Tag Archives | surveillance state

Senate Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretaps

Picture: Jim Chute (CC)

For your own good, dontchaknow:

Via Raw Story:

The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Friday that reauthorizes and extends the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a law that was originally meant to retroactively grant legal immunity to the Bush administration and telecoms, along with temporary authorization to wiretap non-Americans inside the United States without first having to acquire a warrant.

The law was set to expire at midnight on Friday, but the Senate’s vote means it will almost certainly be extended through December 2017.

Before passing the extension by a vote of 73-23, lawmakers blocked amendments by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (R-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) that would have narrowed the window of reauthorization, added more oversight to the program and required annual reports to Congress on the privacy impacts of the program.

The extension continues warrantless wiretapping powers that apply even in the event that one person participating in the communication is an American citizen, despite the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for court oversight.

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Federal Judge Rules Cops Can Set Up Cameras On Private Property Without Warrants

Ars Technica’s Timothy B. Lee reports on a case that will have wide-ranging implications in today’s omnipresent surveillance state:

A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval.

The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant.

But in a Monday decision first reported by CNET, Judge William Griesbach rejected the request. Instead, he approved the ruling of a magistrate judge that the Fourth Amendment only protected the home and land directly outside of it (known as “curtilage”), not open fields far from any residence.

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