Judge: Government Hacking a Computer is a Search

It seems like this should be the most obvious thing in the known universe, but sadly it's not. A federal judge has ruled that when the government hacks into your computer to get information they otherwise would not have access to, that's a search under the 4th Amendment. DUH. … [Read more...]

Court: You Can’t Search a Car Because of the State It Comes From

In states that border states that have legal marijuana, either recreational or medicinal, the police often focus their attention on cars coming out of those states because it's more likely they're transporting pot. But an appeals court just ruled that you can't do a search merely because of that. … [Read more...]

Finally, a Federal Judge Says No to Warrantless ‘Stingray’ Searches

It's been known for many years that police departments and the federal government routinely use "stingray" devices to track and record cell phones without a warrant. Finally, one federal judge has ruled out evidence gathered in this clearly unconstitutional manner. … [Read more...]

Conservatives Suddenly Discover a Right to Privacy

For more than 50 years now, the right wing has raged against the idea that there is any such thing as a right to privacy in the Constitution. It began with Griswold v Connecticut (1965), which found that married couples had a right to purchase contraception. Now suddenly they love that right to privacy. Here's the Heritage Foundation: … [Read more...]

Michigan Welfare Drug Testing Catches No One

The state of Michigan has been doing a pilot program to drug test welfare recipients in a few counties. The Guardian reports that, to this point, not a single person has been found using illegal drugs. This is similar to the results in other states. … [Read more...]

SCOTUS Weakens the 4th Amendment Further

The 4th Amendment, which is on life support if it still exists at all, was weakened yet again by the Supreme Court in Utah v Strieff, a case involving a pretextual traffic stop and the exclusionary rule. It was a 5-3 ruling, with Breyer joining the conservatives on the court and Thomas writing the opinion (of course). … [Read more...]

When Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos

The state of Texas was one of three states that, just a few years ago, actually had a law that forbid the buying and selling of sex toys. And they enforced that law, which led to a legal challenge to it. When Ted Cruz was the Texas Solicitor General, he defended the constitutionality of that ban. … [Read more...]

Ted Cruz’ Odd Definition of Success

In defending his demand that law enforcement "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods," Ted Cruz is pointing to the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program, which was ended in 2014 and the subject of a settled lawsuit between the ACLU and the city. He called the program "very successful" and the "finest there is in the world." … [Read more...]

NSA Data to be Used in Regular Criminal Investigations

When the Patriot Act was passed and the national surveillance state was built, proponents said not to worry, this was just to help us stop terrorists. Civil liberties groups knew that was a lie we've seen the evidence for years. And now it's getting worse because NSA data mining will now be used in routine criminal investigations too. … [Read more...]

Carson’s Horrifying Views on Privacy

Ben Carson has in the past suggested that the government should monitor public school and university classrooms to root out "bias" (as if the people doing the monitoring wouldn't be biased), but in an interview with the editorial team from the Des Moines Register he went even further, suggesting that such surreptitious recordings be made of anyone who gets tax dollars. … [Read more...]

Another Federal Judge Rubber Stamps Illegal Police Behavior

My friend Radley Balko does his usual brilliant job of dissecting a terrible court ruling that, as is so often the case, allows the police to justify behavior that clearly violates the 4th Amendment with the most flimsy and ridiculous of excuses. The case involves a SWAT raid on a couple because they were believed to be growing pot. They were actually growing tomatoes. … [Read more...]

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ben McCarthy Carson

It seems that Ben Carson is trying to really establish his McCarthyite bonafides by one-upping some of his Republican presidential rivals. Not only does he think we should have a database for all "foreigners," but he thinks we should be surveilling anyone he deems to be "anti-American." He means Un-American, of course. Perhaps even a House committee to oversee their activities. … [Read more...]