Today all nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices agreed that a search of one’s cellphone without a warrant by a law enforcement agency is a violation of the fourth amendment and requires the obtaining of a search warrant. In Chief Justice John Roberts written opinion he stated that,“Cellphones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among members of criminal enterprises, and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals,” but, “Privacy comes at a cost.”
Upon the first reading of this decision one might think that criminals are the only ones being protected by this opinion for they may now more easily use their smartphones to set up illegal enterprises. But what about us that are politically active? Three reasons we and like-minded folks should be thankful for this decision: COINTELPRO, Project MINARET, and the FBI.
As Wikipedia can so much more eloquently explains:
COINTELPRO (an acronym for COunter INTELligencePROgram) was a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.National Security Agency operation Project MINARET targeted the personal communications of leading Americans who criticized the Vietnam War, including Senators (e.g., Frank Church and Howard Baker), civil rights leaders (e.g., Dr. Martin Luther King), journalists, and athletes.
Do a good read-up on COINTELPRO and Project MINARET, which took place from the 1956 to 1971, and tell me that your not in support of this decision. Could you imagine if J. Edgar Hoover ever got MLK’s or the Students for a Democratic Society’s smartphones what changes in history may have occurred?