Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Brother is still Big Brother

Obama Administration: Constitution Does Not Protect Cell-Site Records

The Obama administration says the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to cell-site information mobile phone carriers retain on their customers.

* snip *
At issue is whether the government can require federal judges to order mobile phone companies to release historical cell-tower information of a phone number without probable cause — the standard required for a search warrant.

Ralph Maughn plausibly compares this to having a radio collar on almost every American, although the comparison isn't entirely apt: your cell phone records can plot your general location at a given time, but not with the same precision as a triangulated radio signal can. Still, is this really how we want to stand in relation to our government? They don't even have to prove probably cause to spy on us?


pfanderson said...

OK, sorry, this is just an offensive idea (the abridgement of rights and the continuing abridgement of liberties). I'm sure there is some specific purpose they are trying to get at with this, but that is cloaked and not remotely obvious from the way it is phrased.

Where is a colony on Mars when you need one? Sigh.

Scott Hanley said...

"Where is a colony on Mars when you need one?"

I don't think Dr. Manhattan wants company.

pfanderson said...

Dr Manhattan doesn't *need* company. Besides, I thought he was cosmically everywhere and everywhen anyway. But that is digressing. :)

The flip side of the dynamic between abridgement of rights and liberties is the cultural shift toward increased personal and professional transparency, in which case it becomes an question of what is all the fuss about anyway? No one has any secrets.

Have you read David Brin's book, The Transparent Society? One of my faves.