"The pen register yields a list of numbers, and law enforcement agents routinely send that list to every carrier that might possibly provide service, demanding production of any records for any number that belongs to that carrier," Gidari testified. "Thus, a single pen register order can result in the disclosure of hundreds of individual customer phone records. Likewise, a single grand jury subpoena may list dozens of accounts for which subscriber information is sought. "
This kind of offensive nonsense is a probable-cause-justified investigation in the same way dropping a bomb-load from a B-52 into a pond is to fishing.
You will certainly kill some fish, but good luck finding anything worth keeping in the giant pile of slime that's left.
Plus, if anyone owned the pond, or even if the fish themselves had the right not to be randomly slaughtered, you probably violated that by atomizing them, their families, their whole environment and any other animals that depend on a pond to be anything but a deep hole with a bottom made of smoking mud.
"Your honor, I object to being strip-searched on the street for the crime of having annoyed someone"
The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday on just one narrow slice of this particular piece of rotten fish-scrap pie.
Civil libertarians are hoping its judgment will put limits on the government's ability to bug your ride and subpoena your phone records solely because a felon dialed you by mistake, or you inherited your digits from the pizza guy he used before doing a stretch in prison.
This is a Supreme Court that declared that corporations are people for the purposes of giving campaign donations.
It also decided, very specifically, that these giant, impersonal "people" – which are forced by rules of fiduciary responsibility to behave in ways we would consider psychotically selfish and exploitive if they actually were people – should not be limited in their ability to bribe lawmakers with huge campaign contributions to pass laws that favor corporations at the expense of the humans lawmakers are elected to represent.
So there's a good chance the Court will decide it's just fine if the Law secretly keeps track of your location, whether they use a GPS bug or your phone records to do it.