Montana Supreme Court Notes
Ability to Track Everyone
James C. Nelson was asked to rule a case where a suspect's trash that had been
discarded. The contention was whether the evidence contained within someone's
trash can be used against them in a court of law. While Justice Nelson affirmed,
he felt compelled to express the growing realm of trackability and loss of freedom,
issues that are covered in this document.
This is a fitting Opinion for inclusion in the Vanishing Point document since
the ability to locate wanted individuals by their purchasing habits is always
just around the corner, lacking only the motivation to instigate such measures.
The technology is already there with -- as the Justice notes -- "discount
cards" that are used by so many people to purchase their foods and other
Justice James C. Nelson concurs.
I have signed our Opinion because we have correctly applied existing legal theory
and constitutional jurisprudence to resolve this case on its facts.
I feel the pain of conflict, however. I fear that, eventually, we are all going
to become collateral damage in the war on drugs, or terrorism, or whatever war
is in vogue at the moment. I retain an abiding concern that our Declaration of
Rights not be killed by friendly fire. And, in this day and age, the courts are
the last, if not only, bulwark to prevent that from happening.
In truth, though, we are a throw-away society. My garbage can contains the remains
of what I eat and drink. It may contain discarded credit card receipts along with
yesterday's newspaper and junk mail. It might hold some personal letters, bills,
receipts, vouchers, medical records, photographs and stuff that is imprinted with
the multitude of assigned numbers that allow me access to the global economy and
My garbage can contains my DNA.
As our Opinion states, what we voluntarily throw away, what we discard--i.e.,
what we abandon--is fair game for roving animals, scavengers, busybodies, crooks
and for those seeking evidence of criminal enterprise.
Yet, as I expect with most people, when I take the day's trash (neatly packaged
in opaque plastic bags) to the garbage can each night, I give little consideration
to what I am throwing away and less thought, still, to what might become of my
refuse. I don't necessarily envision that someone or something is going to paw
through it looking for a morsel of food, a discarded treasure, a stealable part
of my identity or a piece of evidence. But, I've seen that happen enough times
to understand--though not graciously accept--that there is nothing sacred in whatever
privacy interest I think I have retained in my trash once it leaves my control--the
Fourth Amendment and Article II, Sections 10 and 11, notwithstanding.
Like it or not, I live in a society that accepts virtual strip searches at airports;
surveillance cameras; "discount" cards that record my buying habits;
bar codes; "cookies" and spywear on my computer; on-line access to satellite
technology that can image my back yard; and microchip radio frequency identification
devices already implanted in the family dog and soon to be integrated into my
groceries, my credit cards, my cash and my new underwear.
I know that the notes from the visit to my doctor's office may be transcribed
in some overseas country under an out-sourcing contract by a person who couldn't
care less about my privacy. I know that there are all sorts of businesses that
have records of what medications I take and why. I know that information taken
from my blood sample may wind up in databases and be put to uses that the boilerplate
on the sheaf of papers I sign to get medical treatment doesn't even begin to disclose.
I know that my insurance companies and employer know more about me than does my
mother. I know that many aspects of my life are available on the Internet. Even
a black box in my car--or event data recorder as they are called--is ready and
willing to spill the beans on my driving habits, if I have an event--and I really
trusted that car, too.
And, I also know that my most unwelcome and paternalistic relative, Uncle Sam,
is with me from womb to tomb. Fueled by the paranoia of "ists" and "isms,"
Sam has the capability of spying on everything and everybody--and no doubt is.
But, as Sam says: "It's for my own good."
In short, I know that my personal information is recorded in databases, servers,
hard drives and file cabinets all over the world. I know that these portals to
the most intimate details of my life are restricted only by the degree of sophistication
and goodwill or malevolence of the person, institution, corporation or government
that wants access to my data.
I also know that much of my life can be reconstructed from the contents of my
I don't like living in Orwell's 1984; but I do. And, absent the next extinction
event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being
more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep Sam and the sub-Sams
on a short leash.
