apparently the Obama Administration believes that the judge’s judgement may be flawed.
“In its appeal to the Third Circuit, the Justice Department claims that Lenihan's opinion ‘contains, and relies upon, numerous errors’ and should be overruled. In addition to a search warrant not being necessary, prosecutors said, because location ‘records provide only a very general indication of a user's whereabouts at certain times in the past, the requested cell-site records do not implicate a Fourth Amendment privacy interest.’"
This is Eric Holder’s Justice Department which appears to be hyper-politicized as did the Department under Clinton and Bush.
“The Obama administration is not alone in making this argument. U.S. District Judge William Pauley, a Clinton appointee in New York, wrote in a 2009 opinion that a defendant in a drug trafficking case, Jose Navas, ‘did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the cell phone’ location. That's because Navas only used the cell phone ‘on public thoroughfares en route from California to New York’ and ‘if Navas intended to keep the cell phone's location private, he simply could have turned it off.’"
Expanding beyond communications issues …
"’The biggest issue at stake is whether or not courts are going to accept the government's minimal view of what is protected by the Fourth Amendment,’ says EFF's Bankston. ‘The government is arguing that based on precedents from the 1970s, any record held by a third party about us, no matter how invasively collected, is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.’"
A clear and present danger …
Do you, as a citizen of the United States, realize that much of your non-public personal information is held in third-party databases? And that these databases containing your medical, insurance and financial records would be open to the government and commercial entities if your right of privacy and due process is lost?
Bottom line: the government cannot be trusted …
The founding fathers recognized that governments have a way of turning tyrannical and enlarging the scope of their activities over time. If we allow the government unfettered access to third-party databases, we cede tremendous power to the government to interfere in our Constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It appears to me that law enforcement is growing increasingly frustrated with Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms that prevent them from obtaining “easy to obtain” evidence without going through the hassle of applying for a warrant and showing probable cause. In fact, a number of recent cases have demonstrated that some law enforcement officials are willing to perjure themselves by falsely swearing to facts provided by so-called “confidential informants” who turn out to be criminals willing to say or do anything to obtain their release or lighten their sentences. In other instances information that resided in protected databases wound up being used for political purposes.
We cannot allow our government unfettered access to our non-public personal information, no matter who holds the information or how it may have been obtained. If the government cannot show a court reasonable probable cause, then they are either fishing for information to make their case or they are seeking to legitimize information which they have already obtained in an illegal and surreptitious manner.
It is now time to demand our privacy rights. It is now time to toss those who would violate our Constitutional freedoms out of office. It is our country and our lives that are at stake. It is time to take action. One need only note how the government, both the Congress and the White House have condemned the protests of ordinary citizens. An activity which is considered to be American as motherhood and apple pie.
It appears that we need to throw out all incumbents – especially the democrats and their Republican sympathizers before we find ourselves enslaved to a democrat political party that looks to Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez as notable political leaders. Or hangs Che Guevarra posters in their campaign offices.
Forewarned is forearmed … Freedom is never free … it is now time to protect yourself, your family, your information and your vote.
Reference Links ….
"Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists who are U.S. citizens or live in the country legally and plot against the U.S. are just as big of a concern as international terrorists. She says that when she started as secretary a year ago, the focus was largely on international terrorists who want to harm U.S. interests. But in the past year, more of the violent extremism that has been seen overseas is showing up in the U.S."
|Cuban flag featuring Communist mass murder Che Guevarra hanging in Obama’s campaign offices. <Source>|
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“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell