Fourth Amendment

11th Circuit: The Location of Your Cell Phone Isn’t Private

location

You know how Google, Apple, and Microsoft store your phone’s location history to help with searches and app interactivity? Well, a federal appeals court just ruled that none of that information is actually yours and you have no expectation of privacy from it, so courts don’t need a warrant to get it.

“Cell tower location records do not contain private communications of the subscriber,” the court said in its ruling. “This type of non-content evidence, lawfully created by a third-party telephone company . . . does not belong to Davis, even if it concerns him. . . . Davis has no subjective or objective reasonable expectation of privacy in [the phone company’s] business records showing the cell tower locations that wirelessly connected his calls at or near the time of six of the seven robberies.”

This is an obscene and invidious ruling that has enormous implications for yes, your actual privacy. If the cell tower location data that shows where your phone is can from now on be acquired without a warrant, then your physical location is always within reach of government agents.

Nevermind that your phone has layers and layers of privacy settings that keep your GPS and other location data off the grid. Triangulating cell tower data can be just as useful and is now more accessible to the government than it is to you.

As an example of the lengths Google’s Android Lollipop system goes to allow you to protect your location data, the following are screenshots from my phone.

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The Ferguson Report Should be the Catalyst for National Criminal Justice Reform, and Conservatives Should Lead

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After briefly flirting with using the DOJ report on the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson police department to continue tone deaf whining about the #HandsUpDontShoot protest slogan, conservatives are finally coming to realize the real importance of the report. It should be the catalyst for nationwide criminal justice reform, and they should lead that effort.

This week, leading conservative publications RedState, National Review, and Commentary all have long posts explaining in depth the horrific actions of the Ferguson PD and why conservatives should be leading the charge for reform, not making excuses.

For example, the police department, allegedly a public safety organization, was primarily used to pad the city budget:

Georgia Legislature to Consider Modest Reforms for ‘No-Knock’ Raids

No Knock Raid

On May 28th, 2014 around 3:00 a.m. in Habersham County, Georgia a SWAT team raided a house the police believed to be occupied by Wanis Thonetheva, an alleged drug dealer. In the chaos of the raid instead were four children and up to four adults. The youngest of the children, 19 month-old “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh was burned and permanently disfigured from a flash-bang grenade which set the play pen he was sleeping in ablaze.

No drugs or contraband of any kind was found in the home. Also absent from the residence was the man they were looking for.

Bou Bou was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where he was put into a medically induced coma. Doctors were not sure if the toddler would ever wake up but fortunately, he did. This is not by any means, the end of the Phonesavanh family’s problems with Bou Bou’s medical expenses around $1.6 million and surgeries into adulthood. These expenses, by the way, that will not be paid by the county or the departments responsible for severely injuring this child.

Supreme Court Rejects NSA Phone Spying Case

After U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s preliminary injunction was issued back in December, which kept the NSA from gathering metadata pertaining to certain Verizon customers who took part in a lawsuit filed by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, the Supreme Court decided to refrain from reviewing the case.

According to Judge Leon’s ruling, the Justice Department didn’t produce enough evidence to make him believe that the massive surveillance program was justified, which led to his decision to call the NSA’s surveillance programs unconstitutional.

The decision was announced Monday.

Per the rules of the court, at least four of the nine justices must agree on taking up the cause for a full review before it’s accepted, but since the process failed to grant the case a go, the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program remains unchecked by the Supreme Court.

The debate over President Barack Obama’s proposal to change how data gathered by private companies will be stored has also sparked this administration’s harshest critics, especially when it comes to the unconstitutional surveillance programs carried out by the NSA.

Thomas Massie, Justin Amash to Participate in War On Youth Town Hall

YAL War on Youth Townhall

The current prevailing political trends have been failing the predictions of their original proponents.

Higher minimum wages and the implementation of health care mandates that force companies to spend more to maintain employees on the payroll are just a few of the many policies that have been linked to the many difficulties that teens and young adults have been facing in the past decade.

The current job market for teens is the toughest on record and the type of solutions that are now being supported by the Obama administration do nothing to solve the problem but aggravate it. Once higher minimum wages kick in, the current administration’s solution will prove to be yet another impediment to the entry of inexperienced or young individuals with little or no experience in the workforce.

Because these policies lead to constant harassment that young Americans are forced to struggle with daily, Congressmen Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) will be participating in a “War on Youth” town hall, which will take place in Arizona.

The Glendale Community College chapter of Young Americans for Liberty will host the event. If you can’t make it, YAL will be broadcasting the event live online on April 3, at 7 p.m. EDT or 4 p.m. PDT.

Viewers can send in their questions to both congressmen by using the hashtag #WarOnYouth.

Collection of Phone Records Expansion: Unintended Consequence of NSA Lawsuits

The government may have to expand its surveillance programs following news concerning several lawsuits filed against the NSA. Why? Because the NSA will have to avoid destructing phone records in order to preserve evidence requested by a number of lawyers involved in NSA-related lawsuits.

