This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie
According to a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in order to Make Sure that criminals get no location privacy, the 6th Circuit federal court kills it for everyone else too.
As part of an ongoing investigation into a drug trafficking organization, DEA agents obtained approval from a federal magistrate judge to access the “subscriber information, cell site information, GPS real-time location, and ‘ping’ data” from a pre-paid wireless phone through the use of an admininstrative order (PDF) issued under the Stored Communications Act, which does not require “probable cause” like a search warrant. On appeal the defendant Melvin Skinner, argued that the three day warrantless cell phone tracking violated the Fourth Amendment, but the Sixth Circuit disagreed.
In what can only be described as a results-oriented opinion, the court found Skinner had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the cell phone location data because “if a tool used to transport contraband gives off a signal that can be tracked for location, certainly the police can track the signal.” Otherwise, “technology would help criminals but not the police.” In other words, because cell phones can be used to commit crimes, there can’t be any Fourth Amendment privacy rights in them. If this sounds like an over-simplistic description of the legal reasoning in an opinion we disagree with, the sad reality is that the court’s conclusion really did boil down to this shallow understanding of the law.
Somehow, the Sixth Circuit lost sight of the fact that its attempt to ensure criminals cannot “use modern technological devices to carry out criminal acts” means that innocent people will have to lose their privacy rights. Judge Berzon of the Ninth Circuit recently noted a fear that “understandable abhorrence” of child pornography crimes “can infect judicial judgment” and lead to incorrect legal results that erode constitutional protections against intrusive computer searches for everyone. This fear is even greater when the issue before a court is the scope of privacy protections for a cell phone, a device carried by far more innocent people than criminals. Judge Berzon wrote judges must “remember that the protections of the Fourth Amendment do not depend on the nature of the suspected criminal activity, any more than they do on the race or gender of the suspect.”
According to a report from Joel Poindexter, a confederacy of professional sports leagues and the NCAA have filed suit against New Jersey, in attempt to prevent the people of the state from gambling there legally.
According to Poindexter, this is a clear example of a concept that Frédéric Bastiat described in The Law, in which one group engineers the legal code for its own benefit.
While the federal government claims the power to ban such activities, is the issued settled? As Poindexter puts it – Settled? No, far from it, at least as long as the pols in New Jersey, namely Chris Christie, hold fast on their challenge that “if someone wants to stop us, let them try to stop us.”
And regardless of the official outcome of the case, the NFL possibly will be surprised to learn that, yes, illegal gambling happens. In New Jersey. And pretty much everywhere else.
A short update on efforts to resist NDAA kidnapping powers. This coming Thursday in Los Angeles, a coalition meeting is being held by major groups across the political spectrum. The goal? To press the Los Angeles city council – and county board of commissioners – along with other local area councils – to pass a version of the Liberty Preservation Act rejecting such federal power grabs. If the potential coalition does in fact coalesce after the meeting it would have the potential of acting as a role model for other areas of the country too. The concept? When groups who are generally polar opposites see something of such grave danger, they can set aside differences to work together for common cause – liberty.
And finally, this past Saturday August 18th, a group of mothers and others, members of the advocacy groups, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders and Lemonade Freedom Day, took their raw milk and lemonade to the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to celebrate their right to “voluntary exchange.
By offering raw milk and lemonade for sale or barter, which is illegal in many places, including Washington DC, these mothers and other activists risk criminal charges, and possibly jail. Last August, in a similar protest, three people were arrested for selling 10-cent cups of lemonade.
“The law has turned ordinary people into criminals for engaging in normal human behavior,” said Liz Reitzig, one of the event’s organizers. “I am proud to stand with others as we peacefully do not comply with these laws.”
National Lemonade Freedom Day founder, Robert Fernandes, began his annual event after seeing news reports about children’s lemonade stands being shut down because they did not comply with regulations.
“The government has overstepped its boundaries by trying to regulate kids’ lemonade stands and farmers who are feeding their communities. We have the right to engage in voluntary exchange and peacefully obtain the food of our choice from the producer of our choice whether that’s raw milk from a local farmer or lemonade from the children next door without input from regulators.”
A full report of the event is forthcoming this Wednesday night on Tenther Radio – when we interview event organizer, Eddie Free. Tune in at 9pm eastern and 6pm Pacific on naturalnewsradio.com or radio.tenthamendmentcenter.com
10 for 10: Tenther News is a weekly video report on the top 10th Amendment news around the country. Get 10 minutes (or so) on the 10th, from the Tenth Amendment Center. Live at 10:10 AM (Pacific Time) every Monday at www.youtube.com/tenthamendmentcenter.
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