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Tracking of Americans Without a Warrant: Change You Can Believe In?

When he was campaigning for President, Barack Obama promised me Change I could believe in.

The Obama Administration is proclaiming that it has the right to track Americans’ whereabouts without needing a 4th Amendment warrant to establish probable cause that those Americans are up to something, anything wrong. Barack Obama wants his government to keep tabs on the location of innocent Americans.

Is that Change? Is it Change You Can Believe In?

8 comments to Tracking of Americans Without a Warrant: Change You Can Believe In?

  • Getting rid of my cell phone is change I can believe in. I don’t care who feels the need to get in touch with me wherever I may roam. It’s not important enough to put up with the surveillance state.

  • Luke

    With regards to the following quote: “The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, could be the first federal appeals court to rule on what legal standard should apply to government requests for locational information. Because of the particular facts of this appeal, the court may do so on narrow statutory grounds.”

    doesn’t this mean that if it is being appealed now that it was first tried earlier? Do we know when, and which attorney general it was under? Are you linking this to the Obama administration because of the Attorney General he appointed? I also think that not all of these things come anywhere near the attention of the president; but I don’t know how that all works. And if they are ruling on narrow, statutory grounds, would we not have to know what the arguements were before we assumed that this was a general broadening of unwarranted search authority?

    • Jim

      Good questions. Here’s another story with more information for you:


      * In this case, the government originally was denied authority to track Americans’ location without a warrant using cell phones in 2008. That denial of authority was upheld by a district court.

      * The Obama Administration made the affirmative decision to appeal that decision, and to assert that it should have such authority.

      So yes, the Obama Administration under Barack Obama is doing exactly what I said it was doing. Let’s not make the excuse that maybe, hypothetically, Barack Obama doesn’t know what his own administration is doing. He’s the chief executive, and it’s his job to appoint people who have respect for the 4th Amendment. If as president he doesn’t know that it’s on his administration’s agenda to track Americans’ whereabouts without probable cause that they’re up to something, then he’s pathologically uninformed. If he does know, he ought to know better.

  • Tom

    Luke – all these questions you ask refer to a time when we actually had RIGHTS based on a now “quaint” document called the Constitution, which has become passe and ignored for the purpose of establishing a police state.

    Anyone who objects to the new way of controlling the population is somehow subversive and a threat of some kind. Simply writing this, i’m probably on some NSA watchlist with millions of other people who don’t like the way things are going. Anyone who thinks America stands for FREEDOM is naive and hasn’t looked into the past 10 years of quiet, often secret, changes that have occurred.

  • Jim

    Want to read more? Here’s the original judge’s order denying the goverment’s attempt to track Americans’ location without a warrant, and here’s a brief to the court by the ACLU and EFF.

  • ramone

    i guess this comes under the category of “change i can believe”, not “change i can believe in”.

  • Luke

    Thank you for the Reuters article, I had not seen that. I see what you mean; and I intend to look into the Center for Democracy and Technology.

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