The 3rd Party Doctrine is being used as justification for what many call an unlawful “Dragnet” of Gov’t Surveillance of the American People. The 3rd Party Doctrine’s argument "rests on the need to maintain the technological neutrality of 4th Amendment protections... It offers a way to maintain the balance of police power... It ensures that the same basic level of constitutional protection applies regardless of technology." http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_data_question...
A comparison to a world without 3rd parties is often used for examples in the arguments. For instance, in the case of phone records Metadata, the comparison is used whereas in a world without 3rd parties, a person would need to physically go to another person’s house, for example, in order to carry out a conversation. If that person however was a suspect, the police or gov’t agency carrying out an investigation would only be able to follow the suspect to wherever they go and then see them disappear in a building, for example. However, in a world using 3rd parties the person can simply just make a phone call. So the 3rd Party Doctrine says that the police or investigative agency should have access to the same type of information they would otherwise be able to get in a world without 3rd parties such as knowing who the suspect called and the duration of the call.
So, many of us understand the idea of the gov’t having access to this Metadata information without a warrant. But also we can similarly apply the principal of the doctrine such that in a world without 3rd parties, the police or gov’t agency would only be able to know future calls, when, and duration AFTER the person becomes a suspect, NOT PRIOR, since for the world without 3rd parties environment, it is most likely only possible to follow someone AFTER they become a person of interest.
However, the gov't, is trying to convince everyone that it is ok and consistent with the 3rd Party Doctrine and 4th Amendment for them to gather and store this Metadata for what we are told can be up to 5years in the past. And then when someone somehow becomes suspect at some point in the future for something, all of their past, present, and future Metadata can be viewed. This is the very concern that Edward Snowden made in his disclosures.
The concern is that this type of surveillance and storage is NOT consistent with the same 3rd Party Doctrine principal of technological neutrality and therefore is considered by many, who are familiar with the 3rd Party Doctrine, to be in violation of the 4th Amendment. Just because technology enables the gov't to look into past Metadata, doesn’t mean they should or that it’s legal when they try to hide behind the 3rd Party Doctrine. This interpretation by the gov’t serves to instead be technologically unbalanced as it favors the police state to have more of an advantage over the individual with the technology versus without.
To be consistent with the 3rd Party Doctrine, many believe that collection of current Metadata should only be allowed on a very short term basis, and retained on Americans for a very short time period, say no more than 1 month for example, for those who aren't under some type of "suspicion".
There are other issues that I can mention for which it appears the gov’t is trying to use the 3rd Party Doctrine for justification of its surveillance efforts, but one of the most compelling is the consideration of the ubiquitous advantage that the gov’t now has due to the technology for which would otherwise be impossible without 3rd parties. All of this legal jibber jabber trying to get us to buy into the idea that we have no reasonable expectation of privacy in these matters of massive Metadata is absurd in my opinion. The ability for the gov’t to record everything, everywhere, all the time in a world without 3rd parties as a comparison would have been impossible. So how do the gov’t agencies come to the conclusion that they can use the 3rd Party Doctrine for legal justification to do these sorts of things now, recently revealed during the course of congressional activity?
I wonder if lawmakers even considered these types of applications of the 3rd Party Doctrine when those decided to vote No on the Amash amendment which would have defunded the NSA for what many here consider unconstitutional and unlawful acts of surveillance being carried out at this very moment.
-LibertyG ... 2 Corinthians 2:16-17 "To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who make a trade(for profit) but as those with sincerity...
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