As our Opinion states, search and seizure jurisprudence is centered around privacy
expectations and reasonableness considerations. That is true even under the extended
protections afforded by Montana's Constitution, Article II, Sections 10. and 11.
We have ruled within those parameters. And, as is often the case, we have had
to draw a fine line in a gray area. Justice Cotter and those who have signed the
Opinion worked hard at defining that line; and I am satisfied we've drawn it correctly
on the facts of this case and under the conventional law of abandonment.
That said, if this Opinion is used to justify a sweep of the trash cans of a neighborhood
or community; or if a trash dive for Sudafed boxes and matchbooks results in DNA
or fingerprints being added to a forensic database or results in personal or business
records, credit card receipts, personal correspondence or other property being
archived for some future use unrelated to the case at hand, then, absent a search
warrant, I may well reconsider my legal position and approach to these sorts of
cases--even if I have to think outside the garbage can to get there.
/S/ JAMES C. NELSON
must be noted that there are many
other ways to track you and me.
are a few:
Your surfing on the web IS tracked and stored. Who uses it, and for what motive,
is not entirely known I am sure.
Your photo scene of your home on Google.
Your location when passing under a stop light offense camera at intersections.
It has been reported that you can spray your license plate with clear paint, and
the camera will not detect it. It may have to be something special. I have no
need to do this personally. You also may cover the plate with a plastic sheet
inside an outer frame.
Your face recognition virtually anywhere, especially in stores. In many cities,
cameras abound which could be connected to facial recognition technology.
Your credit card use, which has been noted above.
Your cell phone. It can be turned on from a distance and used to listen to you
or anyone near you, even though the phone does not show it is "on."
One way to tell when your cell phone is sending when it is off, or when you have
not told it to send anything, is to put the antenna of a walkie talkie next to
the cell phone. If the walkie talkie goes on, and you here static, your cell phone
is sending. What, and to whom, and by whose command, are unknown to you. This
works-- we did it.
Some cell phones, if turned on clandestinely, can send your GPS location, thus
pin pointing you on the map.
The TV channels you watch on cable TV are tracked.
Every time you give your phone number to get a discount card, or when the hardware
store asks for it, you may be tagged by someone in high places.
It is only a matter of time before someone invents a electromagnetic field "fingerprint"
on every person. This may also be done with brainwaves. You will then be easy
to track by EMF detectors.
All toll road payment tags, which are detected by camera, are undoubtedly available
in a data base for the authorities to use to track you.
If someone is desperate to nail you for something, they can get your DNA if you
spit, urinate in the woods, or from any body fluids left anywhere by you. Bill
Clinton went through a period when he had to keep all cups he drank out of and
clean every place he might have left body fluids because of the Monica debacle.
There were people trying to nail him regarding semen on a garment belonging to
Scanning your Post Office mail could be done (the outside of the envelope). There
are scanners that read handwriting quite well. You may want to send snail mail
through a third party, or put no return address on letters.
You could be tracked by patterns of typos you make in writing. I have not heard
of this yet, but I am sure it has been done in the past.
I trust you already know that words you use in blogs of web sites are being scanned
by the Echelon dictionary which has been in use by US security agencies for many
In about 2001 I visited a man who had retired from the both the US Military and
civilian military government service. He said that when he was in their employment,
he was told that a satellite could read the shoulder patch on a soldier's uniform.
He concluded they could do much better than that because the official information
is never as extreme as the truth. Thus, since 2001, he concluded a satellite in
space could read a postage stamp laying on a table outdoors.
Your conversation can be detected from virtually any distance from your home or
vehicle if the detector has line of sight. This is done by bouncing a laser beam
off of your sliding glass door. The glass reacts as a diaphragm and vibrates in
response to your speech. The laser detection device translates this and records
it. This is what is KNOWN. What is not known and still secret? No one knows that.
