Allo and the 4th Amendment

BY T.F. STERN

There’s a new program available from Google for Messaging, it’s called Allo and the download is free according to their promotion.

“Google will use that data to improve parts of the app, such as its smart replies feature. That will allow the app to read through conversations and try and work out how people talk – it can then use that data to suggest what they might want to say to their friends.”

Wonderful, now your smart phone can figure out what you might say before you’ve come up with the words on your own…But that’s not nearly as important as Google storing everything you’ve said so they can plan a marketing strategy based on your interests.

Unlike other messaging programs, Google will save everything you say… Forever.

“… By keeping track of all messages, Allo conversations will be accessible by law enforcement with warrants…”

The courts have ignored the intent of our Founders when they wrote down the Bill of Rights to be added to our Constitution.  These black robed jurists somehow think that electronic conversations aren’t covered the same way as other forms of communication.  After all, Thomas Jefferson didn’t have a Smart Phone so those aren’t the same as letters mailed or hand delivered during correspondence.

4th Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Government agencies have been ignoring the 4th Amendment for so long now as to make it obsolete.

Go to any airport and watch as passengers awaiting boarding are randomly pulled out of line for invasive body searches.  There is no probable cause for searches, no warrant from a judge…but it’s for the safety of everyone… so we ‘voluntarily’ abandon the 4th Amendment because it might stop an Islamic Terrorist from taking out the Empire State Building while murdering hundreds of innocent citizens.

Under the same pretense of protecting us from Islamic Terrorists, substitute ‘other dangers’ if that term makes you uncomfortable, the NSA listens in on just about every conversation that hits the air.  Supposedly they only listen in on folks considered terrorists;  but… that opens the door to listening in on just about anyone for just about any reason.

According to Edward Snowden, famous for leaking more information than was thought possible, government agencies listen in, with or without warrants and keep everything they come across, doesn’t matter what it is, it gets filed away.  Someday they might use that information to embarrass or humiliate someone running for high office… Nah, that would never happen.

Then there’s the idea that the 4th Amendment isn’t in play if you are within a hundred miles of the border or point of entry into the country.  That must have been part of the digital recording that Thomas Jefferson had deleted when he and the other Founders were formulating the best ways to protect individual God given inalienable rights.

As a police officer it was part of my job to inform you that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, it’s part of the Miranda Warning given to suspects upon their arrest.

In our day you had better understand that anything you say can and will be used…for what ever Google, its advertisers or the government wants to do with it.  You have no rights in a totalitarian police state.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.