argue against the strawman of combining “100 percent privacy and 100 percent security.” We've seen the Director of National Intelligence and apologists point to federal statutes that allegedly permit the behavior. And, on the brighter side, we've seen Sen. Rand Paul introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act.Last week The Guardian and The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency collects information on the phone and Internet habits of millions of Americans. Since then we've seen President Barack Obama
The Fourth Amendment didn’t become dead letter overnight. The NSA’s unprecedented access to Americans’ personal data may have been top secret, but the Fourth Amendment’s been getting pummeled for years out in the open. Here are four other ways Americans' rights to security in their persons, houses, papers, and effects have been eroded:
1. By plane or by train, the TSA’s got you by the balls.
In colonial America, writs of assistance were essentially general search warrants for officials of the British crown. Issued by the king, they allowed the bearer broad search powers to find contraband and goods subject to customs laws. After the American revolution, the founders reacted to this practice by enshrining a prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment and its counterparts in state constitutions.
A quarter of a millennium later, federal agents from the Transportation Security Administration don’t need any warrant to engage in the kinds of fishing expeditions that British officials went on, albeit in the name of safety and not the purse of the crown. TSA agents have broad powers to maintain security checkpoints at airports and, increasingly, at train stations and other transportation centers. And that's not the only threat to travelers: Other federal agents have carved out a broad Fourth Amendment exemption while operating within 100 miles of the U.S. border.
NEXT: As long as it's reasonable, right?