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skafather84
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26 Aug 2010, 1:54 pm

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It's okay for the government to plant a GPS tracker on the car parked in your driveway, tracking everywhere you go. It doesn't violate your rights, at all—according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers California, Arizona, Oregon and a bunch of the western US, has ruled that the government did nothing wrong when the DEA planted a GPS tracking device on Juan Pineda-Moreno's Jeep, which was parked in his driveway—without a search warrant. The underpinning for the ruling is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your driveway—unless you're loaded and it's kept safe, hidden from the outside world by gates or other security measures—and you have no reasonable expectation not to be tracked by the government.

It's the worst of all possible outcomes, our darkest nightmares about the increasingly mindful technology we put in our pockets come true—that technology being blithely turned against us by our government in a move that only be described as Orwellian, even if goes the writerly instinct to avoid cliches. Because it's not so much cliche as it is fact. That decision says it's okay for the government to track our movements, everywhere we go, without so much as a scratched slip of paper, eliding all of the protections that are supposedly in place to prevent that kind of thing from happening.

The 'slippery slope' is typically deployed as a trope to argue against men marrying men sliding into a world where udes do dogs, but it's not hard to see how if it's okay for the government to plant a GPS tracker on your vehicle in the night, without a warrant, it would suddenly be okay to flip the switch on your phone, tracking everywhere it went—after all, if Google can know where you're at, why can't the government?

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that ruled it was okay to search the contents of laptops without even a reasonable suspicion that you're doing something illegal, arguing they're just like any other dumb piece of luggage. Together these two rulings—along with every other boneheaded government utterance about technology, from copyright to broadband regulation—highlight the how desperately we need smarter, more considerate laws, rules and regulations when it comes to how the government can use technology for and against the people.

Otherwise we're screwed.



http://gizmodo.com/5622800/our-worst-ni ... -came-true


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IamTheWalrus
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26 Aug 2010, 1:58 pm

wow... scary stuff



visagrunt
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26 Aug 2010, 3:51 pm

I am of two minds on this issue.

On the one hand, a warrant should have been readily available to police to embark on this investigatory method. If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle or its owner are involved or will be involved in the commission of a crime I see no reason why they cannot present those grounds to a judge for the purpose of obtaining a warrant to clandestinely pursue the vehicle.

On the other hand, driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right--and it is a privilege which is exercised in the public domain. With this pivilege comes the obligation to display, unobscured, a license plate that uniquely identifies the vehicle. So, while you are on the road, any individual can see that your vehicle is in a particular location at a particular time.

So is the practice of attaching a GPS to the vehicle unreasonable? It is simplifying the accumulation of evidence that would be publicly available to the state in any event.

On balance, I don't think that the requirement to obtain a warrant is an onerous one. But that was not the question on which the court decided the matter.


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26 Aug 2010, 4:00 pm

Quote:
The 'slippery slope' is typically deployed as a trope to argue against men marrying men sliding into a world where udes do dogs, but it's not hard to see how if it's okay for the government to plant a GPS tracker on your vehicle in the night, without a warrant, it would suddenly be okay to flip the switch on your phone, tracking everywhere it went—after all, if Google can know where you're at, why can't the government?


http://www.news.com.au/technology/apple-traitorware-can-take-your-photo-and-shut-down-your-jailbroken-iphone-ipad/story-e6frfro0-1225909901032

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_laptops_spying_on_students

I wonder how many times a year the average person has their pictures taken without their knowledge by their own devices. If corporations can do it, then why not the government?



Craig28
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26 Aug 2010, 4:05 pm

So basically, all of your I Pods and Blackberry's may contain tracking devices. Street View has been charged with collecting data while it was driving around taking images for "web use" and HDTV's may have small hidden camera's looking into whatever room the TV may be sitting in, while Blu Ray machines can store data about a person's movie choices so as to detect certain personalities from what that particular person may be viewing.

Now, there is talk about a person's life being encoded onto a chip, which is placed in a person's arm. Failure to adhere to the dictatorship in power would mean that chip is shut off. That means no employment, mortgage, consumer power and everything else. Its basically cyber blackmail, adhere or else.



primaloath
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27 Aug 2010, 10:03 am

It's also frightening that CCTV cameras are already in place in the US and most of Europe, while the US has already implemented, and the EU is soon to implement, biometric ID cards with information stored on a centralized database. Recently, a council in the UK spent 30,000 pounds on a toy aircraft with infrared vision - which allows the council to spy on people during night-time and detect whether homes have recently been occupied.

