Friday, November 23, 2007

cellphone tracking, no warrant required

The FBI and DEA and other federal agencies have been getting cellphone companies to track the location of various people they are interested in. Oh, and they get this without a warrant or even in many cases without even showing probable cause.

The Department of (In-) Justice says these are always very important cases where lives are hanging on the line and children are in immediate peril. Always. Really. You know, just like all the people who are being tortured in our name no doubt have critical information about an attack that will happen in the next hour, just like on "24."

If these are always such clear-cut cases, then why not GET A WARRANT??? Judges move quick to issue warrants and again, this sort of thing would easily qualify as probable cause and legal permission would be quickly forthcoming.

Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said "Law enforcement has absolutely no interest in tracking the locations of law-abiding citizens. None whatsoever." Then they shouldn't mind following the law themselves and getting warrants.

Should we worry? Well, there are plenty of examples of false arrests and even people's assets being seized based on the mistaken idea that the owners were drug dealers. The feds are not always right. As we see from the recent story about the FBI using a discredited forensic method for two years after it was proven not to work, and all the people in prison based in part on such evidence.

We need for the feds (and police and government in general) to follow the rules. That is what the Constitution is for. We shouldn't just shrug and say "somebody else's problem" when sort of disregard for the law is disclosed.