Nov 072011
 November 7, 2011  Posted by  Court, Surveillance

There’s been a lot of press coverage of the upcoming oral arguments in United States v. Jones and its significance. Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Sunset Strip bookie Charlie Katz suspected the feds had bugged his apartment, so he would amble over to a pay phone outside where Carney’s hot dog joint now stands to call in his bets to Boston and Miami.

It was 1965, a time when phone booths had four glass walls and a folding door, allowing Katz to seal himself off from eavesdroppers. Or so he thought.

FBI agents planted a recording device at the booth and taped his dealings, leading to his conviction on eight illegal wagering charges. But two years later, Katz became a legal trailblazer when the U.S. Supreme Court tossed his conviction and expanded the 4th Amendment’s guarantee of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure to include a citizen’s “expectation of privacy.”

The ruling in Katz vs. United States may have been a high-water mark, though, for recognition of individuals’ right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects.”

Court rulings since then have significantly limited what people can expect to keep private. This shift has accelerated as new technologies — including smartphones and GPS — have emerged.

Read more on The Chicago Tribune.

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