Obama administration: Americans enjoy “no reasonable expectation of privacy”


Just as we are all mostly convinced that Obama’s understanding of and respect for the Constitution is thin, he goes and erases all doubt.

Now, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ), is arguing in Third Circuit court that Americans don’t have an expectation of privacy when using their cell phones.  The DOJ argues that any records of Americans that are held by a third party are not protected by the Fourth Amendment.  From CNET:

….the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in their–or at least their cell phones’–whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that “a customer’s Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records” that show where a mobile device placed and received calls…..

…..”The government is arguing that based on precedents from the 1970s, any record held by a third party about us, no matter how invasively collected, is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.”

Civil Liberties groups, including the ACLU, have spoken out in opposition to the government’s view on this case.   A win by the DOJ in this case could open Pandora’s Box with regards to Americans’ privacy in the 21st century, particularly with a society, such as ours, that is so electronically based. (my emphasis below)

“This is a critical question for privacy in the 21st century,” says Kevin Bankston, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who will be arguing on Friday. “If the courts do side with the government, that means that everywhere we go, in the real world and online, will be an open book to the government unprotected by the Fourth Amendment.”

Read the entire article at CNET which also talks about exactly what type of information is available from such cell phone technology and records.

And what does this possibly mean for you, Mr. Citizen who has not committed a crime of any kind?  Or perhaps for you, Miss Blogger, who daily pens her thoughts about the corruption of a rogue Presidency who has access to now track your whereabouts on the web and in the world?  A glimpse from Newsrealblog.com:

Imagine the possibilities if a targeted person possesses a cell phone. His movement can be tracked, logged and searched without the commission of a crime, and without knowledge by the courts….

….The ability to observe or trace a citizen’s activities without consent or a court-ordered warrant violates their rights and limits their freedoms

Let’s hope that the Courts understand the Constitution more than Obama and Eric Holder at the DOJ.  I mean if this case is decided favorably for the government’s case, what is next?

Will Michelle Obama’s obesity program now be able to obtain information from programming providers on how long me and my kids watch TV in a day, lest we get too fat for her taste?

Could innocent citizens be arrested because their travels, documented by cell phone records, coincidentally match those of a prospective criminal?

Do you honestly believe that a Presidential administration (Obama’s) that has already declared tea party participants, pro-lifers, conservatives, and military veterans as “extremists” won’t use their private information and whereabouts against them?

Obama proved his tolerance of abuse where citizen privacy is concerned during his campaign.  Just ask Joe the Plumber.

Of course, it is the ultimate in irony that the President who deems his college transcripts, Senate records, medical records, and passport info as off-limits is so quick to assume that American citizens don’t have a complete right to privacy from an increasingly powerful Federal government.

(H/T: Ace of Spades)

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2 Responses

  1. Don’t blame Obama for this. This case comes from a 2007 investigation, and the Bush DoJ had succeeded in getting this information in every case but one, and that is the one on appeal. It is the professional prosecutors in the DoJ driving this. Keep up.

  2. Hall,

    Don’t blame Obama? That’s right, I forgot, we are all supposed to blame Bush for the world’s ills while Obama’s policies are sinking us further and further into a hole domestically and internationally. You, know, perhaps you should “keep up” and realize that Bush is no longer in office.

    From all of the research I’ve found, the Bush DOJ succeeded in getting personal records based on “probable cause”, not “reasonable cause”. There is a big difference. In addition, the Bush Administration was using law enforcement in tracking potential criminal/terrorist activity. They were not seeking to eliminate privacy laws for everyday, innocent Americans.
    The Obama administration is arguing FOR “reasonable cause” and against privacy rights for American citizens, not just criminals. Hmmm…why could that be?

    Perhaps the same Obama administration who disclosed a domestic terrorist watch list including innocent Americans would love to have court approval to spy on the whereabouts of those who disagree with their policies. Or perhaps, they simply wish to stifle groups for which they disagree. Regardless, as written in Philly.com, “No one wants to feel as if a government agent is following her wherever she goes – be it a friend’s house, a place of worship, or a therapist’s office – and innocent Americans shouldn’t have to feel that way.”

    Obviously this is from an old case where the lower courts ruled in favor of cell phone privacy. However, it IS THE OBAMA administration DOJ that is appealing on the grounds that law enforcement/government should be able to access cell phone records, and therefore location data, on the grounds of “reasonable” cause. In addition, according to a Philly.com op ed and the Wall Street Journal, the government has argued that “one who does not wish to disclose his movements to the government need not use a cellular telephone.”

    Since the vast majority of adults and teens in this country use cell phones, that is quite some language coming from the US government. It is clear that Holder’s DOJ believes that the government’s right to track your every move is greater than the right to privately carry a cell phone and use it. Gee, isn’t Leftist thinking great?

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