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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/16/10

Chief Judge of 9th Circuit: "1984 here at last," especially for poor

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The Supreme Court in Knotts expressly left open whether "twenty-four hour surveillance of any citizen of this country" by means of "dragnet-type law enforcement practices" violates the Fourth Amendment's guarantee of personal privacy. When requests for cell phone location information have become so numerous that the telephone company must develop a self-service website so that law enforcement agents can retrieve user data from the comfort of their desks, we can safely say that "such dragnet-type law enforcement practices" are already in use. This is precisely the wrong time for a court covering one-fifth of the country's population to say that the Fourth Amendment has no role to play in mediating the voracious appetites of law enforcement.

Kozinski concludes with memorable rage:

I don't think that most people in the United States would agree with the panel that someone who leaves his car parked in his driveway outside the door of his home invites people to crawl under it and attach a device that will track the vehicle's every movement and transmit that information to total strangers. There is something creepy and un-American about such clandestine and underhanded behavior. To those of us who have lived under a totalitarian regime, there is an eerie feeling of de'jà vu. This case, if any, deserves the comprehensive, mature and diverse consideration that an en banc panel can provide. We are taking a giant leap into the unknown, and the consequences for ourselves and our children may be dire and irreversible. Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania.

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Adam Bessie is an assistant professor of English at Diablo Valley College, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a co-wrote a chapter in the 2011 edition of Project Censored on metaphor and political language, and is a frequent contributor to (more...)
 
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