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Are You Paying Attention? 4th Amendment Under Attack


Search and Seizure - 4th Amendment

Technology may be the very bane of our existence. Sure, it's allows us to keep in touch with family and friends, it keeps us organized, technology even runs our cars, homes, and much of our lives. But what have we given up because of it? We certainly have sacrificed privacy with the ubiquitous surveillance cameras in most towns. Not to mention everyone and their grandma has a cell phone with recording capabilities. But what about sacrificing our constitutional rights? Specifically our 4th Amendment.

What exactly is the 4th amendment? The 4th amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. But what does that mean? Specifically, law enforcement is not allowed to conduct searches without warrant or probable cause. This means that law enforcement cannot search you just because they have a grudge or because they feel like it. They have to show a plausible reason for the search to a judge or a magistrate.

I'd never allow for illegal search and seizures. But we've already given up some of our 4th amendment rights, perhaps unknowingly. The Supreme Court has found sobriety checkpoints to be constitutionally sound even though ten states (Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) concede that those same checkpoints violate their own state constitutions. SCOTUS and 19 states support that cell-site data, the information received by the cell towers regarding your device, is general in nature and therefore not protected under the 4th Amendment. And the 9th Circuit Appellate Court deemed that wireless-tracking software used by the FBI did not constitute a 4th Amendment violation. But it doesn't stop there!

It's all so CLOUDY! How many of you use the CLOUD? I know I do! Several of them in fact. Did you know that Purdue University has developed software that can scan your files uploaded to the CLOUD and determine whether or not illegal activity is occurring? I get it. Why do you care as a law abiding citizen? Well, as if that software wasn't enough. The United States Government, created in secrecy under the guise of public safety, has made agreements with the UK regarding our 4th amendment rights. Under the CLOUD Act [CS USA No.6/2019], the US Department of Justice and the UK Home Office will allow foreign police to collect and search data on servers housed on U.S. Internet companies sites. All of this without any oversight; no probable cause or warrant necessary. Already paving the pathway for other similar agreements to be made, the United States has entered into negotiations with Australia regarding their own CLOUD Act Agreement. Not only is the 4th amendment at stake, but also the 1st amendment. You know, our freedom of speech?! While the CLOUD Act between the US and UK says that foreign governments, “shouldn't be allowed to file requests that 'impinge freedom of speech,” the term 'freedom of speech' has different meanings depending on what sets of laws you're looking at. According to EFF, the UK has laws that “potentially violate article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The CLOUD Act requires US tech companies to monitor which requests violate the 1st amendment and expects them to challenge those requests found in violation. Tech companies policing the 1st amendment? What a joke?!!! How can we stop this deal with the US and the UK and any subsequent similar agreements? Contact your congressmen so they can introduce a joint resolution of disapproval of the agreement within 180 days. The clock is ticking, so act fast!

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