After dismissing 4th Amendment for FBI, court slams Google for tapping open WiFi

Google may face prosecution for mote in eye while feds are applauded for beam in their own

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The constitutional system of case law and precedent applies rulings on rights universally. So, legally, if a black man in a poor neighborhood can be stopped and frisked with minimal reason, so can a white woman in a rich neighborhood — even if the police tactics differ," Shipley wrote.

"A similar process is taking place now, as the F.B.I. has begun using counterterrorism tools to search, infiltrate and investigate groups of American peace activists and labor leaders in the Midwest.

"The Fourth Amendment is weaker than it was 50 years ago, and this should worry everyone. “Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government,” Justice Robert H. Jackson, the former chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, wrote in 1949."

It's morally offensive to allow gross violations of the Fourth Amendment to law enforcers investigating foreigners, minorities and people who are more counterculture than Contra, without the need to justify their actions.

Excusing it while deciding to punish Google for offenses that don't begin to compare with those of the FBI is a gross logical contradiction as well.

I agree the courts shouldn't stand idly by while Google scoops up bits of our personal data off the street and spirits it off into a meta-universal database to be analyzed for its profit and our loss.

I don't agree that the police should be allowed to strip search our digital selves, our physical selves and demand the right to know every move we make and every word we speak simply because we don't speak loudly enough against the law-enforcement hobby-horse obsession of the moment.

Sixty years ago you could become unemployable for having spoken approvingly of socialism while drunk in college; 40 years ago you could be investigated and harassed for wearing your hair long and belonging to a liberal fringe party.

Ten years ago you could be investigated, arrested and imprisoned indefinitely for no reason other than that someone accused you, with no other evidence, of being an Al Queda sympathizer.

Today, a federal court has ruled you can be prosecuted under federal wiretapping laws if your laptop picks up someone else's unencrypted wireless signal as you drive down the street.

But to gather evidence for that prosecution, federal agents are allowed to violate every right written in to the Constitution by founding fathers who were not conservative-political beatic figures. They were bitter victims of a system that allowed law enforcers to violate the law in order to enforce it.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights they agreed on wasn't a holy document to be worshipped in theory and ignored in practice.

Photo Credit: 

John Snyder/Wired.com

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