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Starship Amerika

Posted on Apr 19, 2011
apn / Namco Bandai

A scene from the game software Star Trek Online.

By Juan Cole

President Barack Obama is actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. It always disturbed me when on “Star Trek” the captain asked the ship’s computer where a crew member was and was told the person’s exact location. Even the ship’s physician and empathy counselor were not immune from these inquiries, the answers to which could after all sometimes have been embarrassing. Is America heading toward being one big star ship, where government officials can casually inquire at will into our whereabouts and private doings?

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Among the many elements of the Obama administration that have disappointed civil libertarians is its interest in spying on Americans. The Bush administration had instituted massive warrantless wiretapping and gathering of telephone records, with the complicity of most telecom corporations. Those who care about the Bill of Rights had hoped that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice would take a stand for the Fourth Amendment, which should be on the endangered species list along with the golden tree frog and the St. Helena dragonet.

The administration is appealing a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court ruling that threw out the case that law enforcement had built against a suspected cocaine distributor because the officers attached a global positioning satellite tracking device to his automobile without a warrant and then followed his movements for a whole month. That they tracked the suspect for so long without bothering to involve a judge was one basis for the ruling.

Supporters of warrantless surveillance of this sort argue that a person’s movements in public are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. But GPS tracking is very precise and can follow a car everywhere—onto farms or estates and into enclosed garages on private property. If there is evidence that a crime is being committed in, say, a garage, then a warrant should be obtained from a judge. In the absence of such evidence it is unconstitutional for the government to monitor the precise location of a piece of private property being driven on or parked on private property.

It should be remembered that it is perfectly possible for the police to make a mistake or act maliciously and to monitor someone who is innocent. The ACLU charges that these practices are increasingly common. If police and other security personnel are allowed to engage in domestic surveillance of this sort without a court warrant, they can start following large numbers of innocent people and learn details of their private lives. Just this year, Tacoma, Wash., police engaged in unconstitutional surveillance of anti-war activists, using an employee at a military base, which is even more troubling. Blanket permission for law enforcement to conduct warrantless GPS tracking of activists could reveal their private peccadilloes, which in turn could be used to blackmail them.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

They may know who is on a ship but if they applied everywhere then a certain list of freedoms would be forfeit. It comes in small increments then at some time you are overrun and inside that box they made for you.

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joentokyo's avatar

By joentokyo, April 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Tracking people via cell phones and listening in on them have been going on for years now. Why is this suddenly a shocking issue?

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By jr., April 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Track me; that you, no thank you. 

Apparantly, the iphone is already tracking user’s every location, according to  Welcome to the world of scare-orism.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Mack, your points are well taken, but I feel this is only one small part of the grand scheme of things and not the the most important. 

Okay, in my reflections and with some hind end sight, I do see your concerns, yes mentoring the masses is what fascist leaning governments do. The only thing I may possibley do to conteract htis is,  bury my cell phone in death valley and replace the battery every couple of days?..... I saw that in a movie.

What else can one do, other than be paranoid, live in fear and fret about what and who they are who may be watching?

Mack, your comment about the FBI, is an assumption, which could come to fruition if it is asked of enough people. Also if we asked enough people here on TD, how many of them dropped a bowling ball on their foot, ....I would suspect there would be a few takers?

My point nobody must have or needs to have a cell phone, an I pad, a computer or a bowling ball to survive.  These seem to be choices of convenience, though I doubt if anyone is mentoring my bowling ball! 

By the way what ever happened to tapping land line phones? I suspect technology is the culprit and the ever present opportunists will do what ever they want with it. Though I appreciate and am aware of your concerns Mack, I just choose and prefer not to be concerned, which seems different then giving up, wimply or not?  FYI, I am aware just with a   differing degree of priority.

Out of respect I will quite teasing yous guys!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment


As I see it, we may be regressing into a fascist state, this GPS thing is only one minor peace of the puzzle if at all, we possibility disagree on its significance in the grand scheme of things.

Now when they start making the unwashed masses accept chips or wear ID tattoos then it may mean something. So far as I can tell, nobody is forcing or making it mandatory for anyone to own or purchase an “Ipad” (I have trouble with the name more than anything else)  or any other GPS device.

My cell phone may have a GPS tracking, I have no idea and do not know. Since about half the time I misplace or leave the damn thing at home anyway and especially when I head out to “Hot Hilda’s Bunny Ranch”, then I forget the phone on purpose anyway. ....  Come on,.... so I know, they know I know they can track the phone, so what?  Now…. if I did not know or think they could track the phone, it would make much more sense to be worried about it.