Knowing what atrocities occurred in Eastern Europe and what atrocities are still occurring in China, then if the western world continues its advance towards totalitarianism, I can foresee nothing but the downfall of civilization.

Links to civil liberties groups trying to tackle surveillance would be most welcome in this thread, I think. Unfortunately, I can only mention no2id in the UK, which is quite tame.

http://www.no2id.net/



Cyanide
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27 Aug 2010, 2:36 pm

I remember here in Oregon a few years ago, our stupid governor wanted to get rid of the gas tax. Instead, he wanted to put satellite tracking boxes in everyone's car and tax us on how many miles we drove... Thankfully, that was met with such a major backlash, that it never even got close to being implemented.



Cyanide
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27 Aug 2010, 2:36 pm

-- Sorry, double post --



Craig28
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27 Aug 2010, 3:32 pm

primaloath wrote:
I can foresee nothing but the downfall of civilization.


Murders, rapes, mass looting, no government, police or army, no laws. Whatevers left will have to live in a wasteland, being hunted by wild animals and crazy hillbillies who shoot at everything that moves.



ruveyn
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27 Aug 2010, 3:38 pm

Craig28 wrote:
primaloath wrote:
I can foresee nothing but the downfall of civilization.


Murders, rapes, mass looting, no government, police or army, no laws. Whatevers left will have to live in a wasteland, being hunted by wild animals and crazy hillbillies who shoot at everything that moves.


Mankind has been going to hell in a handbasket for the last ten thousand years. Ten thousand years from now Man will still being going down the pipe and ten thousand years after that.

ruveyn



Dox47
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27 Aug 2010, 8:04 pm

visagrunt wrote:
On the one hand, a warrant should have been readily available to police to embark on this investigatory method. If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle or its owner are involved or will be involved in the commission of a crime I see no reason why they cannot present those grounds to a judge for the purpose of obtaining a warrant to clandestinely pursue the vehicle.


In the case under discussion, it seemed that the police had a "suspicion", but not enough evidence to support PC. Given that the world we live in is populated by liars, vengeful exes and others carrying petty grievances, it is only right that the police need more than a suspicion or a tip to begin an investigation. That, and whether or not they could have tried for a warrant, they chose not to and the court just said that is OK, which would seem to go against the American concept of private property at the very least.

visagrunt wrote:
On the other hand, driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right--and it is a privilege which is exercised in the public domain. With this pivilege comes the obligation to display, unobscured, a license plate that uniquely identifies the vehicle. So, while you are on the road, any individual can see that your vehicle is in a particular location at a particular time.


It's the difference between wearing a nametag and wearing a tracking collar, you see the difference? Additionally, the main issue here seems to have been the warrant-less trespass onto private property by police officers, and the court majority's biased application of the law, in effect stating that you only can expect privacy on your own property if you wall it off.

visagrunt wrote:
So is the practice of attaching a GPS to the vehicle unreasonable? It is simplifying the accumulation of evidence that would be publicly available to the state in any event.

On balance, I don't think that the requirement to obtain a warrant is an onerous one. But that was not the question on which the court decided the matter.


That raises an interesting dilemma and a concept called "practical obscurity", which the arch example of which is public documents that are in a folder somewhere in a physical location. For years the reams of information that the government kept on it's citizens wasn't that big of a deal, because so much of it was in filing cabinets in various departments, and someone trying to run it down had to physically go to the right building and know what to ask for. Now, with more and more public databases going on the internet, it's become disgustingly easy to track down all sorts of information on just about anyone, since all those databases and files are only a mouse click away. I find this troubling, and think that new safeguards are required to protect people's privacy from snoopers both public and private.

I feel that placing a GPS on a car without a warrant is akin to an unreasonable search and seizure, in this case the target's private business being the thing searched. Absent a strong enough suspicion to pass legal muster, the government and it's agencies do not have the right to know where their citizens spend their day.


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visagrunt
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28 Aug 2010, 12:03 am

I certainly agree with you about not only protection of information, but access to information as well.

Governments do a staggeringly effective job at depriving people of access to any but the information that the political leadership wants seen. There are a few "smoking gun" emails in this country from Ministers' political staff giving apparent instructions to the public service on access requests.


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28 Aug 2010, 12:05 pm

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The underpinning for the ruling is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your driveway ... and you have no reasonable expectation not to be tracked by the government.


I believe even the police are supposed to honor a "No Trespassing" sign unless they have a warrant, but there is little chance the city would allow one. In any case, the government ultimately "tracks us all" at gunpoint anyway.


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