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Responding to the growing Orwellian trend of the authorities using surveillance technology to enforce social distancing protocols, Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said bluntly Thursday that such enforcement methods are illegal.
“We’re not talking about a bank robber running out of a bank because there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime, and you don’t need a search warrant to watch him,” he said during an appearance on FNC’s “Fox & Friends.”
What “we are talking about,” he continued, is using drone technology, as an example, to watch “people peaceably walking down the street or assembling in a public space.”
Watch the full segment below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
(Source: Fox News)
“Use of a drone to watch them and to monitor their body temperature and their heart rate is obviously a search under the Fourth Amendment,” the judge continued.
“The Supreme Court has said using drones, period, is a search. Those cases were written before this technology existed to monitor heart rates and body temperature. And searches can’t be done without a search warrant.”
The problem is that the authorities don’t seem to care.
“Now, the police claim that they are just using this to monitor group temperatures,” he said. “Is the average temperature of the group above 98.6? And we’re going to pass that on to public health authorities.”
“Yet the software that they have — it sounds so science fiction but it’s true — allows them to monitor, to zero in on an individual human being and capture that person’s heart rate and body temperature from 190 feet in the sky.”
In response to his comments, “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy drew Napolitano’s attention to the draconian surveillance measures that were imposed on the American people following the Sept. 11 terror attacks 19 years ago.
“It’s like deja vu all over again,” he said. “We all lived through, back in 2001, when they started the Patriot Act, and we were assured … it’s only going to last for 5 years,” he said. “Here we are so many years later, and we’re still being surveilled on a mass scale.”
It’s the same point that Edward Snowden, the Obama-era whistleblower who exposed the National Security Agency’s illicit international surveillance programs, noted during a recent interview with Vice magazine.
“When you talk about mass surveillance, the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping program, only part of it was shut down, and it’s rolled over and it’s rolled over and it’s rolled over,” Snowden rightly noted.
“And we’ve performed things at the edges, but the basic practices of what was supposed to be a stopgap emergency, which was in response to another stopgap emergency, was which was, of course, the legacy of 9/11 and the Patriot Act. And we are still today engaged in the same wars that we declared nearly 20 years ago that we have not managed to escape.”
Listen to the interview below:
“We have relinquished a lot of civil liberties, Steve,” Napolitano noted as the discussion on FNC continued, adding that this loss of rights is only growing even worse now because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Further, he added, the illegalities aren’t just being committed by police officers — they’re being committed by government officials.
“Because we have been compliant with the edicts issued by governors and mayors, not one of whom has the authority to write the law and assign a penalty. They have the authority to bully us, intimidate us, tell us what is right from wrong,” he bemoaned.
“Of course they’re right that we should social distance. And of course they’re right that we should wear masks. But to prevent us from sitting in our cars and protesting, to prevent us from saying of you have gone too far?”
He angrily added: “The people have the right to say that and do that, and the Constitution guarantees that. They also have the right to bodily integrity. The government can’t download medical data about you without your knowledge and consent without violating federal privacy laws that the government has sworn to uphold!”
The Chinese virus is going to turn us into a China surveillance state https://t.co/7N8ocTSenn
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) April 22, 2020
The key missing factor in all this, he continued, is the absence of choice.
“If you choose to do certain things, you accept the consequences. But if it is your choice to walk down the street, it is not your choice for the police to capture your heart rate and your temperature,” he said.
“There you have no choice. That is the essence of this: choice. I choose to go to the town square and protest against the governor. I do not choose to have them take a picture of my face and my body temperature.”
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