May 21, 20099
It’s bad enough that 2/3 of the entire US population live in what is effectively a Constitution free zone — an area that encompasses 100 miles of land and coastal borders — now the government is claiming it has the authority to enter your home without a search warrant under an arcane FCC policy.
|A garage door opener provides the FCC with an excuse to search your home in violation of the Fourth Amendment.|
If you have a wireless router, a cell or cordless phone, baby monitor, and even a garage door opener the feds can enter your home at any time and inspect it. “Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference,” FCC spokesman David Fiske told Wired News.
According to the FCC, it gets the right to ignore the Fourth Amendment under the Communications Act of 1934. Back in the day home transmitters were used mostly by ham-radio and CB-radio operators. In 2009, however, nearly every house in America has some sort of device that uses radio waves.
The FCC policy came to light after an FCC agent investigating a 100-watt transmitter in Boulder, Colorado, left behind a copy of the FCC’s inspection policy. “Whether you operate an amateur station or any other radio device, your authorization from the Commission comes with the obligation to allow inspection,” the policy states. “This is an intimidation thing,” the leader of Boulder Free Radio told Wired. “Most people aren’t that dedicated to the cause. I’m not going to let them into my house.”
Not allowing FCC agents into your house, however, carries a stiff penalty. In 2007, a man in Corpus Christi, Texas, learned this the hard way — he refused to allow the FCC into his residence and was slapped with $7,000 fine. The FCC had tracked him down with its direction-finders after he rebroadcasted AM radio through a CB radio.
[efoods]A Supreme Court ruling in 1987, New York v. Burger, allows FCC inspectors to contact U.S. attorneys if they notice illegal evidence unrelated to FCC violations.
“It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure,” Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien told Ryan Singel. “When it is a private home and when you are talking about an over-powered Wi-Fi antenna — the idea they could just go in is honestly quite bizarre.”
It may be bizarre, but it is also part of the federal government’s ongoing effort to nullify the Bill of Rights and trample the Constitution.
“When the Federal government takes on functions not spelled out in the Constitution, in violation of the Tenth Amendment, it is only a matter of time before it will damage the unenumerated rights of the people, in violation of the Ninth Amendment,” writes Anthony Gregory. “After the government has gotten away with restricting speech and firearms when it has a ‘compelling interest,’ it will begin finding ways to search and seize property in violation of the Fourth Amendment. After each protection of the Bill of Rights has been eroded around the edges long enough, the government will pursue degradation of the most basic of statutory rights, such as the right to a jury trial — until the Bill of Rights is completely meaningless.”