From the US Time magazine:
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
(See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.)
It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.
This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited.
(See the misadventures of the CIA.)
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.
Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."
(Read about one man's efforts to escape the surveillance state.)
The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state — with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.
Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's — including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's pro-privacy ruling was unanimous — decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."
Cohen, a lawyer, is a former TIME writer and a former member of the New York Times editorial board.
They'll get really bored if they try that on me. My car's sat on the drive most of the time. I only take it out if the journey is necessary. With the price of petrol so high and slowly climbing, I have to plan ahead for pleasure trips to make sure the domestic budget will stretch that far. After all, I'm also busy paying a huge f*** off greenie tax on a monthly basis. helpfully collected by my energy provider for which I also pay the additional VAT.
Oh, and our Coalition Overloards have also retained the socialist snoop laws they promised to repeal.
They are destroying our armed forces,too.
They can't sell the UK down the EU river fast enough.
The revolution to take back what isn't theirs to give can't come soon enough...
I just went to look at Wikileaks, but obviously my government, just like the Chinese government, has censored the site. Too many leaders are linked in giant cover-ups, and they are all wanting to centralise world government. Resist them. Nothing good has ever come from dominant power. For example, the iron rule of the Catholic church for more than a thousand years during what was correctly described as the dark ages. Don't let it happen again.
I might not be able to read Wikileaks because of my ridiculous Government, but if they need a donation for the cause, I'll give them money.
I do know someone got arrested for overloading the site with traffic. Can you visit the wikileaks-site now ?
Maybe it wasn't the government this time. :-)
Anyway, their is enough to be found on:
(or DerSpiegel.de or nytimes.com or some a French newspaper I don't remember just now)
You're right, of course, but that doesn't make the government any better. LOL They still have us locked in under this wall where they can pick and choose the sites we see. The cover story is porn. The reality is whatever they decide to block. I never thought I'd see the day when this country attacked an innocent country (Iraq), or began systematically removing its citizens' freedoms. My father would spin in his grave if he knew what we had become. I'll go away now and try to read the wikileaks.
Do you know what your country's climate alarmist delegates are doing in Cancun?
Given there has been no warming since 1998, which even the chief ecoloon Phill Jones of CRU admits to, and please note that many of us in the northern hemisphere are experiencing record breaking cold snaps and snowfall this winter (which has been getting steadily worse with each passing year) let's hope they aren't signing you up for this piece of fascist lunacy...
I'm going to say something and you can all make fun of me. There is a systematic program to take away the wealth from rich Protestant countries, by any means - fake global warming alarmism included. Australians have their heads planted firmly in the backsides of Americans, who tell them what to think. The UN is the biggest sham in history. They have an agenda that is not humanitarian. Everyone is now on the bandwagon of a "global village". So who runs this village, and at what cost?
I think we are wrecking the planet, but not via warming. Things like nuclear testing reap a sure result. As for my country's delegates - well, I don't think any country should be run by politicians. Amoral, manipulative mongrels, all of them.
I'm not going to make fun of you because it's no joke. You've hit the nail squarely on the head, Dez.. We're already experiencing the dry run of "global government" with the EU. And guess what, no one got to vote for the bastard who sits at the top of the pile - one Herman von Rumpuy. We haven't even been asked if we want to be part of an EU federation because the answer is obvious, we'd tell them to get stuffed. It'll be the same the world over if the UN gets its way.
We live in very dangerous times, and I believe we already have lost any option of turning the tide. If the earthquakes and tsunamis don't get us, big brother will.
@3 I didn't think I would ever give any sort of creadence to a site like wikileaks, but:
I have just watched the movies at http://www.collateralmurder.com/. My blood boiled, my stomach churned and I had tears in my eyes. I am not a political man but I am a British ex-serviceman and I am ashamed to be associated in any way or form with what took place. Regardless of the rules of combat that were in existence at the time, common sense and your training should enable you to operate as a human being.
Mistaking the long lens camera as a weapon threat is forgivable but what took place afterwards was pure blood lust and unforgivable. What happened to ‘pick your target and only use enough force to disable the enemy so they are no longer a threat. If the target is unarmed or incapacitated they are no longer a threat’. The vehicle and its occupants were not a threat and ground forces were close enough to deal with the situation. The sentiments voiced by the chopper crew about the casualties were crass and uncalled for. We are now in the realms of killing for enjoyment. There are also good military reasons for keeping the ‘enemy’ alive: gathering of intelligence. The vehicle could have been followed to its destination.
To believe that this happened as routine doesn’t bare thinking about, to believe that it is then covered up is ............. (I can't think of the words).
That is disgusting. Non of those civilians were doing anything threatening and the people in the van were going to the aid of the wounded man.
My father was a professional soldier. He joined up in 1938 and, save for a year out of the army after WWII when he became a fireman, he served for 22 years. I used to ask him what he did in the war and did he ever kill anyone. He never said. He only ever talked about these things to other soldiers.
I do know that he had little regard for US soldiers and held them in some contempt. He once said, in response to one of my questions, "We used to have a saying. When the Jerries fired the British ducked. When the British fired the Jerries ducked. When the Yanks fired everyone ducked."
Nothing has changed...
Cluster bombs among civilians in the center of the town, destroyed trains with people going to work, factories, TV stations, schools, hospitals ...
And the Serbs are Protestant, aren't they?
I think Serbs are catholic but does it matter? An other 'forgotten' war....
No, they are (mostly) orthodox christians. I live in Serbia but i was born in a catholic family. And i'm not Serb.
I know Serbia have a bad reputation, but don't trust everything they tell you. They are not THAT bad. The sky here is blue, the girls are pretty and the pljeskavica is fantastic.
I like the Serbs, to be honest. I've met quite a few.
Before WW2 there were a lot of Protestants in Serbia. They were wiped out. But I did my homework, and it seems they are mostly Orthodox these days. My error.