This seems just one more devious diversion to me, all part of the grand plan to take our eyes once more away from what is really happening the real issues.  I label this as just more flack!

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By Salome, April 21, 2011 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tesla left out the street cameras—-everywhere.

I’m trying to enjoy the ride but the seat cusion is very uncomfortable.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, April 21, 2011 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Prof Cole sounds surprised in his opening sentence.

Of course, I saw first hand what the Democratic riot
police did to any attempts at protest in Denver
during the DNC.  And that of course was when the city
was plastered with DNC/AT&T ads right after Obama had
hustled back to Washington to both cast a key vote
and twist other arms into supporting both more
eavesdropping powers for the government as well as
complete immunity for the telecoms who’d illegally
spied on us.

In fact, I can’t think of a single time since he got
the Dem nomination that Obama has actually opposed
any expansion of police powers and expanded surveillance of supposedly free and presumed innocent
American citizens.

If Prof Cole sounds surprised, its because he hasn’t
been paying attention.  But, in general its kinda amusing to hear deluded Democrats sound surprised
that Obama has turned out to be exactly like Dubya in
this , and many other, regards.  What’s disturbing is
that are still sounding surprised with 2 years worth
of evidence of Obama’s true nature staring them in
the face.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, April 21, 2011 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, reading up on “Operation Paper Clip,” googling the two words “Bush NAZI”  and reading four or five of the articles that are presented, fills in a lot of information gaps. Peace, doc b.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 21, 2011 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Mack stated;

I’ll avow.  I have not done anything illegal….. Yes! but that don’t mean you are not planning something illegal and what do you mean by illegal?

A little update on how fascism works, Britts number 12.

“12.  Obsession with Crime and Punishment. Police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.”

Not sure if we are in full speed ahead with Britts number 12,, but we seem to be gaining some speed, maybe this GPS thing is part of it?

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By Vasu Murti, April 21, 2011 at 1:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In his 1992 book, Visions of Liberty, former Executive Director of the ACLU, Ira Glasser writes:

“The use of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping
emerged during the Prohibition era. Roy Olmstead was a
suspected bootlegger whom the government wished to search.

It placed taps in the basement of his office building and on wires in the streets near his home. No physical entry into his office or home took place. Olmstead was convicted entirely on the basis of evidence from the wiretaps.

“In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Olmstead argued that the taps were a search conducted without a warrant and without probable cause, and that the evidence seized against him should have been excluded because it was illegally gathered.

He also argued that his Fifth Amendment right not to be a
witness against himself was violated.

“By a 5-4 vote, the Court rejected his arguments and upheld the government’s power to wiretap without limit and without any Fourth Amendment restrictions, on the grounds that no actual physical intrusion had taken place.

“Olmstead’s Fifth Amendment claim was also dismissed on the grounds that he had not been compelled to talk on the telephone, but had done so voluntarily.

“Thus the Court upheld the government’s power to do by
trickery and surreptitious means what it was not permitted to do honestly and openly.

“It wasn’t until 1967, in a similar case involving gambling, that the Court overruled the Olmstead decision by an 8-1 margin and recognized that the Fourth Amendment applied to wiretapping and electronic surveillance.

“Interestingly, these cases arose in the context of crimes like bootlegging and gambling. During the past twenty years, the majority of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping by both state and federal officials has been in cases involving drug dealing and gambling.

“Serious crimes of violence, such as homicide, assault, rape, robbery, and burglary, are rarely the target of electronic eavesdropping, which is not normally a useful tool in such cases…

“Because such conduct essentially involves private activities among consenting adults who are all likely to want to keep those activities secret, they are harder to investigate and prosecute than crimes like robbery or burglary, in which an unwilling victim will probably aid any investigation…the invasion of privacy inherent in wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping remains with us as part of the legacy of our attempts to criminalize personal conduct.

“The other major use of electronic eavesdropping has been to punish political dissent. For decades, former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover used wiretaps and other electronic devices to spy on political figures and citizens not yet suspected of having committed a crime. He built vast dossiers on their political activities and personal lives. Special units of local police called ‘Red Squads’ did the same.”

In January 2006, on the eve of the West Coast Walk For Life in San Francisco, CA, Carol Crossed of Democrats For Life (kind enough to write the foreword to my own book, The Liberal Case Against Abortion) spoke optimistically of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

When I asked her if Roe could be overturned without Griswold v. Connecticut (the 1965 Supreme Court decision which guarantees a right to marital privacy regarding the practice of contraception) being overturned as well, Carol froze, and couldn’t answer the question!