It is possible to pick up a conversation from a great distance with high tech
microphones. This has been around for about fifty years and is easily purchased.
The distance depends on how much you pay for the toy. How far away government
agencies can do this is unknown for obvious reasons.
Finally, in case you have been on vacation to Mars for the past ten years, anything
you do in the light, OR IN THE DARK, can be photographed by a cell phone and put
up on YouTube. Infra red photography is becoming cheaper and cheaper. The government
is not the culprit in this trick. It is any idiot passing by who sees you doing
something he considers of interest to the worldwide web.
Your land line phone can be turned on and used to listen to you when you have
the receiver "hung up." This is very old technology. The only way you
can be sure it is really off is if it has a mechanical disconnect, or if you pull
Every time you swipe your credit card, your location is detected and stored. Credit
card companies do this so that if your number is used in two locations at the
same time, it will be blocked to protect you from fraud. The information is obviously
available to government agencies also, and even marketing and advertising groups
may use it to track your interests and target you for mailings.
Your driver's license, credit card, and passport (for sure) may have a chip embedded
in them to detect your information by a remote device. This speeds up movement
for travel and gives you a fool proof ID. But, it can also be scanned easily with
equipment available for sale online, and the data used to empty your bank account
or rob your ID from you. Obviously, government agencies will do more and more
electromagnetic detecting as the years go by. To avoid detection and theft, cover
the card or passport with heavy aluminum foil.
It is not yet common, but retinal eye detection will be coming. When we go to
get a driver's license, we will have our retina photographed (if they don't already
do it), and that will be used by security cameras to recognize us as we walk in
going into less emotional issues, I have a suggestion-- when you make love to
your wife, carry all cell phones to the other end of the house (or remove the
batteries), close the drapes AND blinds, unplug the land line phone, turn off
your computer, and pull the cable TV connection.
are ways to avoid detection of course, but the more blank spots you make-- the
more your footprints that are missing-- the more desperately the Hidden Hand will
target you. Anyone who suddenly stops leaving tracks will be considered dangerous.
I would suggest that, if you are entering an area that you do not want anyone
to know you entered, leave your cell phone in the car and wear sun glasses.
you want to make decoy tracks, it may be useful to pay for a cell phone and mail
it to yourself from far away, or send it to a friend, and ask him to return it
is not a matter of duck and cover as it was long ago. It is now a matter of disconnecting
with the world visibly and virtually. This has become more and more difficult.
If your family is being threatened for God fearing zeal on your part, you may
have to consider sending the family into another country. It may be that your
family can find friends in your own country who will sustain them, but they will
not be safe going out to do any of their own shopping, and they will not be able
to communicate with you.
hiding should only be done as a last resort. If you have done evil, you deserve
to be caught, but if you are being tracked for walking in a godly way which offends
someone, you are wise to have a plan to disappear. You may also want to think
of a way to send a ghost of yourself away from your location. I am not the expert
on that, but some Googling should produce some ideas.
buying something you do not want to be known to buy, you are at a great disadvantage.
You may pay with cash, but if there is a store camera, and the item you buy is
sensitive for any reason, you WILL be tracked. Buying ammo with cash may even
be tagged via the cash register and the camera (facial identification software,)
and your choice of cash payment may be seen as threatening.
you want to have a totally confidential discussion with someone, the safest way
it so write notes back and forth (INDOORS), and then destroy them. You must be
able to assume that there are no cameras in the location. A verbal conversation
is reasonably safe outdoors in a huge wide open area. Obama and Emanuel Rahm have
all their confidential discussions outdoors. Obviously, take the battery out of
your cell phone when you do this.
this-- Virtually ALL tricks to track you and listen to you, and even detect your
thoughts, were invented for innocent or legitimate reasons. Criminals are more
devious now days, and terrorists are using high tech tricks to go undetected.
