Categorized | National

Big Brother May be Tracking You

 

 

FBI Using Warrantless GPS To Track US Citizens

(VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Mind if we track you?

Local activists may want to check under their car:  Big Brother
may be following you.

GPS vehicle trackers, based on technology first used by the
military for navigation, have become a popular law-enforcement
tool for tracking people.

gps stalker2Cruder than other forms of surveillance, they report only where a suspect’s car goes and are frequently used for supplementary surveillance.  That’s because in most jurisdictions, investigators don’t need court approval or a warrant to slap a tracking device on a driver’s car.

They’re also very effective.  The devices provide a stealthier and more cost-effective approach to surveillance than a team of cops trailing a suspect around the clock.  They have become one of the top choices for surveillance by government agencies like the FBI to use.

Wired magazine’s Kim Zetter reported:

The use of GPS tracking devices is poised to become one of the most contentious privacy issues before the Supreme Court, if it agrees to hear an appeal filed by the Obama administration last month.  The administration is seeking to overturn a ruling by a lower court that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before using a tracker.

The constitutional matter until now has been left to district courts around the country to decide, resulting in a patchwork of conflicting rulings.

The tracking devices have become one of the most divisive Fourth Amendment issues facing courts around the country.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled last year that using a GPS tracker was no different than physically trailing a suspect in public, and that such surveillance was not protected by the Fourth Amendment, even if agents placed the device on a suspect’s car while it was parked in his driveway.

But Judge Alex Kosinski, in the dissenting opinion, called the use of GPS trackers without a court order “straight out of George Orwell’s novel 1984” and said they give government “the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives.”

Just ask Kathy Thomas.  She found one of the tracking devices
underneath her car, placed there by the FBI.

gps stalkerThomas, an environmental activist, doesn’t know if the FBI obtained a warrant to place the tracker on her car.  But she said authorities never charged her with any crime.  They did ask for their tracker back, though.  She refused.

Her FBI file, which she obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, makes it clear the surveillance was part of a nationwide investigation of activists connected to Earth First!, the Earth Liberation Front, and the Animal Liberation Front — groups the FBI considered “left-wing anarchists” and whose members sometimes advocated criminal activity to further their aims.

Thomas says she organized activities with Earth First! and participated in animal rights activities, but she never belonged to the two other groups.  Instead, she was a member of Food Not Bombs.

In other words:  Warrant?  We don’t need no stinkin’ warrant.

 

You can read the whole story at Wired magazine.

warrant mail

Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Pocket paradigms
    Like a hit and run driver, America's elite has left the scene of the accident. More and more, those who run this country have the character of wealthy, isolated strangers -- armed but afraid, intrusive yet indifferent, personally profligate but politically penurious, priggish in rhetoric yet corrupt in action. No longer does national myth connect them w […]
  • Word
    The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong. - Harry Weinberger […]
  • A speech C-SPAN didn't like
    Sam Smith1999[From 50 years of our overstocked archives: C-SPAN broadcast in 1999 the first rally in opposition to the Bosnian war with one exception: your editor's speech. C-SPAN even left in the part where a singer announced, "I'm the warm-up act for Sam Smith" but the speech itself was cut. It was during a time, incidentally, when CSPA […]
  • Colorado River Basin drying up faster than thought
    Washington Post - Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that an historic drought is threatening the region’s future access to water.In the past nine years, the basin — which covers Wyoming, Colorado, Ut […]
  • The collapse of black wealth
    SlateBy the official end of the recession in 2009, median household net worth for blacks had fallen to $5,677—a generation’s worth of hard work and progress wiped out. (The number for whites, by comparison, was $113,149.) Overall, from 2007 to 2010, wealth for blacks declined by an average of 31 percent, home equity by an average of 28 percent, and retiremen […]
  • Detroit ,other cities ripping off public workers to fund stadiums
    SalonAs states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.Detroit this week became the most prominent example of this trend. Officials in the financially devastated city ann […]
  • Found in a vacant house
    […]
  • Follow the bouncing ball
    […]
  • US weapons supplied to Israel have killed more than Russian weapons spplied to Ukrainian rebels
    Truth Out - The United States exported to Israel a substantial amount of the same types of weapons Israel is using to kill Gazans, a new analysis of US Census Bureau export data reveals. For example, in 2013, the United States sent Israel at least $196 million in parts for military airplanes and helicopters, a category that includes F-16 fighter jets and Apa […]
  • Great moments in American exceptionalism
    Firedog Lake -  American exceptionalism strikes again. This time it manifested itself as the US being the only country on the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against investigating the killing of civilians in Operation Protective Edge. The call to respect international legal restrictions on warfare and investigate whether any violations have taken […]
  • Jewish identity
    @Harpers - Percentage of American Jews who believe that following Jewish law is essential to Jewish identity: 19... Who believe that having a sense of humor is: 42 […]
  • Drought update
    NY TIMES […]
  • Study: More than half of those executed suffer from severe mental illness
    Think Progress - A majority of the 100 executed inmates examined in a new study by three legal researchers had “a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis.” Yet, because of an oddity in the Supreme Court’s death penalty cases, it is typically constitutional under existing precedents to execute people with these […]
  • Obama bars media from corrupt meeting with cash cows
    Politico - President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.The reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Oba […]
  • Washington reporters get a White House chaperon in interviews
    Paul Fahri, Washington Post - When NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd conducts background interviews with government officials these days, he and his source usually aren’t the only ones in the room or on the call. Typically, there’s a third party: A representative of the White House’s press staff monitors the conversation.Sometimes, the press monitor i […]