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August 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should govt. track you with GPS but without a warrant?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Don't look now, but Big Brother may be watching you and apparently there is nothing you can do about it.

Time Magazine reports that in California and eight other western states the government can sneak onto your property, plant a GPS device on the bottom of your car, and track everywhere you go.

And it's all perfectly legal. An appeals court has ruled that the government can monitor you like this almost anytime it wants - and without a search warrant.

The case started in 2007, when government agents decided to monitor an Oregon resident they thought was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his driveway in the middle of the night and attached a GPS tracking device to the bottom of his Jeep. When the man challenged the government's actions, the Ninth Circuit ruled twice that what the government did was okay.

This kind of activity has more in common with the KGB than with a free country like ours. Whatever happened to a citizen's reasonable expectation of privacy? Well, the court ruled the man's driveway isn't private since strangers or delivery people can access it. This also means that rich people - with gated driveways, fences and security gates - often have larger areas of "privacy."

But there is a glimmer of hope in all this. Another appeals court in the District of Columbia recently ruled that tracking for an extended time with GPS is an invasion of privacy and it requires a warrant. All this will likely wind up in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, one conservative judge who's against this kind of spying put it this way, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."

Here’s my question to you: Should the government be able to track you using a GPS but without a warrant?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government
August 26th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

5 years after Katrina, what to learn from New Orleans?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This weekend marks five years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and all but destroyed the city of New Orleans.

The horrible images that came in the days and weeks following Katrina are unforgettable - a major American city literally underwater. People stranded on rooftops and in the Superdome, wading in floodwater with their belongings and families in tow in the sweltering heat.

The dismal response from the Bush administration only made matters worse - and left many wondering what was wrong with our federal government.

Five years later, despite the death and destruction, in some ways New Orleans is better than ever. There are more hotels and restaurants there than before Katrina... and much of the city's major infrastructure has new or rebuilt facilities. Lots of federal money has also poured into the schools, which were dysfunctional before Katrina and the public health system is also getting better.

As for the levees and water control systems, work still continues - but they're improving. Nonetheless, some worry that even the best levees won't be enough to withstand another storm like Katrina. Also, crime remains a huge problem. Several police officers are on trial for shooting unarmed civilians in the days following Katrina and allegedly covering it up.

Housing is a major concern too - especially in the poor neighborhoods where many lots remain empty.

As for what Katrina and the fate of New Orleans means for the rest of us, a new Pew poll shows 57 percent of Americans say the nation is no better prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters than it was five years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Five years after Katrina, what can the rest of us learn from New Orleans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: New Orleans