A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do.
It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted its expensive device back, the student told Wired.com in an interview Wednesday.
At the Obama administration’s urging, the Supreme Court agreed Monday to review whether the government, without a court warrant, may affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move. The Justice Department told the justices that “a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another,” (.pdf) and demanded the justices undo a lower court decision that reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month without a court warrant.
The petition, which will not be decided until the new term begins in October, is arguably one of the biggest Fourth Amendment case in a decade — one weighing the collision of privacy, technology and the Constitution.
The administration, in its petition to the justices, said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was “wrong” in August when it reversed the drug dealer’s conviction, which was based on warrants to search and find drugs in the locations where defendant Antoine Jones had traveled. That lower court declined to rehear the case in September, so the government appealed to the high court.
Three other circuit courts of appeal have already said the authorities do not need a warrant for GPS vehicle tracking.
“Prompt resolution of this conflict is critically important to law enforcement efforts throughout the United States. The court of appeals’ decision seriously impedes the government’s use of GPS devices at the beginning stages of an investigation when officers are gathering evidence to establish probable cause and provides no guidance on the circumstances under which officers must obtain a warrant before placing a GPS device on a vehicle,” the Obama administration wrote the justices.
Given the recent 8-1 Supreme Court ruling on the issue of the creation by police of so-called “exigent circumstances” as a legal justification to search without a warrant, I’m not too hopeful that the morons on the Supreme Court will stand up for civil liberties in this case either.
As I was reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I found myself struck by the characterization prevalent and how Twain could find a way to say some of the most controversial slants on humanity, particularly the average white man and to still be published, respected and admired in his time. Here are just a few (of the many) things we happen to agree on:
"The average man’s a coward." (205)
"The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t’ fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers." (206)
"That’s just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don’t want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide it, it ain’t no disgrace." (245)
"But that’s always the way; it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.” (257)
The goal of the bill, HR 2306, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.
“I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco,” said Frank (D-Mass.). “But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy.
“Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom,” he added.
Frank admitted in a conference call Thursday that he didn’t think the bill had a chance of passing, but according to Reason’s Hit & Run blog, the congressman was “particularly struck by the hypocrisy of public officials who will themselves talk about smoking marijuana, wink at it, and then make it criminal for other people,” which leads to “a very discriminatory pattern of enforcement.”
So, I’m confused as to how we can complain about the steady decline of “mom and pop” shops in the United States anymore and the shift to larger conglomerates, ie: walmart, but strive for globalization? Don’t you think that the next generation is going to miss Walmart, because even larger, international stores are going to come in? I feel like we keep wanting more and more and more, but where is that going to lead us? The individual will have no say in business. We will mean nothing. It’s terrifying.