“We Don’t Need No Stinking Warrant!”

Police SC We Don’t Need No Stinking Warrant!

When Golden Valley Electric Association of rural Alaska got an administrative subpoena from the Drug Enforcement Administration in December 2010 seeking electricity bill information on three customers, the company did what it usually does with subpoenas — it ignored them.

That’s the association’s customer privacy policy, because administrative subpoenas aren’t approved by a judge.

But by law, utilities must hand over customer records — which include any billing and payment information, phone numbers and power consumption data — to the DEA without court warrants if drug agents believe the data is “relevant” to an investigation. So the utility eventually complied, after losing a legal fight earlier this month.

Meet the administrative subpoena (.pdf): With a federal official’s signature, banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers — virtually all businesses — are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation. Via a wide range of laws, Congress has authorized the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment — the constitutional guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that requires a probable-cause warrant signed by a judge.

Read more at Wired. By David Kravets.

 

Photo credit: Sumi-l (Creative Commons)

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Comments

  1. Let's add this to the long list of administrative rules, unconstitutional laws, presidential directives,etc,etc that the new administration (hopefully with a Republican Senate) must eradicate as their first priority.

  2. Edwardkoziol says:

    These are Obutholes gestapo rules and Eichman Holder will carry them out.People wake up this jabony in the white house is no damn good.

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