For most of America’s history the law in our nation held that the people were protected in their persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable search and seizure and thus held that if a person had a reasonable expectation of privacy then the government must have a search warrant to search for or seize such private information. To get a warrant the government official must present, under oath, to a judicial official sufficient probable cause for a reasonable person to believe a crime had been or was being committed. Then came 9-11.
As a result of the “War on Terror” there has been a profound shift in the laws related to privacy. Now government agencies collect “mega data” and then decipher from that information what they want or need, often without ever obtaining a search warrant.
At the same time we once honored the protection from warrantless search we also subscribed to the principle of law that the government agencies that spied on foreigners and military officials were not to engage in domestic law enforcement. That’s gone now too.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a warrantless search program that was developed primarily by the Central Intelligence Agency. They report:
The Central Intelligence Agency played a crucial role in helping the Justice Department develop technology that scans data from thousands of U.S. cellphones at a time, part of a secret high-tech alliance between the spy agency and domestic law enforcement, according to people familiar with the work.
The CIA and the U.S. Marshals Service, an agency of the Justice Department, developed technology to locate specific cellphones in the U.S. through an airborne device that mimics a cellphone tower, these people said.
Today, the Justice Department program, whose existence was reported by The Wall Street Journal last year, is used to hunt criminal suspects. The same technology is used to track terror suspects and intelligence targets overseas, the people said.