I would have preferred it if Carol had said:  “You’re right.  Only a pervert watches someone pee, defecate, etc.  It’s wrong to put people under surveillance without their
knowledge or consent.  We shouldn’t have to resort to such draconian tactics to protect prenatal life.”

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, April 21, 2011 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

yeah, JohnMcD, its a friggen’ mess! We have zero security and encryption has been violated.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, April 21, 2011 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

I don’t like surveillance, Juan Cole, but how come the NSA isn’t mentioned once in this post?

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, April 21, 2011 at 1:15 am Link to this comment

Juan Cole:

“President Barack Obama is actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant.”

Oh my gawwwddddd, no, you’re kidding me!! Gosh, Juan, thank you so much for this info. Now how about you address the extremists who have permeated our country and our media?

(one can ask)

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JohnMcD's avatar

By JohnMcD, April 21, 2011 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Of course, we know they’ve already got permanent tabs
on a lot of people thanks to the story about the iPhone
that just leaked… now they’re explicitly in court
arguing for a “legal” cover to use this information
without any kind of warrant.  Technology alone isn’t a
reason why our individual rights and liberties must be
given up, and this really just comes down to an insatiable thirst for more power & control.

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By samosamo, April 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment


““The administration is appealing a Washington, D.C.,
federal appeals court ruling that threw out the case that law
enforcement had built against a suspected cocaine
distributor because the officers attached a global
positioning satellite tracking device to his automobile
without a warrant and then followed his movements for a
whole month. That they tracked the suspect for so long
without bothering to involve a judge was one basis for the

Wonder how those tracking this guy reacted when they
found him filling order quotas and delivering orders to those
‘elite’, political and otherwise, who are given pure free
money from the ‘drug trade’. The fact they just tracked this
person for a month and with no mention of arrest certainly
should be questioned. But it won’t because this is how the
drug trade works here in the u.s. and when some
intelligence indicates a deal, if that deal involves certain
people, there is ‘stand down’ orders issued forthwith.

Now if someone trying to break into the drug trade is
tagged and followed, then the protocol becomes the
charade of the ‘war on drugs’, but with enough ‘influence’ he
can become a part of the ‘drug trade’.

As for the tracking of people for the pure fun of it, well, at
least now, don’t all new vehicles have a gps in them that can
be used to warrantlessly track someone authorities don’t
like? If this is not so, then the home intelligence folks are
dumb as dirt. And if it isn’t so, then it will surely become a
requirement for all auto makers to provide one in every
vehicle the send out of the plant.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, April 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment


The police state is not to protect you or any of
the people of the majority population, the police
state is to protect a corrupt government against
the majority population.  Only a corrupt
EXTREMIST government that is moving against
the greater majority population choose having a
police state like what is happening today that
built up over the past 40 years, but what the
EXTREMISTS fail to recognize is that all those
police and the military are all members of the
underpaid majority population and many will
realize it is not in their best interest to destroy
the majority population, as happened when
some pilots in Qaddafi’s air force chose not to
shoot down their own citizens or in Iran when
the military stood down and the Shah of Iran
was overthrown.

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By james, April 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if they can track us then we are just a step away from a police state where the police can arrest us for being near a crime whether we werev involved or not. this is what making the government bigger and more expensive is coming to cause guess who is gonna end up paying for this tech us working stiffed will really and truely be fucked then. the airline inspectors in england are publishing the nude scans of women on porn sites as we speak. and the taxpayers in whatever country are funding it.

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By drbhelthi, April 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

As with many NAZI-type practices in the US, the GHWBushSr entourage initiated many of them in the 1960s and 1970s via the CIA and NSA. The monitoring of telephone conversations and personal movement is not new. As a USGOV employee in the 1960s I made a trip one weekend, during off-duty time. A supervisor-type chided me about it, saying I did not have approval to make the trip. Nor did she have the authority to chide me. In the 1970s, a USGOV worker told me about two square city blocks, underground on Ft. Meade, Maryland, of computers, operated by the NSA.  NSA staff illegally “listened” to telephone conversations, U.S. – Europe; among others. 

