Saturday, November 24, 2007

Can You Track Me Now?

John Amato, Crooks and Liars: And you wonder why we’ve taken such a principled stand on the NSA/FISA debate:

Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.

Such requests run counter to the Justice Department’s internal recommendation that federal prosecutors seek warrants based on probable cause to obtain precise location data in private areas. The requests and orders are sealed at the government’s request, so it is difficult to know how often the orders are issued or denied.

We are a nation of laws and this is a subversion of that tenet, but how often have we seen this already during the Bush years. Do you still want to give the big Telecoms retroactive immunity for their willing participation in the NSA program? Captain Ed, please, it’s all related… And where will it stop? From tracking drug dealers to protesters that wear “Impeach Cheney,” t-shirts is not out of the question, I kid you not.

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