So, it is only reasonable that government agencies will want to stay ahead of
these creeps. But, here is the rub-- when government agencies decide to define
a Bible believer, an anti-abortionist, etc as a high risk person, you may be tracked.
Reno said, long ago, that Fundamental Christians are terrorists. Homeland Security
now considers returned and discharged US soldiers as potential terrorists. This
brings up the question, "What are government employees being taught? How
are their minds being twisted?" Twisted minds are paranoid minds, and paranoid
minds don't trust the most harmless person at all. There IS a mindset in high
places that finds Bible believers very dangerous. Also, people who do their own
thinking are considered dangerous.
we must all assume that we are being watched and tracked for some reason, even
if it is only to learn which brand of tortillas we prefer. This tracking is done
for so many evil and harmless reasons that we can never know how famous or infamous
we are :-)
article HAS TO BE in the data base now. Greetings, dear snoop !!
thing you will never experience though-- the detection people will never talk
back to you, and you will never know who they are. You will be arrested or accused
of something, and arrangements which are totally isolated from the technology
used will be said to be how they "caught up with you." You will get
a catalog in the mail, and it will be for something totally alien to your way
of life. Don't panic-- some idiot company simply did not pay enough for their
mailing list software.
for you conspiratorialists, your worst enemy is NOT government agencies-- it is
your neighbor or another employee where you work. It is the hacker who is looking
for a way to blackmail you or rob your bank account. It is the kid with a cell
phone who sees you urinate in the woods. It is the virus that enters your computer
and jerks it into the cloud of spam processors.
is not a nice world anymore. It is very hard to find a place where you can be
sure you are alone. It is frustrating to know that your most intimate moment with
your wife may be listened to from a distance.
is the world that Messiah, Jesus Christ, will cleanse. I am convinced that technology
will not be part of the coming Kingdom of Christ.
am sorry I did not tell you much about hiding. I simply wanted to tell you what
you may need to hide FROM. How you hide is up to you. Whether you NEED to hide
is also important.
you have nothing to hide right now, and you have no reason to believe your Christians
zeal has been defined as dangerous, DO NOT HIDE. People who keep dropping off
the grid may become suspects for simply not showing up for a long time. That is
how creepy the world is now.
10:20 (KJV) Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich
in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which
hath wings shall tell the matter.
all this detection technology has given us a great way to witness the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. It may be possible soon to stand virtually anywhere on the planet,
speak the words "bomb" and "Jihad," and the recorders will
all turn on. After a pause, read them Chapter Three of the Gospel of John. Someone
will HAVE to listen to see if some encrypted message will follow.
can use their technology to preach the Gospel to the lost, and they will pay for
Corinthians 9:20 (KJV) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain
the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain
them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law,
(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain
them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain
the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with
is someone from whom you cannot hide, not even the deepest thoughts of your mind--
139:7 (KJV) Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in
hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell
in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and
thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover
me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not
from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both
alike to thee.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in
my mother's womb.
Bible believer who is right with God, as David was in Psalm 139-- he who is eager
to BE known of God, will be of no harm to anyone but the wicked and Satan himself.
That is just as it should be. If, in keeping yourself right with God, you find
yourself the adversary of evil men, or of human government, you must continue
in the way of God. If in this path (not the path of rebellion against God), you
find it useful to hide from the adversary, do so. If you can use the adversary's
intrusion to turn it to the glory of God, do so.
the high ground in every battle.
have one more issue I need to deal with-- Are YOU snooping on people unethically?
a Bible believer, you have NO business gathering information on other people for
any reason other than self-defense. If other men are doing evil to you or your
family, then go for it-- try to get the jump on them. But, if you hate to be spied
on by other people, then you are wicked to carelessly poke your hypocritical nose
into their domain. I don't care what your excuse is, stop it, you creep.
101:3 (KJV) I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them
that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
don't need to know every evil thing going on in this world, even if you CAN find