Dec 242009
 December 24, 2009  Govt, Misc Comments Off on Another wrong article: “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye”

John Wesley Hall Jr. of blogs:

Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye,” posted today by Kathleen Baker, Denver Conservative Examiner, concludes that the Obama Administration granting diplomatic immunity to INTERPOL operating in the United States means that we can “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye.” Once again, a conservative watchdog gets it wrong, in their zeal to demonize the President.


So, where does it say that INTERPOL gets to act outside the Fourth Amendment? It doesn’t. Nothing in the article or the statute it quotes says a word about it, except the writer’s imagination and lack of reading comprehension. This is just wrong. Dead wrong. Even a commenter got on the bandwagon and agreed without critical analysis. Maybe even without reading. See also the with a slightly different view.

The old early law career saw “RTFS” applies: Read The Frigging Statute.


Dec 092009
 December 9, 2009  Surveillance Comments Off on How Easy Is It For The Police To Get GPS Data From Your Phone?

Justin Elliot has more on the issue of how easy it is — or isn’t — for law enforcement to obtain your GPS data. The issue grabbed a lot of attention last week after graduate student Chris Soghoian published some information suggesting that Sprint had gotten 8 million requests last year for customer data. Sprint later responded that 8 million did not refer to unique customers or accounts, but to pings.


Depending on the circumstances, police would generally need to meet one of three tiers of standards to get a court order to access to GPS data from a phone company, Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, tells TPMmuckraker: a certification to the court that the location information is relevant to an investigation (a court must grant this request); showing the court with “specific and articulable facts” — say, that a suspect is involved in drug smuggling — that the data is relevant; or, finally, showing good old probable cause to obtain a search warrant.

“Under a legal standard like this one, people who will never do anything wrong — who have simply caught the interest of law enforcement — will have their GPS info pulled,” says Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU. Adds Calabrese: “GPS data should clearly be protected by the Fourth Amendment warrant standard, but right now it’s not.”

Read more on TPMMuckraker.

Nov 172009
 November 17, 2009  Court, Surveillance, U.S. Comments Off on D.C. Circuit Examines Warrantless GPS Surveillance

Mike Scarcella writes:

When federal authorities got a warrant to install an electronic tracking device to track a drug suspect, agents acted in an “abundance of caution,” a federal prosecutor said today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the government is defending its ability to secretly follow suspects without judicial supervision.

Peter Smith, an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, argued that the authorities did not need a warrant to attach the global positioning system onto the vehicle of the suspect, Antoine Jones, the target of a cocaine trafficking ring in Washington. Jones was convicted last year and sentenced to life in prison. He is challenging the conviction.

Read more on The Blog of Legal Times.


Nov 142009
 November 14, 2009  Surveillance, U.S. Comments Off on The “techie” side of “Getting It Right”

Jim Burrows writes:

The following posting is intended as part of the background information for a forthcoming Get FISA Right chat on the technological issues in “getting FISA right” or more generally balancing needed foreign intelligence gathering with the rights reserved and protected in the Constitution. We eagerly seek your comments here and your participation in the chat. Please post as comments here not only critiques of this posting, but also any ideas regarding who should participate in such a discussion, when we should hold it and any of the ideas that should be discussed.

We will also discuss the logistics of the chat at our next regular organization conference call or two Please join us.

One of the knottiest problems in “getting FISA right” is the question of precisely how to insure that our Constitutionally guaranteed rights are protected while any email is being spied upon. It’s a purely technical problem in one sense, but one that has huge repercussions in the Constitutional and political areas. As a dedicated nerd and and civil libertarian, let me see if I can lay it out clearly.

Read more on Getting FISA Right.