Juan Cole: Starship Amerika

"President" Obama is now actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. Among the many elements of the Obama administration that have disappointed civil libertarians is its interest in spying on Americans. The Bush administration had instituted massive warrant-less wiretapping and gathering of telephone records, with the complicity of most telecom corporations. Those who care about the "bill of rights" had hoped that Eric Holder's Department of Justice would take a stand for the Fourth Amendment, which should be on the endangered species list along with the golden tree frog and the St. Helena dragonet. The administration is appealing a Washington, DC federal appeals court ruling that threw out the case that law enforcement had built against a suspected cocaine distributor because the officers attached a global positioning satellite tracking device to his automobile without a warrant, and then followed his movements for a whole month. That they tracked the suspect for so long without bothering to involve a judge was one basis for the ruling.

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