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Police Can Now See Through Walls…Without Getting A Warrant

Technology is a wonderful thing.  It has made us able to disseminate information around the world in milliseconds, it allows travel in hours what used to take months, it extends our life expectancy and it heals wounds that would have been fatal before.

So yes.  Technology is a wonderful thing…BUT there IS a trade off.

That trade off comes with the loss of privacy and the erosion of rights.

For each and every bit of ourselves that we submit to the digital age we lose an equal measure of privacy.  Over the years it has become such a common practice that we don’t even realize we are doing it anymore.  That leaves us conditioned to let things continue to slide and for the government to erode our rights.

Gun Rights are no exception.  Every time we submit to a background check, ask the government for a concealed carry permit, have to register our firearms in the few states that demand it, our right to keep and bear arms is chipped away at.

But the 2nd Amendment is not the only right under attack because of technology.  Almost as important is the nigh constant onslaught to our Fourth Amendment rights, that we have ceded so much would shock people from a generation or two ago, let alone our Founders.

For instance, look at the Civil Asset  Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 that seizes a persons bank accounts without reasonable suspicion after being looked at electronically without a warrant.

A circuit court judge ruled that a person can be forced by authorities to unlock biometric scans against their will.

And do we really need to go into the NSA and their email snooping activities?  No warrants there too.

Now, while we have grown more and more numb to the ever present privacy violations with our electronic communications we still could feel safe and secure in the privacy of our own homes.  That may no longer be the case.

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies quietly deployed radars that let them effectively see inside homes, with little notice to the courts or the public.

These agencies include the FBI and the US Marshalls service and they have been using these devices for more than 2 years.

While currently the technology falls short of getting clear images of people inside of there homes that you would get from a video camera the technology isn’t that far away.  One needs only look at the technology of the TSA’s full body scanners that can give a pretty good rendition of what a person looks like.  A few small advances and tweaks to the tech and you can have voyuers with badges getting their jollies off by just seeing what everyone on the block is doing.

Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist has this to say:

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic. Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

The use of the this equipment came to the awareness of the public only recently due to a court case.

A federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

What this also shows is that our local police forces are once again being militarized against the civilian populace.

The radars were first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it.

So the question becomes, if a person cannot be safe from government intrusion even within the walls of their own home…does privacy even exist anymore or has technology killed it in America?

 

 

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