The infamous auto-secrets espionage case, GM/Opel against VW, approx. 1993- 1996, titled the “Lopez Affair,” was uncovered by the NSA, functioning in Germany, quasi legally. The NSA operated the U.S.Army spy station in Bad Aibling, Germany, and recorded telephone conversations between Mr. Lopez and VW leadership in Germany. The recordings were passed to German authorities, who used these illegal “telephone tappings” to “discover” the industrial espionage case.  Who gave the NSA authority to monitor German telephone conversations, illegal at the time?  Who decided to select-out the recordings of Mr. Lopez, from the thousands on hand?  The U.S. Army installation in Bad Aibling was shut down when the NSA went “hi-tech”. And for other reasons. 

GHWBushJr knew German Chancellor Schroeder´s position on international issues before Schroeder´s announcement.  His phones were tapped, admitted proudly by “Junior” Bush. Satellites that can read car-tags, and tune-in on conversations above-ground on earth? 
We are in 2011 and the NSA has overtaken Ft. Meade and the U.S.A. above-ground;  the rest of the world via satellite and drones.

There is no way to prevent the listening-in on our telephone conversations. All telephone service providers have been coerced into cooperation with the USGOV. Also, computerization can decode many conversations between “coded” telephones. However, the tracking of most mobile-fones is disabled by removal of the battery. Inconvenient, but it works; until you reinstall the battery, and automatically picked-up by GPS or similar.

Some Truthdiggers might be wise to buy a tiny “tuner” that detects the magnetized piggies easily attached to the ferrous metal of a car. Some of the tiny “tuners” sense a “bug” in a room, on the telephone line, or on a car, regardless of who or why it was placed. If you remove a tracking device from your car, a satellite can find it in your possession; until it is properly dis-abled.  Flushing down the toilet is one solution.  If you find one on your car, and it finds its way onto a taxi, life becomes interesting for whomever is doing the tracking.

After you have removed one from your car, continue to check daily, especially if you park at work or in your driveway. After two or three disappear from your car, someone will attempt to subtly query you, or directly confront you.  If your boss, spouse, lover or a private detective queries you, you have the answer or the beginning. If you are a USGOV “insider” who knows closely-guarded secrets, and an attractive stranger of the opposite sex approaches you, you are wise to DECLINE the bait. For a few, who are no longer among us, such was the first step to an assisted suicide. They were whistle-blowers, attempted whistle-blowers, or >suspected< of leaking closely-guarded secrets. Assassins do not care why; they simply murder. Take the case of Pat Tillman for example. Or, read the Chronicles of Chip Tatum.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, April 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Get a grip, Mack,, I never said anything at
all about anything being silly, I was only answering

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, April 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

SillyIdealists, April 20 at 4:25 pm,

GPS is not the same as being marked or implanted where you can’t
buy or sell.  GPS is fine works great in cars when you get lost.

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By Textynn, April 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh look , everyone is wearing yellow plastic earrings with numbers on them stapled onto their ears.  What do you know.  Oh that man with the badge and gun says “It’s time for your shots.”

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By Kris, April 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are tons of devices that can block electronics from transmitting or receiving
signals. Most of them are illegal in the US. You can buy anything online from china. 
Hurry, though! The DEA & dep. Of homeland security (?????)are now shutting down
websites at will. Revolution or enslavement? Think I’d rather kill some bad guys.

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By IAmBroom, April 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

While I agree with the implications for our society, the geek in me has to point out the flaws in your Star Trek analogy.

> It always disturbed me when on
> “Star Trek” the captain asked the
> ship’s computer where a crew member
> was and was told the person’s exact
> location. Even civilians such as
> the ship’s physician and the
> empathy counselor were not immune
> from these inquiries, the answers
> to which could after all sometimes
> have been embarrassing.

The Enterprise was a military defense vessel (peaceful mission or not, it was a warship). Every crew member serving on board was a Federation officer or enlisted. Dr. Crusher held the rank of Commander; Counselor Troi was promoted to this rank. It is always the right of the Captain of a ship to know the whereabouts of his crew members on-board.

Sorry if that disturbs you, but perhaps you should avoid joining the Navy, if it does.

