Cellphone Eavesdropping Increases

by Ryan on November 25, 2007

in Culture,Election 2008,Politics,War on Terror

The Washington Compost has a piece today saying that the Feds have routinely asked for cellphone tracking with a very low standard for warrants.  The by-line is misleading when it states that “Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause.”  The piece even says that there is probable cause, just a lower and delayed standard.  The government has been using this surveillance technique to follow drug traffickers, suspects, fugitives, and possibly potential terrorists.  A judge, Brian L. Owsley, threw out a Texas case that dealt with the government trying to use a 911-locator option to find a narcotics dealer because of the nature of the evidence– not that there wasn’t evidence, just not enough for the judge’s satisfaction.  The cellphone companies often volunteer information like this, which is legal, but if the Feds ask for it we have a major civil liberties case.  This whole issue needs to be clarified in law quickly.

Some civil libertarians are up in arms over this new infringement on our privacy.  I agree with some officials that Americans are going to have redefine privacy with “anonymity” absent from that definition.  It’s just the nature of today’s world.  National ID cards, Social Security numbers, illegal aliens, Homeland Security sweeps, all indicate that our desire to be completely unknown is an outdated one at this point in our history.  The Constitution only implies a right to privacy that the Supreme Court only dug up and specified after World War II.  Our civil liberties survived pretty well as a nation before then.  Regardless, the government’s first job is protection and if the Feds need to use cellphones as a tool to find enemies of the state, then so be it. 

Plus, I’d love to see the government (who has been ruining social security, doing a bang-up job at the DMV, and can’t control our own borders) to listen to every cellphone call made in the USA in one day.  That’s billions of minutes that need listening to.  In other words, it’s impossible.  If the Feds have suspects, they should follow through with their leads; the threat could be a big joke on the phone between two friends, or it could be ecstasy or cocaine ending up in your kid’s school.  In the very least it’s worth a look.

Pic from CBS.com.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz November 25, 2007 at 6:38 pm
anne November 25, 2007 at 11:27 pm

So quick to give up your liberties. Tsk tsk.

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