January 25, 2012
By a surprisingly unanimous vote, the Supreme Court this week ruled that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a tracking device to a car or other vehicle. The decision is a welcome affirmation of the constitutional right to privacy in an era of advanced technology. But the majority opinion's rationale was needlessly narrow. Whether there is a broad right to freedom from new kinds of intrusive electronic surveillance remains to be answered. The case involved the conviction of Antoine Jones, a suspected drug dealer in the District of Columbia who was arrested after being monitored for 28 days by a global positioning system device surreptitiously attached to his Jeep by law enforcement agents without a warrant.
October 30, 2004
Re "Chief Justice Has Thyroid Cancer," Oct. 26: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist gave us a gift. It sounds as though he will recover speedily and well, but his sudden illness brought to the forefront the pressing issue of judicial appointments that may occur during the next presidency -- appointments that could change the rights of Americans long into the future. There are seemingly many Americans, and reportedly most of them are women, who are still undecided as to how they will vote in this election.
June 9, 2013
Re "Feds tracking all U.S. calls," June 7 In her defense of the government's collection of data from nearly every phone call in the U.S., Senate Intelligence Committee head Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "It's called protecting America. " I have always believed that the foremost duty of elected officials is to support and defend the Constitution. In this instance, the rights that need protection are guaranteed by the 4th Amendment: "The 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.
January 26, 2014 |
President Obama's recent speech on government surveillance is dominating the conversation, but he won't be making the key decisions on the future of the National Security Agency's collection of domestic phone data. The statutory provision authorizing these massive sweeps expires June 1, 2015. If Congress simply does nothing, the NSA's domestic spying program will soon come to a screeching halt. The question is whether Americans will seize this opportunity to gain critical perspective on the crisis responses of the George W. Bush years.
October 2, 2011
In the term that begins Monday, the Supreme Court will address issues as diverse as the limits of copyright law, the appeals process for owners of wetlands regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and whether the government of California can order reductions in Medi-Cal reimbursements. It is also likely that the court will rule on challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derided by its critics as "Obamacare. " As is often the case, however, some of the most important cases on the court's docket involve individual rights.
April 9, 2009 |
John Yoo is a professor of law at UC Berkeley. This semester, he is my colleague -- as a visiting professor -- at Chapman University's School of Law. Yoo is also under investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general for his role in producing a number of controversial memorandums during his service in the department during the Bush administration. The memos include one stating that the president may authorize the torture of suspected terrorists. I am a former federal prosecutor.
November 17, 2009
A man's home may be his castle, but few of us -- even celebrities -- have moats these days to protect our privacy. That was true long before the "bling ring" allegedly used the Internet to case the cribs of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Nor did thieves have to wait for the invention of Google maps to reconnoiter neighborhoods in search of easily accessible homes. That's worth remembering if, as we fear, some legislator decides that a law should be passed to prevent Internet surfers from looking at houses they easily could scope out from the sidewalk.
May 21, 2006
Re "Forget privacy: We need to spy more," Opinion, May 17 Fair enough; Let's start with Max Boot. In his next column, Boot should publish his home address, phone number, private e-mail address, Social Security number, driver's license number and some of his credit card numbers. My guess is that he won't do it. It's easy to say we need more spying until you realize that they're getting information on you and that information can be used or sold to your detriment. As a proud American, I will not support the abandonment of the 4th Amendment, but if Boot wants to, why doesn't he start by publishing his private information?
December 30, 2012
If a law enforcement agency wants to examine your snail mail or the contents of your computer hard drive, it must obtain a search warrant, which means it must convince a judge that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed. But no warrant is required to obtain email or documents you have stored in a computer "cloud" so long as they are 180 days old. That would have changed under legislation recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee at the behest of its chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)