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By Uncle B, April 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yankee Doodle squirms like a worm on a fish-hook as corporatism closes in on him, entraps him. Soon to be chipped at birth, tracked threw out his life, graded like beef, classified like eggs, by the corpocracy his government is now controlled by. Democratic? Bull Shiite! even courts allow corporate money to over-rule, determine who shouts loudest in elections! Corporations given human rights, soon to get the vote, currently control most government decisions by high pressure, high dollar lobbyist groups, influence peddlers, with more power than the peon vote at poll time, ‘for the people, by the people - Bull Shiite! Goddammit!
U,S, dollar failing fast, Asia, China in particular, bidding world prices for gasoline ever upward, soon out of reach for Yankee Doodle,Corporate fortunes siphoned off to Asia, converted to Yuan, to build Uber-modern, super-factories in Asia. Even America’s infrastructure fails, witness Detroit City, in ruins, often compared to Third World Johannesburg? Hell! America can’t even build her own cars anymore?
Surveillance knows no bounds, Modern, sophisticated electronics technologies from Asia will astound ignorant street-folk in America! To the poorly educated slobs in America, this can only be explained as ‘magic’! Just like LED TV sets, not American technology at all! Totally Asian, All done in Mandarin! not even manufactured in America! We used to make our own TV’s We led the world! WTF!
Proletariat, precariat, Chipped at the prison gates? It has so been suggested! Ordered chipped by a judge? Coming soon in America! Ankle bracelets popular now! Finger-prints now in storage, records with them, soon, file numbers will be chip numbers.

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By jltnol, April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forget about IF… we already ARE being tracked and tailed, without our knowledge
and/or consent.

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By ryan32515, April 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Seriously, this is getting beyond a joke, what happened to the word privacy?

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By SillyIdealists, April 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Martha, you don’t need to CHOOSE a mark when they can
be LEGALLY planted on your property.  Furthermore, that innocuous smartphone you (perhaps not specifically, but
you get my point) have?  Yeah, it has cellular-
assisted GPS.  It works via GPS and cell tower triangulation, and can operate even after the user has
turned it off.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, April 20, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Only if we let them.  If an individual will stand up for their individual
right not to be marked or implanted with a marker, they will not be
marked for tracking.  Nothing will be installed unless it is accepted
willingly by the individual, unless that individual is in prison where his
natural rights will most likely be ignored.  Buying and selling will be
the factor that gets people to take the implant or mark, because
without the mark one will neither be able to buy or to sell, which
means I will die when that tyranny is imposed, because I will not
willingly be marked in any way.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 20, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Now I do not own a GPS, but everyone should buy the cheapest ones they can find and ship them once a year to the White House via USPS,..... that way it will take forever to get there and then .....they would never ever know you have been spending all your spare time at the .....“Happy Hands” full body massage parlor!

Hey! ....They are watching you! 

Another idea would be to capture a goose and plant a GPS on it, .... so when Chaney shoots the goose down, ....they can send out an ambulance.

If you are so worried about it, buy a couple of GPS’s and stick one on a Greyhound, another one in a taxi and one on a Canard cruse liner!

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we are being screwed by they!

Hey, what if you bought a GPS and never used it?

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Allan Krueger's avatar

By Allan Krueger, April 20, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Seems to me that I can turn off the GPS / tracking feature in the setup menu of my phone. Am I being naive?

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By Anonymous, April 20, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am curious if you can provide any citations to back up your opening statement.  I
did not see any in the remainder of the article.  Although I am not a supporter of
unwarranted tracking, I am equally annoyed by poor reporting.

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By aprohricht, April 20, 2011 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

This is not surprising, but still entirely terrifying. The worst of it is, that we can be tracked by other devices as well.

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By robert, April 20, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I’ll go one further. How many new vehicles have the ability to be tracked (and perhaps even remotely disabled) built right into them? And I don’t mean the odious Onstar type system which allows the driver to voluntarily provide his/her exact location rather one which the security agency activates in secret at its discretion. After all it’s now Government Motors is it not?

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By SarcastiCanuck, April 20, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Wal Mart is tracking me to see if I’m shopping at K-Mart.Better toss my phone onto a moving train.That’ll fix em.Da Amerika,paranoia is ripe these days….

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Mijan's avatar

By Mijan, April 20, 2011 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Hey, I know this technically has nothing to do with the political point you’re making, but if you want to use a pop culture reference to illustrate your point, you could at least be accurate about it.

In Star Trek, all of the ship’s doctors, and even Counselor Troi, were all Starfleet officers.  They were not civilians.  In fact, they were senior officers with command training.  Both the counselor and the doctor in ST: The Next Generation were qualified to command the ship.  Additionally, being able to find out where your CREW (people who are VOLUNTARILY under your command) are on a secure, self-contained military vessel is different than tracking civilian citizens anywhere within the borders of a free nation such as the United States.

While the point of your article is intriguing, your pop culture example is inaccurate and misrepresents the problem.

