Electronic Data and the Fourth Amendment

Most of the discussion recently, regarding the indiscriminate search and retention of individual’s data by the NSA and CIA, revolves around the argument that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment protection of property.

Rulings from the Supreme Court have modified with the times to include new technologies. First telegraph monitoring then electronic eavesdropping and now electronic communications and data storage.

The original intent of the protection of tangible property has evolved with technology to an expectation of privacy. Among many other Supreme Court cases, see Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364 (1968).

The Katz reasonable expectation of privacy rationale has now displaced property-ownership concepts which previously might have supported either standing to suppress or the establishment of an interest that has been invaded. Thus, it is no longer sufficient to allege possession or ownership of seized goods to establish the interest, if a justifiable expectation of privacy of the defendant was not violated in the seizure.

GPO – S. DOC. 103-6 – Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis, and Interpretation – 1992 ed., pp. 1269, 1270.

It is the violation of a right to privacy, as protected by the Fourth Amendment, that we struggle against. The Federal Government has the responsibility to protect this right. It has no justification to deny this right to any citizen of the United States. We, as sovereign citizens, have this right as this right is enshrined in the Constitution and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

It is every American’s responsibility to hold all of our governments accountable. The rights we have are the bulwark to prevent abuses of government that lead to tyrannical rule, the exact type of rule we revolted against.

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