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

  • Department of Good Stuff
    […]
  • Why people hate the federal government
    Take Part - Out with the cupcakes, in with the fruit cups.At least that’s what the USDA envisioned when it came up with the “Smart Snacks in School” standards as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The guidelines—which set rules for treats sold on K–12 campuses outside the cafeteria during school hours, or “competitive foods”—went into effect […]
  • Why you shouldn't vote for a corporate executive
    Sam Smith - There is a widespread myth that corporate executives are exquisitely prepared to run other things, like community organizations, states or our nation.  This is a myth broadly enabled by large corporate media but it makes little sense. Here's why:Corporate executives can fire people, move them to new jobs, promote or demote them. You can […]
  • Preserving a Jewish state or the Jewish soul?
    From 50 years of our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 2006 - Vigdor Lieberman that nasty member of the Israel cabinet, wants to get rid of the Arabs so his country can remain a Jewish state. It's not a new idea; shoving Arabs around helped Israel get started. And it didn't work all that well. Fifty years of misery as the Israelis and the Arabs compet […]
  • Mid and late career teachers underpaid
    Center for American Progress: Mid- and late-career teacher base salaries are painfully low in many states. In Colorado, teachers with a graduate degree and 10 years of experience make less than a trucker in the state. In Oklahoma, teachers with 15 years of experience and a master’s degree make less than sheet metal workers. And teachers in Georgia with 10 ye […]
  • Photo of the day
    L'Osservatore Romano photo of Pope having lunch with Vatican workers […]
  • Stupid Washington Post tricks
    James Zogby, Arab American Institute - As the Israeli ground offensive was beginning, the [Washington] Post featured a front page headline, in large type, reading "Two Israelis Killed in Gaza Clash." In smaller type there was a subhead, "Death toll tops 330 as Hamas militants step up attacks." The story began, "Hamas militants intens […]
  • Furthermore. . .
    Gaza death toll now over 1,000Top Palestinian officials have accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza, filing a complaint Friday to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. […]
  • 2500 Ground Zero responders have come down with cancer
    NY Post - More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have come down with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses, The Post has learned.The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.In its latest tally, the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital counts 1,655 responder […]
  • Millenials down on marriage
    Alternet - | In a new Pew poll, researchers asked people of all ages how they felt about marriage and having kids. One question asked if society is better off if people made these goals a priority.....For respondents over 65, a strong 61 percent said yes, it’s in society’s best interest to prioritize marriage and kids. But that number gradually declined for […]
  • A bipartisan cause: universal income
    David Atkins, Washington Monthly -  One of the beautiful things about universal basic income: it has legitimate cross-partisan appeal, even if it seems wacky at first glance to centrists (who are often the very last people to recognize a good policy idea when they see one.)To a conservative, a direct money grant is an opportunity to shed cumbersome governmen […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    Unfortunately, complex failing systems have little capacity to save themselves. In part this is because the solutions come from the same source as the problem. The public rarely questions the common provenance; official Washington and the media honor it. Even a failure as miserable as that of Vietnam had little effect on the careers of its major protagonists […]
  • Word
    I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations -- James Madison […]
  • Mid East paradigms
    From 50 years of our overstocked archivesIsrael is a state like all the rest. AIPAC is just another political group like the National Rifle Association. It is not a religion but one more Washington lobby corrupting the political process and making American voters less powerful. The policy of the Israeli government is clearly distinguishable from the theology […]
  • Bringing politics home
    From 50 years of our overstocked archivesSam Smith[From Shadows of Hope, 1994]In 1816, Columbus, Ohio, had one city councilmember for every hundred residents. By 1840 there was one for every thousand residents. By 1872 the figure had dwindled to one to every five thousand. By 1974, there was one councilmember for every 55,000 people.The first US congressiona […]