Technology is Killing the Fourth Amendment

Closed Circuit Television, tracking printed material, tracking us by our cell phones, opening our mail, tapping our phones… the list goes on and on as the government’s “war on the fourth amendment” continues.

The most recent advancement in the “spying on citizens” genre of technology is the Radar Scope. The Radar Scope will be deployed to troops in Iraq this Spring and will give “warfighters searching a building the ability to tell within seconds if someone is in the next room.”

This 1.5 pound $1000 beauty can “sense through a foot of concrete and 50 feet beyond that into a room” and is “able to detect movements as small as breathing.”

Plans are already being made to expand on this technology with “Visi Building” devices that would be:

…more than a motion detector. It will actually “see” through multiple walls, penetrating entire buildings to show floor plans, locations of occupants and placement of materials such as weapons caches… (DefenseLink.mil)

(SIGH) Hardened on the field of battle… implemented on the streets of America. I believe the future use of this device is predicted in the following statement by Edward Baranoski from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Special Projects Office:

Ultimately, servicemembers will be able to use it simply by driving or flying by the structure under surveillance.

Why do I have this notion that U.S. law enforcement agencies will be utilizing this technology on our streets in the next couple of years? In the name of the “War on Drugs” of course…

posted by mikehorn
  • Julian

    There is no question technology is the largest looming issue to individual freedom. Every citizen, no matter who you are or what your beliefs, should be alarmed at the way technology can, is and will be used to control the “unruly” citizens.

    This is going to be a real challenge as time passes. I have no idea how to reconcile technology with personal freedoms but there has to be an answer.

    Every citizen, in his own way, is “unruly” sometimes. I have nothing illegal to hide but do not want big brother knowing what I do have in my home and on my property and what I do on a daily basis. Hell, for all I know, they may want to use a sniper against me as they did at Ruby Ridge or even maybe an armored vehicle as was used at Waco.

    Guess who was President then? I’ll give you a hint. It was not Bush and it was not a Republican.

  • disinter

    Finally! A reason for the war in Iraq – develop technologies to be used in the coming expansion of the police state in the US. I am at a loss for any other reason for being there…

  • Lenny Zimmermann

    I wouldn;t be surprised. Part of me says that since one of the Government’s legitimate roles is to enforce the rule of law on those who would take our rights (by being “bad guys”, such as those who really would do others harm) that this kind of tech is certianly needed as a tool. Certainly technology will continue to march forward and no matter what these kinds of tools will only become more available.

    I want a government that is capable of catching criminals. But the only way we can be sure that the government isn’t also abusing that power is by INSISTING that government also make itself as absolutely transparent to us as we can possibly make it. We need on the ball reporters and citizens who are willing to look thrhough the windows of government to ensure their powers are not being abused.

    I think THAT is the most important issue for us to focus on. Not that the government has this kind of tech, but how we can better ensure the government doesn’t abuse this kind of tech.

  • disinter

    Julian,

    Actually Dubya’s dad was the president during the Ruby Ridge murders and Clinton was the president during the Waco massacre.

    Do you really still believe there is ANY difference between a Repeublican and Democrat?

  • mikehorn

    Julian says:
    There is no question technology is the largest looming issue to individual freedom.

    Right, and as this technology advances I predict that laws will be implemented to force anyone from creating counter-technologies that would deter devices such as the Radar Scope.

    There will be day when these types of silent intrusions become automated and random in the name of security and protection… it really is a matter of time.

  • Julian

    Mike Nelson

    I am wrong. Ruby Ridge happened August, 1992. I checked my autographed copy of “The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge” by Randy Weaver (met him and got the book at one of the many gun shows I attend). Clinton was sworn in on January, 20, 1993.

    Sorry about the mistake.

  • http://www.kipesquire.com KipEsquire

    I’m sure domestic law enforcement would like to use such technology, but it would be difficult to uphold a challenge to it given Kyllo v. U.S., which held that the police cannot use heat-sensing technology to search for marijuana lamps.

    But I concur wholeheartedly that technology can be a most serious threat to privacy and liberty.

  • http://www.opentorrent.org OpenTorrent

    Right, and as this technology advances I predict that laws will be implemented to force anyone from creating counter-technologies that would deter devices such as the Radar Scope.

    Two words come to mind… if it is still effective against this intrusive technology.

    Faraday Cage

  • RadarHead

    There is a simple way to control the unbridled use of this and every other similar technology. That is to require the equipment user to hit a button for his intended use (in the instant) to be authorized by the readers of THIS WEB SITE. If we don’t agree, his gadget doesn’t work for him.

    Power to the people!

  • Michael Hampton

    Technology isn’t the enemy. It can be used both ways.

    Consider this: 10 years ago, we had cryptographically secure, completely anonymous digital cash you could use online. The way the system was designed, you would have digital “coins” of varying amounts, and could spend them completely anonymously. However, you couldn’t cheat the system: if you tried to make a copy of one of the coins and spend it twice, it would break your own anonymity, and (presumably) you’d be arrested for counterfeiting or whatever.

    The system almost got off the ground, but today is virtually unheard of. Only a few people who were around at the time and played with it even remember it.

    One of these days I’m going to have to track down why it failed, but I suspect the main reason had something to do with there was almost nothing to buy online in 1996.

  • Ted Burt

    This is balogna…Stupid idiots dont have ANY common sense what-so-ever!

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    I’m sure domestic law enforcement would like to use such technology, but it would be difficult to uphold a challenge to it given Kyllo v. U.S., which held that the police cannot use heat-sensing technology to search for marijuana lamps.

    Kip,
    You have more faith in Kyllo than I do. If I recall the language of the decision correctly, the Court only prohibited the surveillance with the heat-sensors because the technology was not widely available/in use, so there was still a reasonable expectation of privacy. As that kind of sensing technology becomes more ubiquitous, the “reasonable expectation of privacy” will shrink to allow this kind of sensing.

    At least that’s how I remember it reading from Crim Pro last semester.

    Yours truly,
    Nick