Monday, June 21, 2004

Supreme Court Rips Away Another Right of Privacy

AP - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that people do not have a constitutional right to refuse to tell police their names. The 5-4 decision frees the government to arrest and punish people who won't cooperate by revealing their identity.

The decision was a defeat for privacy rights advocates who argued that the government could use this power to force people who have done nothing wrong, other than catch the attention of police, to divulge information that may be used for broad data base searches...

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said America is different 36 years after the Terry decision. "In a modern era, when the police get your identification, they are getting an extraordinary look at your private life." Tim Lynch, an attorney with the libertarian-oriented think tank Cato Institute, said the court "ruled that the government can turn a person's silence into a criminal offense."

"Ordinary Americans will be hopelessly confused about when they can assert their right to 'remain silent' without being jailed like Mr. Hiibel," he said.

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