would consider the Constitution is one of the finest achievements by
the U.S. people and has viewed as a paradigm internationally.
However, in an age of technological revolution, members of U.S.
local, state, and national level -- on both sides of the aisle -- are
increasingly viewing some of the Constitution's guaranteed rights as
inappropriate or at least subject to review.Among them is the
Fourth Amendment, part of the original Bill of Rights.
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the
place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
some developments such warrantless
wiretaps or police
arrests of people who photograph them have ruffled feathers in
the past, a new legal precedent is raising more than a few
eyebrows.Under the laws of California and eight other Western
states, state, local, or federal agents can sneak onto your property
without a warrant, plant a GPS tracking device on your vehicle and
monitor your movements 24-7 -- without
a warrant.The ruling has already been upheld
at the federal level via a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit decision.The case came before the court via the Drug
Enforcement Administration's (DEA) 2007 arrest of Juan Pineda-Moreno,
an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana in
California. At night, federal agents snuck on his property
without warrants and planted a GPS tracking device on his Jeep.
The data collected later lead to his arrest and prosecution.Mr.
Pineda-Moreno's appeal to the federal court fell on deaf ears.
The judges who made the ruling told him that his private property
(his driveway) was not applicable to Fourth Amendment protections as
it was open to strangers, such as delivery people and neighborhood
children, who could wander across it uninvited.Two separate
panels of judges on the circuit upheld the decision. Eventually
the Supreme Court will likely be forced to review this ruling.Chief
Judge Alex Kozinski, who delivered a dissenting opinion on the Ninth
Circuit's decision, says that the result of the current law is to
essentially equate justice to the amount of money you have. He
points out that the rich can afford electric gates, fences and
security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their
homes -- which allow your property to qualify for the states'
creative reinterpretation of Fourth Amendment protections.Judge
Kozinski remarks, "1984 may have come a bit later than
predicted, but it's here at last. Some day, soon, we may wake
up and find we're living in Oceania."