If you watch television you’ve probably seen your share of cop or crime shows. There are two things that always stand out to me. First, almost everyone talks to the cops without a lawyer. (Dumb.) Second, the police are always using a suspect’s cell phone or car GPS to track them down.
The real America is not much different. It is a land where the police can set up a road block just about anywhere, for any reason, (sobriety checkpoints for example) and proceed to justify stopping, questioning, or searching any or every vehicle or its occupants based on their “on the spot judgment.” With most of America embracing–or at least not objecting–to that kind of arbitrary fourth amendment abuse, why not extend it to electronic surveillance as well?
All they’d need is a hunch to justify encroaching on your property to secure tracking devices or to use any available RFI or GPS signal (including ones generated by your cell phone or car), to track your movements. Creepy. Police state creepy. Big Brother creepy.
So along comes New Hampshire’s HB 445-FN , an act “relative to the regulation of electronic tracking devices.“ A boot, even if it is just a small one, on Big Brothers big fat neck.
I. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall use an electronic tracking device to track an individual without the consent of the individual or the parent or legal guardian of the individual, or a valid court order.
II. No individual shall be offered an incentive, denied an opportunity, or in any way treated by a person differently from any other individual as a consequence of providing or withholding such consent.
There are exemptions worth reading, but also take note that this applies to any “person,” not just the police or the government.
“Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability corporation, association, foundation, joint venture, government, government subdivision, agency or instrumentality, public corporation, or any other legal or commercial entity.
Once more, read the exemptions, which permit certain uses of the non-creepy variety.
The fine for a violation is (relatively) paltry, $1000.00, but the victim or the state could also hold violators responsible for any actual damages and all court fees if found guilty–far from paltry. This may or may not serve as a disincentive but what is more important is that your state is offering to stand between you and a Federal government that has demonstrated a capricious disregard for equality under the law and a willingness to target (aka; intimidate) any group or person that publicly disagrees with them on matters of policy. Even detain us for any reason at all.
And tracking our movements for any reason that can be imagined is so KGB creepy I can’t say it often enough. It is an invitation to make a case for suspicion, intimidation, questioning, detention, or worse. So we need all the help we can get.
A bill like HB 445-FN is the right approach. The nature of our Republic demands that Governors and state legislatures protect their citizens from arbitrary abuses of power by the central government (not just their own). That includes John Lynch, whose only stand against federal overreach that I can recall is National ID. His job, however, that of any Governor, is to execute the laws of his state before those of the general government whenever the peoples legislature has enacted statutes to protect them from the Feds.
I am not aware of Governor Lynch’s position on the bill. And HB 445-FN was referred for interim study last session. But it needs to get back into committee for a vote and onto the House floor. It is imperative that public agencies be required to demonstrate probable cause to a court and obtain a warrant before they are allowed to spy on you. That is what HB 445-FN asks. (I also confess to being very interested in what our Democrat friends think of this.)
Contact your legislators and encourage them to help get this legislation moving. email@example.com