Freedom Action Now

Encroachment of Liberty

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 Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

That’s from a Supreme Court decision made in 1928, by Justice Brandeis.  It was a dissenting opinion.  It is even more relevant today than it was then.

The case is Olmstead v. United States, about whether wiretapped phone conversations – which federal agents got without warrants – could be used as evidence in a trial. (The trial involved bootlegging during the prohibition era, which was in fact illegal.)

The Court ruled against the defendants. The Chief Justice at the time was William Howard Taft, who later became President (the only one ever to hold both offices.)

The decision was finally overruled in 1967, in Katz v. United States.

Both cases involved the idea of a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. Today, the government and its minions take the stand that there is no “reasonable expectation of privacy”. It’s hard to argue against that, with so many people – probably a vast majority – publishing their daily movements and inner thoughts – almost hourly.


Written by freedomactionnow

August 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. I am aware of the amount of information that most people turn over to others on a daily basis. I don’t think I’m paranoid. But look at what we give others:

    When we shop, we tell our grocers who we are, and what we like. And what if we like some brewskis? And that info is supoenaed by a neighbor whose kid hits your car while driving his? “Well, Mr. Jones, according to your Club Card records, earlier that day you but a rack of Budweiser. Are you now telling us you weren’t drinking?”

    Tweet? Tell people what you did, or are planning to do? Maybe I do reveal too much upon occasion. But I do so, aware of the eteranal nature of the intertubes.

    Oh, and I do believe the Fourth Amendment protects my e-mail from federal scrutiny without a warrant.


    August 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

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