I found an earlier court case having to do with wiretapping. This one was from 1928. The plaintiff was named Olmstead. It had to do with wiretapping a private telegraph communication.
It really wasn't easy for me to answer the question I set out to answer. I really am against domestic surveillance. It really does violate the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. By spying on American citizens, the government is sending the message that they believe all citizens are possibly working as foreign agents or plotting against America in some way. FISA requires there to be probable cause and Bush knew it, so he made the whole program secret. In that way, the surveillance court would not be able to reject the program or oversee it.And what's more is that Obama has made no move to abolish the program, as groups like the ACLU and EFF were hoping. What's it going to take for this program to be nullified? Will it ever be nullified?
My main question was does the Warrantless Surveillance Program violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution? Here is my answer:
My answer is yes and no. I tried to come up with a clear, definite answer, but I found it to be impossible. Why? It is because just a straight answer does not convey the difficulty in answering the question and considering the legal questions and procedures in this matter. My answer is yes in so far as to say that peopleâ€™s privacy is being impinged upon and they cannot be â€œsecure in their personsâ€ and in their private property, when their privacy is being invaded unjustly, with no search warrant, probable cause, or even reasonable suspicion. The program also violates the 1978 FISA, which I believe is constitutional. American citizens should be guaranteed no unjust physical searches or illegal surveillance. They should not be treated as suspected foreign agents. My answer is no in so far as to say that if the search and surveillance is done with public technology and resources, they cannot expect privacy and the government can conduct a search and seizure without a warrant or any probable cause.
I looked at the 1928 case, Katz v. United States, Berger v. United States, Alderman v. United States, United States v. Miller, Kyllo v. United States, and Terry v. Ohio. Terry v. Ohio (1968) and Katz v. United States (1967) are probably the two most important cases. The Terry case was about physical searches and it allowed authorities to search if they had had probable cause, this is where the necessity of probable cause came from. The Katz case is about electronic surveillance, Katz's conversations from a public phone were being tapped by federal agents. In Katz, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment protected a person's right to privacy, no matter the place. And this is where the right to personal privacy comes from. Starting in the 1970s, the Court allowed authorities greater access to personal communications and records. They basically ruled that if the technology was for public use, even if it's private property...the search is justified and no warrant is needed. I don't agree with that. Private property means private property...it's non-negotiable. If it's public property, of course it's ridiculous to expect privacy.
So that's a quick look at my paper. I hope to find out my grade soon and if I get feedback, I'd like to try to elaborate on it. I found a number of other sources that I didn't use for this paper. I found a lot of online sources, and I found about a dozen books. The most recent one was from 2008.