GANG STALKERS DOWN: U.S. COURT REJECTS WARRANTLESS GPS TRACKING
• Electronic backbone of covert fusion center coordinated nationwide community "gangstalking" network -- warrantless GPS tracking data fed by federally-funded law enforcement agencies such as RISSNET to local police and community "policing" vigilante patrol squads -- declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Aug. 6, 2010.
• NowPublic "Get Political" columnist Vic Livingston:
"Now we, the victims of the American Gestapo, finally have a firm legal basis for a class action lawsuit intended to take down the entire fusion center network and its blatantly unconstitutional and inhumane programs of extrajudicial targeting, financial sabotage, electromagnetic torture, and community-based 'gang-stalking' domestic terrorism."
Livingston notes that Friday's decision is not the definitive word on extended warrantless GPS tracking; The D.C. appeals court ruling is binding only in the capital district. By tradition, that federal appeals court has been granted the responsibility to review decisions and rulemakings of federal agencies, giving its appellate rulings added weight among jurists.
But, other circuit courts have ruled in favor of warrantless GPS tracking, including the Ninth, which covers several Western states, and the Seventh District, covering Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
While the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the issue, that would depend on whether the U.S. government decides to appeal Friday's D.C. District ruling. It is not clear whether the government will seek to overturn the lower court's decision, since a defeat in the Supreme Court would affect the entire country and thus effectively exclude warrantless GPS surveillance from law enforcement's electronic toolbox.
The details, from the parties who challenged warrantless GPS tracking, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union:
Court Rejects Warrantless GPS Tracking
EFF-ACLU Arguments Against Always-On Surveillance Win The Day
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today firmly rejected government claims that federal agents have an unfettered right to install Global Positioning System (GPS) location-tracking devices on anyone's car without a search warrant.
In United States v. Maynard, FBI agents planted a GPS device on a car while it was on private property and then used it to track the position of the automobile every ten seconds for a full month, all without securing a search warrant. In an amicus brief filed in the case, EFF and the ACLU of the Nation's Capital argued that unsupervised use of such tactics would open the door for police to abuse their power and continuously track anyone's physical location for any reason, without ever having to go to a judge to prove the surveillance is justified.
The court agreed that such round-the-clock surveillance required a search warrant based on probable cause. The court expressly rejected the government's argument that such extended, 24-hours-per-day surveillance without warrants was constitutional based on previous rulings about limited, point-to-point surveillance of public activities using radio-based tracking beepers. Recognizing that the Supreme Court had never considered location tracking of such length and scope, the court noted: "When it comes to privacy...the whole may be more revealing than its parts."
The court continued: "It is one thing for a passerby to observe or even to follow someone during a single journey as he goes to the market or returns home from work. It is another thing entirely for that stranger to pick up the scent again the next day and the day after that, week in and week out, dogging his prey until he has identified all the places, people, amusements, and chores that make up that person's hitherto private routine."
"The court correctly recognized the important differences between limited surveillance of public activities possible through visual surveillance or traditional 'bumper beepers,' and the sort of extended, invasive, pervasive, always-on tracking that GPS devices allow," said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. "This same logic applies in cases of cell phone tracking, and we hope that this decision will be followed by courts that are currently grappling with the question of whether the government must obtain a warrant before using your cell phone as a tracking device."
"GPS tracking enables the police to know when you visit your doctor, your lawyer, your church, or your lover," said Arthur Spitzer, Legal Director of the ACLU-NCA. "And if many people are tracked, GPS data will show when and where they cross paths. Judicial supervision of this powerful technology is essential if we are to preserve individual liberty. Today's decision helps brings the Fourth Amendment into the 21st Century."
Attorneys Daniel Prywes and Kip Wainscott of Bryan Cave LLP also volunteered their services to assist in preparing the EFF-ACLU brief.
For the full opinion:
For more information on the case, formerly known as U.S. v. Jones:
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
VIC LIVINGSTON'S EXPOSES OF FUSION CENTER EXTRA-LEGAL TORTURE AND GOV'T-ENABLED GANG STALKING AND DOMESTIC TERRORISM:
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