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Tag: CONSTITUTION

Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Against Federal Wiretapping

The ACLU and other civil liberties groups can continue their legal battle against a federal wiretapping law, now that a New York appeals court has reinstated their lawsuit. At issue is a 2008 federal law known as the FISA Amendments Act, which empowered the U.S. government to conduct widespread electronic surveillance on suspected terrorists. The ACLU's challenge had been previously thrown out...

North Carolina Lawyers Say Sex Offenders Should Be Allowed on Facebook

North Carolina state law prohibits registered sex offenders from using social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, but two lawyers believe that the restriction is unconstitutional. Attorney Glenn Gerding, who is representing convicted sex offender Christian Martin Johnson, argues that the law is too broad, and would prevent his client from using sites like Google or Amazon, since both...

The Internet 'Kill Switch' Bill: What It Is, and Why It Won't Die

On the very day that the Egyptian government shut down an overwhelming majority of the country's Internet servers, Republican Senator Susan Collins began floating a piece of legislation which, if passed, would grant the President the power to do essentially the same thing in the U.S. The so-called 'kill switch' bill was approved by the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...

Police Don't Need Search Warrants to Read Texts, California Court Rules

The Fourth Amendment requires all law-enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant before seizing a suspect's personal property. According to the California Supreme Court, though, the law doesn't apply to cell phones. In a 5-to-2 vote, the court ruled that police don't need a search warrant to search an arrested individual's cell phone -- because cell phones, in essence, are like clothing. ...

Cops Can Search Computers With Explicitly Titled Files, Alabama Court Rules

The next time you save child pornography on your hard drive, you probably shouldn't save it under a name like 'KiddiePornXXX.' Doing so, it turns out, may give law enforcement officials the green light to search and seize your hard drive. That's exactly what happened to Corey Beantee Melton, from Alabama, after he took his computer to get repaired at a local Best Buy. When Best Buy's Geek Squad...

Warrant Required for GPS Tracking, Court Rules

The next time the police think about slapping a GPS tracking device on your car, they may be required to have a search warrant in their hands beforehand. In an opinion issued Friday, a D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined that unwarranted and prolonged GPS surveillance violates constitutionally mandated protections against unreasonable searches. Federal prosecutors used evidence...

Family Seeks $7.5 Million Because High School Read Daughter's Texts

Today in Recession-omics: Using your kid's quasi-misfortune to exploit constitutional law for millions of dollars. Just follow in the footsteps of John Beaird of Irving, Texas, and you're on your way. Beaird's daughter Madelyn is your typical teen texting fiend. According to The33TV, MacArthur High School officials thought that the student might have some information about a situation...

Judge Cuts Joel Tenenbaum's 'Unconstitutional' File Sharing Fine

Remember Joel Tenenbaum, the college student who'd been ordered by a federal jury to pay $675,000 in damages to four record companies, all because he illegally downloaded and shared music? When we first caught wind of this story, we were shocked (and more than a little terrified) to realize that P2P file sharing could wind up costing us such a hefty chunk of cash. But now, the same judge who...

ACLU's 'Spy Files' to Keep Tabs on Illegal Government Surveillance

The American Civil Liberties Union has recently launched 'Spy Files', a new website focused on illegal domestic surveillance. The site aims to make the extent of the government's spying on its own citizens public information. The information will include, "Freedom of Information Act requests, ACLU lawsuits and reports, and news accounts." The ACLU debuted the website along with a report showcasing...