If you’ve been following privacy issues at all in recent years, you know that websites and smartphone apps are sharing your detailed location information with data brokers and advertisers.
In a decision [PDF] that could put an end to a practice that civil-liberties groups have decried as illegal for years, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted that the way the Feds today use a database of seized communications “would be at odds with the bedrock Fourth Amendment concept that law enforcement agents may not invade the privacy of individuals without some objective reason to believe that evidence of crime will be found by a search.”.
This court decision comes as a result of years of hard work by the ACLU, the ACLU of Massachusetts and the EFF on behalf of eleven international travelers who had been the recipient of suspicionless device searches when entering the United States.
BOSTON — In a major victory for privacy rights, a federal court in Boston today ruled that the government’s suspicionless searches of international travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.
After the government appealed, the FISC allowed the FBI to continue to use backdoor searches to invade people’s privacy—even in investigations that may have nothing to do with national security or foreign intelligence—so long as it follows what the appeals court called a “modest ministerial procedure.” Basically, this means requiring FBI agents to document more clearly why they were searching the giant 702 databases for information about Americans.
In the process of analyzing and reauthorizing the FBI's ability to engage in warrantless domestic surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISC Judge James Boasberg determined that on multiple occasions, FBI personnel were not properly restricting their searches and thereby violated the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens.
Mr. Gerstell peppers his letter with references to privacy, "wrestling with the challenges of the Fourth Amendment" in "this area of data privacy between the government and the private sector", tiptoeing around the truth: the mission of the National Security Agency is not, and will never be, to preserve citizen privacy.
Notably, the court emphasizes that the Fourth Amendment of the federally binding US Constitution does not protect internet users from having their information handed over to law enforcement without a warrant because users willingly give that information to the third party (the ISP in this case).
Senator Paul and I are introducing this bill to start taking back Americans' Constitutional protections," Sen. Wyden said. Our bill will put an end to these intrusive government searches and uphold the fundamental protections of the Fourth Amendment," Sen. Paul said.
But under the good-faith exception to violations of the Fourth Amendment, the court said the agents acted reasonably and in “good faith” — and so whatever they gathered could still be used at trial.
Adlerstein was detained for more than four hours, and though she was not charged, she said CBP officials specifically told her that she was being placed under arrest, cited U.S. law prohibiting human smuggling, denied her access to an attorney, and informed her that investigators with the Department of Homeland Security would be following up with her as part of an “ongoing investigation.”.
"Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on a public street to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment," Taylor's lawyer, Philip Ellison, wrote in a court filing.
"CBP's baseless detention and intrusive interrogation of Andreas Gal and the attempted search of his devices violated his Fourth Amendment rights," ACLU Northern California senior counsel William Freeman said of the complaint.
The Fourth Amendment Caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), whose offices are best to contact for issues involving the caucus. Jason Lewis (R-MN). John Lewis (D-GA). Ted Lieu (D-CA). Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Ted Poe (R-TX).
Whether it violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or not, it’s an unfortunate fact that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents routinely force travelers entering the country to unlock their phone for inspection under the threat of confiscation or prolonged detainment.
In other words, if police are alerted by an Apple Watch of a possible injury, they do not need a warrant to enter a home under the "community caretaking" exception to the Fourth Amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with private attorneys, are trying to convince a powerful federal appeals court that the program is unconstitutional, violating people's Fourth Amendment rights because it allows the government to access millions of Americans' communications without a warrant.