The U.S. Supreme Court has said, by its decision not to take up the argument, that it’s fine for police departments to mount multiple cameras to spy on a private citizens for more than a year – without a warrant.
That word comes from the Rutherford Institute, which had sounded off with the high court on the case Travis Tuggle v. U.S. The high court declined to take up the issue, leaving a lower court’s ruling that the police actions were fine standing.
“Unfortunately, we are steadily approaching a future where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of “Battlefield America: The War on the American People.” “As the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recognized, ‘Foreseeable expansion in technological capabilities and the pervasive use of ever-watching surveillance will reduce Americans’ anonymity, transforming what once seemed like science fiction into fact.’”
The non-decision by the Supreme Court let stand a ruling from a lower court that found there was no “search” in violation of the Fourth Amendment when police posted multiple hidden cameras to have extended, round-the-clock access to details about the private actions at the property in question.
The Rutherford Institute and the Cato Institute had filed an amicus brief in the case suggesting that without adequate safeguards in place, there would be no turning back from the kinds of intrusions “posed by such expansive, ever-watching surveillance technology capable of revealing intimate details of a person’s life.”
Jim Harper with TechLaw at the University of Arizona College of Law assisted The Rutherford Institute and the Cato Institute in advancing the Fourth Amendment privacy arguments in Tuggle.
The case developed as police in Illinois worked on a drug trafficking crackdown.
Their “Operation Frozen Tundra,” had police officers post three hidden surveillance cameras on poles facing Tuggle’s home starting in August 2014.
The suspect lived in a residential neighborhood with lightly traveled roads, which made physical surveillance difficult for officers. But, the report explained, the agents used live feeds from the three video cameras to monitor Tuggle’s activities and visitors in his yard and driveway, and stored the data on a server at the FBI’s office.
The cameras were equipped to be able to record at night, and could pan, zoom and tilt to take aim at whatever law enforcement agents wanted to see.
From the time of installing the first camera, agents surveilled Tuggle’s residence around the clock for over a year and a half without ever obtaining a search warrant to do so,” the institute reported.
While Tuggle eventually was charged and convicted on charges, he contested the validity of the warrantless video-surveillance as a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
The district court and 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came down on the side of the officers’ spying.
However, that opinion did warn about creating a “constellation of ubiquitous public and private cameras accessible to the government that catalog the movements and activities of all Americans.”
The Supreme Court simply decided not to consider the case.
One Sick Day Proves We Need More Voices in Truthful Media
On October 19, I was sick. It crossed my mind that I had finally gotten the ‘rona, but my wife’s cream of chicken soup and a few extra hours of sleep into mid-afternoon had be back up and running after a sleepless night before.
When I finally stumbled over to my computer in the evening, I was met with a deluge of concern from readers. They asked what had happened as only one article had been posted that day. Generally, we post between 10-20 daily between all of the sites, not included curated and aggregated content. Seeing that we’d only posted my super-early morning article before taking the rest of the day off had readers assuming the worst.
We have a wonderful and talented group of writers who volunteer their time for the sites and their readers. Sharing their amazing perspectives has always been a blessing to us because we cannot afford to hire anyone at this time. But having great writers is meaningless if we don’t have great editors, or at least one additional. My wife helps me read and edit stories from time to time, but I’m a one-man show when it comes to getting the stories posted.
Whenever I highlight our desperate need for donations, I note that we do not receive money from Google ads even though most in conservative media are beholden. I often ambiguously note that the money donated will help us grow. Today, I’m highlighting a specific need. We must get an editor to help take some of the load and to expand on our mission of spreading the truth to the world. One sick day proved that.
The great news is that there is no shortage of people who CAN help. I am emailed variations of resumes every week by people who are much smarter than I am. As much as I’d love to hire some of them, we simply cannot. That takes money and as blessed as we’ve been to receive donations and collect ad money (though not from Google or Facebook), we have still fallen short.
Those who have the means, PLEASE consider donating. We have the standard Giving Fuel option and people can donate through PayPal. We are also diving into what we believe is extremely disruptive technology at LetsGo.finance, the world’s first major donation portal for crypto. I’ll be talking a lot more about them in the near future. Those who prefer Bitcoin can send to my address here: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
We can get the voices out there and we’re willing to shine a spotlight on new talent. We just need the resources to make it happen. If you can help, we would be extremely grateful.
Thank you and God bless!
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