TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Surveillance unwarranted

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

In Colonial America, Writs of Assistance were general warrants authorizing British authorities to search businesses and homes, having no limit on the specific place, subject matter, manner or duration of the search. Imagine the fear, knowing “one's government” could come in at any time to rummage through one's affairs or possessions as often as it wished.

The Fourth Amendment made this intimidation illegal: “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.”

Now, 222 years later, “our government” tampers with our electronic correspondence and records it without first handing us a warrant serving notice that our “private effects” will be searched for something specific. Today's surreptitious electronic surveillance is worse than Writs of Assistance because it is clandestine and violates the Fourth Amendment.

Snoop stealthily upon criminals, foreigners or suspected terrorists, but we ordinary Americans have the right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Hand us a warrant based on probable cause, “supported by Oath or affirmation.” Tell us “the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized” before tampering with our phone records, calls, faxes, emails or Internet activities. This would be as the Fourth Amendment states: reasonable.

Daniel Paul Zajdel

Churchill

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Letters

  1. Wolf stifling Pa. economy
  2. Unburden us, Pennsylvania
  3. Don’t tax, don’t frack
  4. Reason to leave McKeesport
  5. Wolf’s tax & shale jobs
  6. West Mifflin Area tactics called bullying
  7. Rein in Pa. spending
  8. Some attacks are warranted
  9. Declare war on Wolf, Dems
  10. Alabama justice applauded
  11. No makeup days