Saturday, April 9, 2011

Obama Administration and the Fourth Amendment

And you thought Bush was Evil? There have been many evil ideas put forth by the US Government but view as detrimental to the health of the US than the Obama Administrations argument that data which is NOT on your computer is not protected by the 4th Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I am less opposed to the Patriot Act then what is now coming out of the Obama Whitehouse. The Patriot Act, for all the vitriol hurled its way, appears to be nothing more than consolidating hundreds of different law enforcement techniques and then placing them in the hands of counter-terrorist officials. From what I understand -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- the only new provisions of the Patriot Act have to do with tracing money transfers.

In particular the US Government has, in at least one prosecution, invoked the 1986 Stored Communications Act which held that any email stored on a server for 6 months were to be considered abandoned and could be viewed by the government without a subpeana. This bill was enacted at a time when e-mail wasn’t stored on servers for a long time. They were held on the servers for a short time until downloaded to the recipient’s inbox.

See Wired Magazine:

Thankfully a group of ISPs, computer corporations and organizations have combined to fight this, Digital Due Process

The only reasonable course of action is to consider that any information held in an account is to be under the protection of the 4th Amendment.


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