The unexpected change in plans would force the NSA to keep all phone records it collects, which would mean that the agency would have to expand its programs and database in order to respond to requirements put forward for litigation purposes.

ACLU’s lawyer Patrick Toomey, who’s involved in the lawsuit against the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs, says that the lawsuit was filed precisely to ensure that the telephone data collection programs are not expanded, but ended for good. According to the lawyer, the government never discussed the possibility of an expansion of the data collection program just to respond to litigation requirements.

It would be especially difficult for anybody to consider the government would use this excuse to expand the program when President Barack Obama just ordered senior officials to leave the data collection to the phone companies that log the calls. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have to give the heads up on expending the data collection program, which would not be a problem for the government.

Americans Value Privacy Over Security, Survey Results Suggest

President Obama’s claim to be responding to people’s concerns related to the NSA’s surveillance programs hasn’t gained momentum, mainly because most Americans still believe that his promised reforms will do nothing to address the real problems.

According to Politico, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that over 60 percent of people who participated said they value privacy over surveillance tactics disguised as anti-terror protections carried out by agencies like the National Security Agency. Since the last time this question was asked of respondents back in August by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the percentage of Americans that claimed to value privacy over security has gone up two points.

Since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made his revelations public, President Obama has been scrambling to gain the public’s trust back but none of his efforts seems to be paying off. He has recently promised to review NSA’s surveillance system by ensuring that new limits are going to be imposed to the intelligence committee. According to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Obama’s reforms are not going to be effective mostly because the President has misdiagnosed the problem.

According to the most recent poll, only 34% of respondents claimed to support Obama’s reform proposals concerning the FISA court procedures and the creation of a panel of attorneys that would offer counter-arguments to the government, while only 17% say Obama’s proposal to move collected phone data out of the NSA’s hands is valid.

Tennessee Legislator Introduces Fourth Amendment Protection Act, Joins Seven Other States

Lawmakers in at least seven states are taking the fight against the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs to state capitols. All bills introduced locally to keep the states from cooperating with the federal government were based on the Off Now Coalition’s model bill.

Tennessee has now joined Washington, Kansas, California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana in the battle to keep the federal government’s advances against privacy from spreading. The bill introduced by Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) would keep the state from providing water and electricity to an NSA facility or any other federal agency “claiming the power to authorize the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant.”

The bill would prohibit the state of Tennessee from taking part in any effort to abuse the Fourth Amendment by ensuring that the NSA does not obtain any local material support, which is fundamental to the smooth operation of their facilities. The bill would also ensure that data gathered without a warrant and shared with local law enforcement agencies, cannot be used as evidence in state court. Any local public University in Tennessee would be prohibited from serving as recruiting grounds to the NSA. The agency would also be kept from using universities as research facilities.

Missouri, Kansas Lawmakers Push Legislation to Fight the NSA at State Level

As we debate over the constitutionality of the NSA spying programs, Missouri and Kansas lawmakers begin gearing up to fight the agency at the state level.

According to OffNow.Org, Kansas State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) pre-submitted a state bill requiring state agencies and local governments to formally maintain cell phone and Internet data related to its citizens that is “held by a third-party in a system of record.” The public’s information would be protected from being “subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion for its release to any person or entity or be admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding.” To obtain any of this data, the agency would have to first obtain an “express informed consent” or a warrant.

This effort would undermine NSA’s active spying programs by keeping them from having access to data related to cell phone and Internet users in Kansas. The Fourth Amendment Protection Act would assure that electronic data would be just as protected by the law as your physical mail is.

In Missouri, lawmakers proposed a very similar solution. The effort would add “electronic communications and data” to the clause of the state constitution that deals with search and seizure.

U.S. IT Firms Lose Billions Due to NSA’s Surveillance Programs

The government’s intrusive NSA surveillance programs are not only causing Americans to fret over the limitless information government agencies are gathering daily without any warrants. According to The Independent, U.S. IT firms are also losing billions after reports proved they were involved with the bulk data collection programs.

The scandal is making it hard for American technology companies to sell their products to foreign companies and governments in Asia. Members of the export markets have begun to refuse making any deals with Americans because they simply cannot trust us anymore.

Tech giants like Cisco and IBM have seen a sales drop that surpassed the $1.7 billion mark since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been gathering Internet data from millions of American users daily.

When foreigners don’t want what U.S. companies have to offer, especially after learning that surveillance programs have compromised their technology, China becomes the first place to go for an alternative. According to The Independent, IBM saw a drop of 15 percent of sales in Asia, while Cisco reported that it might have lost 10 percent of its customers in this current quarter.

The Asian market is not the only one that’s concerned with surveillance programs like Prism. According to the reports, the German government is urging tech developers to come up with an alternative local Internet and e-mail provider that would keep the consumer’s data private.


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