This page discusses four situations in which individuals are being unlawfully asked for private information. It would be beneficial for many individuals to push back against these intrusions and spread the word that these violations are occurring.
- Newborn Genetic Screening Mandate
- Newborn DNA
- Birth Certificates
- Health Care Questionnaires
“Whoever the suspect turns out to be, he has effectively been tailed every moment of every day for five years, and the police may — in the Government’s view — call upon the results of that surveillance without regard to the constraints of the Fourth Amendment. Only the few without cell phones could escape this tireless and absolute surveillance.”
–Chief Justice Roberts, describing the time-travel capabilities of cell-site location information, Carpenter v. US, 585 US __ (2018).
Privacy is a constitutional right.
“The word “privacy” isn’t in the Constitution, but it’s still a fundamental right. The right to privacy is rooted in the Fourth 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…”
Privacy is so fundamental to American values that Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts argued it ignited the American Revolution.[i] In the late 1700s, British officers would enter a private home, by force if necessary, and rummage through personal effects and papers, looking for a way to make a criminal case against the resident.
The Court tells us the basic purpose of the Fourth Amendment is “to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials.”[ii] And that “a central aim of the framers was to place obstacles in the way of a too-permeating police surveillance.”[iii]
The scope of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of privacy has been debated over the centuries, but the intent of stopping tyranny — arbitrary power and 24/7 surveillance – is within the scope of constitutionally guaranteed privacy. SCOTUS has determined the government is involved in a Fourth Amendment search if it is collecting everything it can, engaging in 24/7 monitoring, using GPS tracking on a vehicle that can be turned on at will, “spike miking” your home to catch all the audio, and (most recently) collecting cell phone location data. The court always draws the line for privacy when information is gathered by “pervasive tracking,” “detailed and comprehensive record of a person’s movement,” “ever alert,” “exhaustive,” with a “memory that is nearly infallible.”
One of the most recent U.S. Supreme Court cases to address privacy declared it was unconstitutional for the federal government to get data from cell phone records without a warrant. The case was considered a curve ball in privacy jurisprudence because the government could simply subpoena information without a warrant if a defendant had shared that information with a third party like a bank or telephone company. The importance here is whether the government is going on a fishing expedition by requesting documents with court permission during an investigation (a subpoena), or whether they’re fairly certain the information is evidence of a crime but they don’t yet have access (a warrant).
When the Constitution was written in 1787, papers and effects were mostly physical objects, which would be safeguarded within the home. This is important because there was no internet at the time of the writing of the constitution. There was no cloud storage, no cell phones, and no GPS. Americans rejected tyranny through unfettered access to personal information at the time the Constitution was written and the Supreme Court has upheld that expectation. But the courts only uphold our rights once law is written, actions are taken, or harms are done. Laws diminishing privacy have been front and center in America for decades, especially after September 11, 2001.” – Stand for Health Freedom
Newborn (Genetic Screening)
“Every state has a mandatory newborn screening program to test for serious genetic traits and disorders in newborns. However, no consent is required to have them done. ” – Read more the Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom website. In Minnesota you can OPT-OUT of this screening, due to previous successful lawsuits brought against the state government.
Newborn DNA Storage
“Many states, including Minnesota store the newborn’s DNA and share it with researchers without parent consent, indefinitely. Parents are also not told about the storage of their baby’s blood spots (DNA). state health departments have begun to store newborn blood spots (Baby DNA) and newborn genetic test results and claim them as state government property. The test results are placed in a state laboratory database (genetic registry). In Minnesota, there are more than 1.5 million children listed with their genetic test results in the state’s database. There are over 900,000 Minnesota children whose DNA is warehoused by the State with at least 70,000 children added per year. The primary purpose for long-term storage of baby DNA and newborn genetic test results is research.” – Read more at the Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom website here and here.
“In the past, a child’s birth certificate was relatively simple, with basic data such as name and sex of child, name of mother and/or father, home address, name of hospital, city of birth, and date of birth. Today, using the child’s birth as an opportunity, states collect a wide array of data, from various medical forms, on children, mothers and families, such as education levels, race, behaviors, last employment and income. “Birth Certificate Worksheets,” labor, delivery, prenatal and mother’s medical records are used to gather the data. This data is used to conduct research and analysis without parent consent.” – Read more at the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom website.
Health Care Questionnaires
Learn about those pesky and lengthy questionnaire forms that have little to do with your actual treatment or diagnosis – you have the right to refuse.
Have you noticed that the census questions continue to become more invasive?They ask questions about –
- your disabilities
- your income
- where you get income from
- your housing costs
- how many cars you own
- how much you pay for insurance
- if you receive food stamps
- if you pay for utilities
The constitutions allows us to be counted once every ten years, and not more. For the government to interact with you in this way (census), the constitution must give the government authorization to do that. The government does not have authorization to demand private information from you, or even your name.
Here are a few questions that the census bureau has been asked but has declined to answer:
- From where does the census bureau derive authority to demand private information?
- Is there a limit to the amount or type of private information that the census bureau may demand?
- The fourth amendment prohibits government search and seizure (of private information), without a warrant based on probably cause. Current census policies violate that, correct?
- By what constitutional authority does the census bureau threaten penalties for failure to provide private information?
- The bureau claims it maintains privacy of private information. Are there circumstances under which law enforcement or agencies can access this information?
- Since census data may be subpoenaed, may individuals refuse to answer questions under the fifth amendment?
- with what constitutional authority has the bureau decided to collect GPS coordinate for every home?
- Every government database has been hacked or compromised. Would the census bureau’s claim to data security be a falsehood or highly improbable?
- How would the bureau locate, protect and compensate individuals whose data becomes compromised?