There was a time not too long ago, when the law enforcing authorities in our neck of the woods needed warrants to seek access to the personal property or private details of a person. And this was also the case when they wanted to monitor a suspect’s movement. However, recent technological advancements have ensured that not only is the aforementioned monitoring task made easier, it is also being practiced without any warrants – probably since you don’t have to bust open doors anymore to gain access to the information you desire. And understandably, this revelation has not been taken too kindly by the masses that now fear being involved unnecessarily in police investigations.
Cell phone tracking and PC monitoring
Cell phone monitoring and PC monitoring has helped out the cops’ task of digging into your privacy and extracting out whatever they might desire. Nowadays cell phones are equipped with GPS that aids the police in their quest of keeping an eye on the movement of their target. Even the older cell phones, without the modern day GPS, are being monitored via the cell tower that they use. And what’s even scarier is the fact that the police have access to this feature, even if the users turn their cell phones off. So basically if you’re a tech savvy gadget buff or a conventional cell phone user, either way the police are tracking your movement and constantly accessing your data.
No warrant needed
According to an ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) report the police track the movement of whomever they want – which can amount up to millions of people – without any warrants or probable causes. And this is being done outside the judicial jurisdiction. This practice has been going on since the late 90s, and for a country that touts itself as the hub of democracy, this isn’t exactly the most democratic way of solving any crime issues – to say the very least.
Lack of awareness
Not everyone is aware of the presence of such technology, and some of those few that know about it, quite possibly aren’t aware of its availability and open use by law enforcing authorities. Hardly anyone knows that their location and movement are being scrutinized, and could be used as evidence in court, if need be. So whether or not you have anything to do with the mafia, or if you find being involved with law enforcing authorities particularly repellent, you could still prove to be the source of the missing piece of jigsaw of a potentially massive police case. And while it does look good if you want to clamor about the “greater good” of the country, what it also does is that it absolutely shreds the prospect of privacy into tiny little microscopic pieces.
The police defend their side of the picture by claiming that the cell phone monitoring and PC monitoring on their part is perfectly legal, and is particularly helpful in cases of missing persons and for tracing suspects from the crime scene. However, if you look at things from the constitutional point of view, there is a huge question mark over the whole thing. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “forbids unreasonable searches and seizures” and says that you need a warrant to search someone, and for that particular warrant you’d need a probable cause.
There is a proposal being floated by a couple of US lawmakers to ban the police, or any other authority for that matter, from monitoring the people without a warrant. It seems like a timely call, and needs to be implemented, or else soon we’d make a complete mockery of the 1st Amendment that called for the “protection of the freedom of association”.
Natalia David is the author of cell phone monitoring and PC monitoring technology. She provides tips, tricks and news about mobile phone monitoring apps. You can also follow her on Twitter @NataliaDavid4 to get the latest tips about cell phone technology.