Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The first steps have been taken toward preventing the National Security Agency from collecting information in bulk through phone records and other metadata.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the agency’s phone data program violates the Constitution. The decision is pending appeal and the federal government will likely fight it in courts for months to come.
In all likelihood, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say.
However, this is an important first step in holding the federal government accountable to the same laws that bind the rest of us.
The Fourth Amendment is clearly designed to prevent illegal search and seizure — yet, that’s exactly what most people would classify the tapping of cellphones without the owner’s knowledge or consent, or without any evidence of a crime having been committed.
This should have been a fairly straightforward decision.
Even for the people that aren’t fearful of Big Brother’s watchful eyes, we should not stand for a government that is illegally watching its citizens and collecting massive amounts of data — much of which is useless, mundane info on the everyday conversations of everyday people.
Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court, when it takes a crack at the phone data program, will feel the same way.
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State Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Dan Christensen recorded this video of the release of a mama bear and her three cubs Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The bears were captured in a tree at Esther Bricques Winery near Ellisforde. The original video was much longer. We've edited out several minutes of footage between the cubs leaving the first trap and the mama and cub leaving the second trap. Enlarge