And as the 4th Amendment was shat upon, they smiled and said, I have nothing to hide.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have articles out from a few weeks ago and today showing a change in law that should leave Americans clamoring for the heads of the rulers.

First, read the articles, then read the Constitution.  Notice any discrepancies?  Yeah, so did I.

So let’s talk about this.  Why is it such a problem?  Surrrrrre, the NSA is spying on us, but I have nothing to hide.  I’m not a criminal.  This will only hurt criminals and come on, don’t you want them off the streets?  If you have a problem with more effective means of gathering information on criminals, you must be one.

*Headdesk*

No, no, no, and did I forget one?  NO!

The purpose of the 4th amendment sometimes gets muddled by how it is usually protected by the courts.  What usually happens in a 4th amendment case is the police gather evidence illegally (meaning outside the allowances of the 4th amendment and case law interpreting it), and when they try the criminal, the evidence gets tossed.  This is called the exclusionary rule.  And it is a huge problem because yeah, it’s only helpful if you actually were guilty and then it lets the guilty back on the streets.

So why do the courts do this?  The theory is if the cops know the evidence will be tossed if they do things the wrong way, then they won’t do that ever, thus protecting the rights of the guilty and innocent alike.

I’m sorry, give me a second, I can’t breathe I’m laughing so hard.

Hahahaha… ha.

This doesn’t actually work in practice, at least not as beautifully as the Court envisioned when it came up with this rule.  They were doing their best, and it’s not a terrible rule.  Cops more or less try to follow the law.

The problems arise with the less part.  Sometimes, the cops don’t give a furry stanky ass crack about whether or not the evidence sticks, they see that as the DA’s problem, not theirs.  They sometimes don’t know exactly what they’re allowed to do, because duh, law is complicated and they aren’t lawyers.  Again, they do their jobs, get the bad guys, and everything else is for the lawyers to sort out.

Overall though, the system is meant to protect everybody’s privacy.  So what happens when the system opens the door a crack for an exception.  I don’t mean an exception to the general rules within the 4th amendment that come about from interpreting it (that’s stuff like different rules for searching a car and they are rules that are still within the 4th amendment’s restrictions).  I mean an exception to the 4th amendment itself.

None of this dancing around the law crap, none of this we can stop a car but only for these reasons.  Just guys with guns knocking down your door to search your house, just in case you could have evidence of a crime in there.

Wait, huh?

I thought they could only search places with a search warrant?  Or maybe with extenuating circumstances?

Yep, until that nifty little go around goes into effect. 🙂

The NSA being allowed to collect data, use it in terrorism cases, yada yada yada, basically that piece of toilet paper known as The Patriot Act, opened the door.

Can we really be surprised the government is walking through it?  This isn’t news, people!  You give them the power and they will use it.

This starts with info collected by the NSA.  We knew they were doing it before, but we let it go because they were just checking for terrorism stuff, they weren’t even really listening.  And even if they caught some stuff here or there, who cared?  We didn’t have anything to hide.

Well now they’re listening, and they are taking this to a new place.  Now those conversations are being watched for other little tidbits to lead to criminals.

Okay, but isn’t that a good thing, catching more criminals?

It would be, if it didn’t trounce on every single citizen.  Now they can use info they obtained without a warrant, without having to go through any court to prove they have probable cause, and without having to prove they were in one of the narrow and well-delineated exceptions to the warrant rule as laid down by the court.

if they don’t have that fear of convictions being tossed (or fear of lawsuits) then there is nothing to stop them from marching into your house to search, just in case  right now this is only info… Right now.

Now, they can use whatever they can get their sticky little hands on, and guilty and innocent alike are violated.

You keep saying you have nothing to hide?  Hey, neither do I.  My whole life is online because I’m trying to build a following.  But that’s not the point!

The point is we have a right to our privacy.  And the government has been encroaching for years, and now they’ve finally walked through the door.

How long until they park their butts on our couches, put their feet on the coffee table and demand we grab them a soda?  This isn’t about the guilty or the innocent.

This is about our rights as humans beings to have some place that is just our own.  A right to privacy.

This is just the first step to that being wiped out.

(Like my writing?  Check out more.  You want to see what happens when the government goes unchecked, check out my Evie Jones series about a witch fighting the rules of her authoritarian government, one wacky adventure at a time.)

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3 thoughts on “And as the 4th Amendment was shat upon, they smiled and said, I have nothing to hide.

  1. (Admittedly, I had to go and look up what your 4th Amendment actually was). And you’ve now got the distinct possibility of a crazy right-wing populist becoming the most powerful man in the country. Ouch.
    Kind of glad I’m in Europe (oh god, please let the UK stay in Europe, don’t let the crazy right-wingers win here too…)

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    1. You do realize it’s the crazy, left wing socialist wannabe who is doing this, right? The right wingers aren’t the ones who have slowly been drowning rights, it’s the left. From starting the alphabet soup that is now what we call the 4th branch because it wields so much power to the presidents who have done everything in their power to make government bigger, it’s usually the left. Don’t get me wrong, the conservatives have problems too (Bush 2, The Revenge, signed The Patriot Act) but traditionally it’s the left trying to make bigger gov, give unelected and unaccountable agencies more power and take away rights in the guise of social justice. Also, Trump isn’t right wing. Trump ran GOP because he saw weakness. Trump is a dictator on the rise who isn’t right or left, he’s whatever will get him power. Ok, now I’m done ranting 🙂

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  2. Yeah, we had some pretty unusual lurches to intrusive government under Blair (Labour, supposedly a socialist party) but most of the clamouring for changes to privacy/investigatory legislation (particularly with regard to electronic data) is coming from the right. When we had a coalition a few years ago the centre-ground Liberal Democrats (who believe in social justice AND individual privacy) stopped the Conservatives from pushing through legislation they labelled a “Snooper’s Charter”. And then the Lib-Dems pretty much got wiped out in the next election, somehow becoming the scapegoats for the coalition government. Electorates, eh? Tsk.
    We know that Trump isn’t really a right-wing politician (hence my use of ‘populist’), but his default setting is far more to the right than the left (being the off-spring of a millionaire probably tends to have something to do with it). There’s a great animated GIF going around comparing his posturing expressions with Mussolini. Scary.

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