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View Diary: Warrantless Searches of Muslim Sites, Whistleblowers Threatened With Firing (203 comments)

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  •  It Amazes Me.... (none)
    ...how many people do not know their own rights.

    [Sigh.]

    The Fourth Amendment (we fought a Revolution that allowed us to write down this right) prevents the State from entering private property to conduct a search without either obtaining permission from the property owner or a court approved warrant.

    Nice and simple.  Keeps people like Dick Cheney from walking the front door while you are watching "Arrested Devlopment" naked on a hot summer night just to make sure you aren't saying mean things about him.

    •  Wrong (none)
      The Fourth Amendement has never been found to apply to searches in "open fields," even if they're private property.
      •  This is not an open fields search (none)
        The US News article clearly notes that detectors were going into parking lots and onto private driveways.  Those are not open fields.  Open fields exceptions apply to when, say, an officer is flying overhead and sees a bunch of pot plants growing in a backyard below.

        Read the the Kyllo case - the holding is quite clear: "obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical 'intrusion into a constitutionally protected area,' Silverman, 365 U. S., at 512, constitutes a search--at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use."

        That is what happened here: agents were sent onto private property with the express intent of taking readings using sense-enhancing technology in order to try to gain knowledge about what was happening inside structures.  They were seeking information that they could not normally get without entering those homes and mosques, for which they would need a warrant.

        •  What's closer? (none)
          I think the legality of the search would turn on what a court finds to more similar:

          Imaging the inside of a building, where the technology used cannot discriminate between legal and illegal uses of grow lights, or,

          Sampling the outside of a building (or sampling in inside areas open to the public, or areas into which investigators have been invited) using technology that can discriminate between legal and illegal materials.

          The latter is essentially the sniffer dog cases, and appears to be what the radiation detection program amounts to.

          The most questionable part of the program does not seem to me to be the radiation detection but the targeting of Muslims and mosques.  Was this selection based on any criterion other than Muslimness?

          "This machine kills fascists"--words on Woody Guthrie's guitar

          by Old Left Good Left on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 05:10:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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