- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The government has petitioned the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones for unrestrained authority to access GPS devices that monitor people’s movements (“High court: warrant needed for GPS tracking,” Web, Jan. 23). Opponents envision such authority shredding Fourth Amendment guarantees to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures in one’s person, house, papers and effects.

With 21st century technology such as GPS, the KGB could have vastly enhanced its surveillance of foreigners and key Soviet citizens. GPS monitoring provides complete travel histories and computer memories provide nearly unlimited storage for real-time and historical vehicle collocations to people and places.

The KGB conducted ubiquitous, labor-intensive surveillance activities. Tactics included agents posing as foreigners, permanent listening and optical devices in restaurants and hotels, and stationary surveillance by Seventh Directorate “traffic officers,” agents in covert stations with powerful optics. They restricted foreigner travel and the travel of Soviets.

Those from NATO countries received special attention, qualifying for up to 16 surveillance teams and planted vehicle-homing devices. Restricted travel meant direction-monitoring towers provided real-time vehicle locations.

I question whether human freedom can survive technology that enables a commensurate intrusion.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.