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Courts have already had a lot to say about the constitutionality of warrantless cell phone location tracking. And there is reason to believe the secret surveillance court might not consider important precedent.
By this time next year, fair housing law could be neutered, unions could be hobbled, billionaires could be free to spend millions to put their favorite candidates in office, and the right to choose an abortion could be meaningless.
An August decision by the secret surveillance court that reaffirmed the National Security Agency’s authority to maintain a database of phone metadata was released Tuesday, putting on full display for the first time the reasoning the court has used to authorize the program.
After border patrol agents pulled over Andres Lopez-Cruz near the U.S.-Mexico border in Jacumba, California, Lopez-Cruz gave them consent to search his phone. But when Lopez-Cruz’s phone rang, an agent answered it — twice — and pretended to be Lopez-Cruz in responding to the callers on the other end.
A government program revealed in newly released documents uses border stops as a basis for invasive seizures and searches of electronics that would otherwise be much more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
New evidence that a secret court decision overturned a 2008 ban on certain types of surveillance adds to evidence that the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s work is interpreting and expanding the law without any sunlight, review, or public debate on how the statute is being interpreted.