Your home is the state’s fishbowl

August 30, 2010

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government may, without a warrant and without your knowledge, plant a tracking device on your car as it sits in your driveway and then use it to survey you indefinitely from that point onward. As Time Magazine reports, the court found no reasonable expectation of privacy in the “curtilage,” or immediate environs surrounding a person’s home.

This would only apply, they found, if the area is surrounded by a locked privacy fence. If the postman can get to it, they ruled, the feds can put a GPS unit there and use it to watch you. Presumably cameras and microphones would be acceptable as well. Only those who can afford elaborate security measures have the right to be secure from warrantless search and seizure, as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski dissented with the following words:

“1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last … Some day soon, we may wake up and fine we’re living in Oceania.”

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