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By ProfBob, April 20, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who do you blame when terrorists do their damage, you are raped or your house is burglarized? I suppose Obama would get the blame here too! Instead of just opposing all rights to privacy that were important in 1776, perhaps we’d better get a comprehensive theory of how important our privacy is in terms of not being killed or poisoned in 2011. Our safety is not always assured when our privacy is protected. We need to think through all of the options.

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, April 20, 2011 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

«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.» The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution ? But Professor Cole, isn’t that one of the quainter provisions of that quaint document, to be ignored when the need arises ? After all, Mr Obama is a constitutional lawyer, so he no doubt knows what he is doing (and in whose interests)....


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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 20, 2011 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

It always amazes me when someone newly discovers what a liar and crook Obama

Don’t you understand by now? Obama has sold out the people of this country time and
time again. He says one thing and does the exact opposite. 

His speeches are for the Rubes, who will never have sense enough to know they’ve
been had.

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By Michael, April 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The government has maintain GPS tracking into both public and private lives for years with onstar, cell phone, satelite and cable, computers, traffic overhead cameras now smartphone 3G 4G. What’s new?

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By art guerrilla, April 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1. @brian, A. yes, you can be tracked both by onboard gps,
as well as simple cell tower triangulation…  The They
can also activate the phone’s mic remotely…
B. remove the battery (turning ‘off’ don’t do squat), or
toss onto a passing truck…
C. rfid’s in passports, licenses, etc, can be, um,
improved (freedom-wise) by a sharp hammer blow, or brief
micronuking (magnets don’t do squat)...
art guerrilla
aka ann archy

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, April 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

Instead of using the GPS signals to track terrorists, they should just make all terrorists register when they enter the country and when they go out at night they should make them drag around one of those huge spot lights like they used to have in the old days for grand openings of shopping centers.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, April 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Of COURSE Obysmal is siding with the police! Somebody is going to have to protect his ass when he leaves the W.H.

That said, isn’t there technology around that would allow a person to block or scramble GPS signals? If not, why not?


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By Morpheus, April 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

That’s what happens when your government owns you.

Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( )

We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

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Tesla's avatar

By Tesla, April 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

There really is nothing to say here about this as
it is just the very predictable outgrowth of the
“war on terror” and all the “laws” passed (just to
get them damned terrorists, you understand) that
would in very short order be turned against us.

Unless you are:
a) Willing to vote out of office EVERY current
member of both Houses (both federal and state);
b) Engage in extremely disruptive civil
disobedience “en masse” to stop normal commerce;
c)  Organize and execute mass boycotts of
everything GE, Kraft, Comcast, B of A, etc.

Then shut-up, sit down and enjoy the ride. You
deserve it!

They have completely militarized our police
departments (now all basically federal police),
usurped the rightful province of state governments,
gotten people used to be invasively searched at
airports on your way to visit grand ma, children
accustomed to “lock-downs” at school, and the list
goes on and on.

Both Hitler and Stalin would turn green with envy
if they could see the intelligence gathering
apparatus of the good ole USA!

Truly, it is welcome to AmeriKa time!

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By Jimnp72, April 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Scotus has lost all credibility with me. not too long ago it was the shrub appointment, now citizens united. what next, the nra given martial powers over the citizenry?
they are the ones who should be tagged with the gps devices, so we can watch clarence and scalia scurrying around from one fascist gathering to the next.

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By gerard, April 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Tracking while I’m napping
or snacking?
How distracting!  Send them packing!
techniques paid for by government
backing tracking with the purpose of attacking
slackers, shakers, crackpots and Quakers
lacking in ways to use high-tech vectors
that could limit inspectors to correct
patterns of hacking,
chatter and legal
sneaking and peeking.
Havoc-wreaking ensnarement
and illegal curtailment
of thought, speech and act.
That’s a fact.

(Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying!)

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, April 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

As an Investigator over the past twenty-five years, as one who has directed surveillance and intelligence gathering on hundreds of individuals, I can say, without reservation, that this type of warrentless, relentless, tracking is an abomination.

I have been using GPS tracking devises longer than most people have been aware such technology exists.  When it comes to using this technology on an individual’s personal vehicle it is imperative that we obtain a court order.  It’s ALWAYS the right thing to do.

As tremendously helpful as GPS tracking can be, as frustrating as it is to lose an individual or group under surveillance, I am 100% certain that the vast majority within the intelligence community will not look positively on this type of warrentless, relentless, tracking.

This is wrong.

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By brianrouth, April 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

aren’t we all tracked anyway via our mobile phones, passports and driving

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