Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama Admin Wants to Track Your Cell Phones

If you are like me, you use your cell phone a lot. In fact, many people have gone the route of only using a cell phone and not having a home phone any longer. Well from the president who campaigned against warrentless wiretapping comes this little nugget.

According to this article in CNET the Obama administration wants to start using your cellular providers records to track movements. The kicker is they want to do this without a warrant. According to the Obama administration,
….the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.

It is true that candidate Obama campaigned against warrantless wiretaps. In fact, he made several statements chastising Bush for allowing this. Including this statement during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
“For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and wiretaps without warrants,”

That was 2008, in 2009 Obama quietly changed course and agreed with the Bush policy. In fact, based upon this Wall Street Journal article, he has adopted a legal stance that is equal to if not more aggressive than Bush’s.

So, what is the big deal you may be asking yourself? Honestly, I was thinking the same thing but the longer I thought about it, the more uneasy I felt. I am not an extreme nut that thinks the government is spying on all citizens nor do I wear a tin foil hat to keep aliens from monitoring my thoughts. That said, this troubled me in that the government is promoting warrantless cell phone tracking not for the specific purpose of national security, but instead day to day criminal investigations. This could be problematic at best as there is no clear delineation as to where a line could be crossed. In regards to national security, the government does not need this as they should be covered under the NSA terrorist surveillance program.

Maybe it is because this could be such a slippery slope. What’s next, going to Internet providers and demanding website traffic tracking? And where is the outcry from the far left. Other than the ACLU, I have not hear anyone complaining about the imperialistic nature of the Obama administration as they did with Bush.

What do you think? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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