Turnstiles are now actually State Spying Devices, coded to inform the MTA of every rider’s every move. The sale of Metrocards is said to be anonymous. But what is to stop a future dictatorial Governor or Mayor or MTA Chair from modifying the Metrocard system to keep track of each and every named or photographed rider’s destination and time of arrival?
And then there is the so-called “private sector” of the “Information (read Totalitarian) Age” economy. Facebook knows who all your “friends” are. Amazon knows every item you purchase from their vast on-line department store. Mapquest knows everyplace you intend to go and have gone to by car. Your television cable provider knows every television show you watch. Google knows every search for information you’ve ever made. Microsoft knows every article composed on its software, including this one.
AOL, Yahoo, and G-mail now know and preserve the contents of every subscriber’s e-mail, preserved forever.
Recent Times articles have disclosed that the NSA is actually in cahoots with Facebook, Amazon, Mapquest, Google, Microsoft and every other Silicon Valley “provider” (read insidious Peeping Tom).
The existing 4th Amendment prohibits warrantless searches of “persons, houses, papers and effects.” This is no longer sufficient to carry out the Founders’ Intention to Create a Free Society.
It is about time to enact Amendment 4.5 to the U.S. Constitution:
“No publicly or privately stored electronic information of any kind may be used in any local, state or federal criminal prosecution without a court-ordered subpoena or warrant signed by hand in ink by a local, state or federal judge of competent jurisdiction after careful consideration.”
Now, if Washington will quickly enact this Amendment, the legacy of freedom handed to us by Ben Franklin and George Orwell will be satisfied.
“Signed by hand in ink” is perhaps the most important part of the revised subpoena and warrant requirement of Amendment 4.5. With computers and remote access, a judge’s clerk, spouse, child or even his or her cat can touch buttons and respond to a remote police officer’s request for a warrant. It also means the judge will actually have to think about whether or not to grant the warrant or subpoena, and consider the supporting police affidavit thoughtfully.
“After careful consideration” means the judge must telephone the police officer or prosecutor to find out what the case is all about, and whether the Government’s electronic intrusion into a Citizen’s life is justified by the ACTUAL threat to public safety, if any.
Without this Amendment, we are a country I don’t recognize. We are in the Police State our ancestors warned us against, and spilled their blood to prevent.
Let us take our free country back with this Amendment before it is too late.
The writer is a Past President of the Queens County Criminal Courts Bar Association, a past Acting Village Justice of the Ardsley, Westchester County, Village Court, and our current QCBA Vice President and Editor of this publication.