TIME report details legal ruling that befits activity of KGB or the East German Stasi
Wednesday, Aug 25th, 2010
A Report in TIME magazine details how it is now perfectly legal in nine states for the government to attach secret satellite tracking devices to your car and monitor you wherever you go, without a search warrant.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the report also details how The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which made the ruling, essentially suggests that privacy should be reserved for rich people only.
The law, which now applies in California and eight other Western states, stems from a case beginning in 2007 when federal agents of the DEA covertly attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle of an Oregon man they suspected of growing marijuana.
The vehicle was parked in the man’s driveway, yet judges ruled that he did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment because they driveway was “open to strangers” such as delivery people and neighborhood children.
This ruling transgresses long standing court rules that the area immediately surrounding a private property, known as the “curtilage,” should also be considered private.
Judges also ruled that there was no reasonable expectation that the government was not tracking the man’s movements.
All appeals against the court’s motion have failed.
One Ninth Circuit judge has spoken out against the ruling however, noting that it essentially suggests that privacy is limited to those who can afford to completely close off their property with hi-tech security features such as electric gates, fences and security booths to stop anyone, including the government, sneaking around.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski raised the point and added that “cultural elitism” is rife within the justice system:
“There’s been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there’s one kind of diversity that doesn’t exist,” he wrote. “No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter.”
“1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last,” Kozinski added, noting that “Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we’re living in Oceania.”
With a Justice Department on record suggesting that the Fourth Amendment does not apply after 9/11, and an intelligence apparatus guilty of widespread covert wiretapping of American citizens’ communications, one might suggest that we found ourselves living in such an Orwellian nightmare a long time ago, now it is simply being made official.
“…if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state – with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.” the TIME reporter and professional lawyer Adam Cohen writes, noting that due to differing decisions by courts in other districts, the issue is soon likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor at Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and regular contributor to Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.