Judge Andrew Napolitano, speaking with Stuart Varney on Fox Business this week, passionately denounces the United States Department of Homeland Security effort to indiscriminately track our movements with automated license plate readers. Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board Member, explains for Varney the problem with the tracking:
Varney: What’s wrong with a police department — an instrument of government — taking a picture of a license plate, shooting it up to a satellite, a database, and back comes the information on whether this is a good guy or a bad guy? I don’t see what’s wrong with that.
Napolitano: Because the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution puts a bar on the ability of police to commence an investigation, and they have to jump over that bar, and that bar is called “articulable suspicion.” So, if they think there is something wrong — that the person driving the car is a bad guy, they can check it out. But, they cannot willy-nilly check out anything they want. The reason for that clause in the Fourth Amendment is to ensure that the police will only go after people when there’s a reasonable suspicion that they’re doing something wrong. They cannot commence an investigation of anybody they want. Otherwise, that brings us to East Germany.
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