NSA Monitoring of Americans not Constitutional (Case Law)

What we were told when the Patriot Act was put in place by congress that only phone calls or emails from overseas to state side would be looked into; looking for terrorist connections. Apparently this has not been the case. There are even those in congress that are supposedly conservative, such as Michele Bachmann defending the practice of monitoring everything Americans do using electronic devices.

The monitoring by NSA has another effect besides reading and capturing phone calls. A number of years ago the FCC wanted to clamp down on the Internet under the guise of making sure everyone had equal access. It turns out that this would have clamped down on free speech and eventually was turned back. With what has been found out about the NSA’s widespread eves dropping, it must have an effect on those that would normally make use of electronic means to make phone calls, to read or write about our government. Snowden’s revelations about the NSA snooping and gathering activities for storage must send a chill through all Americans to curtail their activities.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons,

houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and

seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but

upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and

particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons

or things to be seized.

Previous court cases have indicated that electronic gathering of private activities of individuals cannot be monitored or gathered without a warrant.

Olmstead v. United States, {32} one of the two premises

underlying the holding that wiretapping was not covered by the

Amendment was that there had been no actual physical invasion

of the defendant’s premises; where there had been an invasion, a

technical trespass, electronic surveillance was deemed subject

to Fourth Amendment restrictions.

{33} The Court later rejected this approach,

however. ‘‘The premise that property interests control the

right of the Government to search and seize has been discredited.

. . . We have recognized that the principal object of the Fourth

Amendment is the protection of privacy rather than property, and

have increasingly discarded fictional and procedural barriers rested

on property concepts.’’

{34} Thus, because the Amendment ‘‘protects

people, not places,’’ the requirement of actual physical trespass is

dispensed with and electronic surveillance was made subject to the

Amendment’s requirements.

This revelation about the NSA and what the agency has been doing can be argued that its search and seizure methods of electronic information on a wide scale are without warrant and violate 4th Amendment protection.

Source: Government Printing Office – 4th Amendment case history

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