Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our right to privacy, guaranteed by law

A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's data collection policies violate the 4th amendment.

"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. "Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment."

Since perhaps a majority of citizens nowadays carry around telephones that contain every detail of their lives encoded in ones and zeroes, yes, I'd say that "degree of privacy" is violated when the NSA seizes your phone records and sticks them in a file for possibly future reference.

Why are we even talking about this when we could just read the 4th amendment, which says,  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The judge's ruling that the NSA should cease and desist immediately from its unlawful procedures are postponed pending the government appeal of the case.

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