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Fourth Amendment

I Have Nothing to Hide: Government Surveillance Does Not Concern Me

National Council of La Raza | Posted 04.09.2014 | Latino Voices
National Council of La Raza

By Irasema Garza, J.D., Policy Advisor, NCLR Policy Analysis Center The old adage that nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes is no lo...

Teach Law Outside of Law Schools

Michael Shammas | Posted 04.04.2014 | College
Michael Shammas

What if I told you that the most pertinent social science subject -- one that affects every single one of us every single day -- is taught to only a select few? That would be absurd, right? Well, unfortunately this is no fiction. It is the state of legal knowledge in America, and it is profoundly troubling.

'Just Salute and Follow Orders': When Secrecy and Surveillance Trump the Rule of Law

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.01.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Unfortunately, with so much of the public attention focused on the NSA's misdeeds, there is a tendency to forget that the NSA is merely one of a growing number of clandestine intelligence agencies tasked with spying on the American people.

Dissecting Obama's Proposed NSA Reforms

Peter Van Buren | Posted 03.28.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

The reforms, even if enacted exactly as proposed or even slightly strengthened, only alter the security state in some minor and superficial ways. Our Fourth Amendment rights against unwarranted search and seizure remain jackbooted.

The Snowden Effect: A Web of Conflict

Brandi Andres | Posted 03.24.2014 | Technology
Brandi Andres

Should we punish whistleblowers when their best efforts are directed toward ensuring that our own government acts within the Constitution? Must we sacrifice liberty for safety? These questions lie at the heart of the argument at the center of the web.

Open Diplomacy, Wartime, and the Modern Surveillance State

Christopher McKnight Nichols | Posted 03.24.2014 | Politics
Christopher McKnight Nichols

The amorphous nature of wars since at least the dawn of the Cold War in the mid-1940s has meant that the U.S. has more or less been at war for generations. This, in turn, has precipitated the ever-burgeoning war-industrial-intelligence complex.

We Need a 'Do Not Track' List

Chris Weigant | Posted 03.12.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Americans are now being tracked as they've never been tracked before. What is normal and accepted these days sounds like a tinfoil-hatted paranoiac's delusion from just a few decades ago, in fact.

The Feinstein Syndrome: 'The Fourth Amendment for Me, But Not for Thee'

Norman Solomon | Posted 03.12.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

Soon we might see headlines asking: "Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?" It may already be a fact that Feinstein's speech yesterday blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.

Lights, Camera, Arrested: Americans Are Being Thrown in Jail for Filming Police

John W. Whitehead | Posted 03.10.2014 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

Once again, the U.S. government is attempting to police the world when it should be policing its own law enforcement agencies.

SCOTUS Seeks to Avoid Overly Burdening Police, Roommates With Warrant Requirements

Andrew Woodman | Posted 02.26.2014 | Politics
Andrew Woodman

The problem is that the Court sees a warrant as a burden to the police rather than as a protection to the defendant. Civil liberties are about protecting the accused from an overbearing and significantly more powerful police force. So what does this mean?

Vigilantes With a Badge: The War Against the American People

John W. Whitehead | Posted 02.26.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist.

Putting Big Brother in the Driver's Seat: V2V Transmitters, Black Boxes and Drones

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.12.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Time to buckle up your seatbelts, folks. You're in for a bumpy ride. We're hurtling down a one-way road toward the Police State at mind-boggling spe...

Mayors Think They Can Avoid Disclosure Rules By Using Private Email Accounts for Government Business

Peter Scheer | Posted 04.13.2014 | Los Angeles
Peter Scheer

The public has lost patience with elected representatives who game the legal rules to avoid disclosure of information to which the public is entitled. We'll soon find out if the judiciary also has lost patience.

The State of Our Nation: the Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.08.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

Cut Off the NSA's Juice

Norman Solomon | Posted 03.29.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

The NSA depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA's top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice is essential -- and any interference with that flow is unthinkable. But interference isn't unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Proposed Surveillance Reforms Insufficient, Another Finding NSA Program Is Illegal

Edward J. Black | Posted 03.26.2014 | Technology
Edward J. Black

The President showed an understanding of the problems created by surveillance, but bolder leadership and strong action are required. We have no doubt those assigned to protect U.S. security want more information to do their job better, but that insatiable zeal for more information is where we get into trouble.

Why We Should Care About the NSA Reforms

Nafees Syed | Posted 03.26.2014 | Politics
Nafees Syed

Given on the Friday before the holiday weekend, Obama's speech on NSA reforms left the limelight pretty quickly. But Americans should be concerned that the reforms might leave us worse off than before, and that some of our key questions on the surveillance remain unanswered.

Time for an International Convention on Government Access to Data

Brad Smith | Posted 03.24.2014 | Impact
Brad Smith

We need an international legal framework -- an international convention -- to create surveillance and data-access rules across borders.

Obama's NSA Speech: Pretty Words, No Real Change

Peter Van Buren | Posted 03.23.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

The details of Obama's most recent speech about "changes" to the NSA's surveillance practices reveal that sadly little of substance will change.

NSA Metadata Collection: Fourth Amendment Violation

Marjorie Cohn | Posted 03.18.2014 | Politics
Marjorie Cohn

Whereas Leon's detailed analysis demonstrated how Jones leads to the result that the NSA program probably violates the Fourth Amendment, Pauley failed to meaningfully distinguish Jones from the NSA case, merely noting that the Jones court did not overrule Smith.

The NSA's Telephone Metadata Program Is Unconstitutional

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.11.2014 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

In my judgment the existing program is unconstitutional. As currently structured, it violates the Fourth Amendment's requirement of "reasonableness." On the other hand, it should be possible for the government to correct the deficiencies in the program in a manner that both preserves its legitimate value and substantially mitigates the risks to privacy that it currently poses.

Life in the Emerging American Police State: What's in Store for Our Freedoms in 2014?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 03.08.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

In Harold Ramis' classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over ag...

Is the NSA's Bulk Telephony Meta-Data Program Constitutional: PART II

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.08.2014 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

We do not hesitate to make phone calls because of the infinitesimal risk that the government might be using a pen register to track our calls. Modern technology has changed this completely. Today, the government can collect and store data on all of our telephone calls.

Is the NSA's Bulk Telephony Metadata Program Constitutional?

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.05.2014 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

The central question posed by the bulk telephony meta-data program is this: Is the government's collection of an individual's telephone call records from the individual's telephone service provider a "search" of that individual within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment?

The NSA's Telephone Meta-Data Program: Part III

Geoffrey R. Stone | Posted 03.02.2014 | Politics
Geoffrey R. Stone

The Intelligence Community needs to win back the trust of the American people. It can do that, not by being defensive, but by acknowledging that periodic review, reexamination and recalibration are healthy and constructive in a self-governing society, and by bending over backwards to embrace reforms that will help restore the public's trust.