You May Think You Have Nothing to Hide … But You Are Still Breaking Laws Which Government Spying Could Discover and Use Against You

You Break the Law Every Day … Without Even Knowing It

Wired notes:

James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:

Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”

If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?

As Supreme Court Justice Breyer elaborates:

The complexity of modern federal criminal law, codified in several thousand sections of the United States Code and the virtually infinite variety of factual circumstances that might trigger an investigation into a possible violation of the law, make it difficult for anyone to know, in advance, just when a particular set of statements might later appear (to a prosecutor) to be relevant to some such investigation.

For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.

If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.

Attorney Harvey Silverglate says that the average American commits 3 felonies every day … without even knowing it.

And that’s just federal laws.

Crazy State Laws

There are a lot of crazy state and local laws:
Practicing New York attorney Nathan Belofsky has gathered a bunch of them.

Do you imagine that it is possible for you to go through life without violating a federal, state or local law? It’s impossible.

As Stalin’s notorious chief of secret police famously said:

Show me the man and I will find the crime.

Blurring the Lines Between Average Americans and Bad Guys

Law enforcement is blurring the lines between average Americans and potential terrorists.

As such, even normal people can fall under unwarranted suspicion in America today.

NSA Spying Can Trap You In Suspected Wrongdoing

Top NSA whistleblower William Binney – the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – has repeatedly explained that just because you “haven’t done anything wrong” doesn’t mean you can’t be severely harmed by spying:

The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.

Binney explains that the government is storing everything, and creating a searchable database … to be used whenever it wants, for any purpose it wants (even just going after someone it doesn’t like).

And he notes that the government will go after anyone who is on its enemies list:

If you ever get on their enemies list, like Petraeus did, then you can be drawn into that surveillance.

Similarly, Edward Snowden said:

Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude … to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody – even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.

[If people don’t oppose the surveillance state now] it will be turnkey tyranny.

Remember, it’s not just the NSA which is spying on your. Numerous government agencies are spying on all of your data, and sharing that information with federal, state and local law enforcement, the drug enforcement agency, the IRS and many others. So if any of those agencies thinks – rightly or wrongly – that you might have broken a law, they might target you.

Get it?

Mass surveillance is incredibly dangerous … and no one is immune.

Many of the crazy laws which are on the books are normally not enforced.  But there are two systems of justice in Americaone for the fatcats, and one for everyone else.

So if someone in law enforcement takes a dislike to you – for whatever reason – they could easily harass you with laws or interpretations which are seldom enforced.

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  • Tonto

    As they are passed by legislatures nationwide all the laws on the books are heralded to reassure everyone of the scientific-ness of our legal systems. This legislative over-kill supposedly demonstrates the preponderance of evidence, as a proof of the civic and civil nature of our society.

    The truth is faked for us, until one day, one is caught up in the preponderance of that evidence, when just like the Space Shuttle Challenger blowing up and the Columbia disintegrating, we find that the preponderance of the evidence means nothing, and it is our own sorry life that is on the line.

    This is exactly like Carl Herman’s referencing countless “studies” that supposedly prove his purportedly scientific points about public banking, ending poverty and stopping war. The truth is, the existence of countless studies actually should be taken to mean that there still is clearly some hearty discrepancy loose. Why else all the studies?

    Empirical studies and the scientific process reinforce any idea scientists want to reinforce. Empirical studies utilize scientific processes for the reinforcement of preconceived ideas. Empirical thought is not a process that seeks truth at all. Empirical thought and the scientific process are designed and implemented for one thing, to reinforce the faulty ideas of scientists of every sort.

    Discrepancies are thrown into a trash-bin scientists call “anomalies”. And in fact, when any one of us is caught up in some discrepancy, we are labeled an anomaly and thrown into the trash-bin too.

  • wunsacon

    Without citations, I doubt the list of “crazy laws” is accurate. Therefore, the long list detracts from the article.

    Because I was suspicious, I visited one of the links. It starts off with:
    “Note: Some laws are old and not in place now. Some are not to be
    taken too seriously, while others are. It is also not advised to try to
    use many of these laws in the court of law, unless you are absolutely
    sure about the law and the specific situation. Or else you would risk
    being laughed off to jail by the judge.”
    It provides no citations.

    Then, I visited the other link. It didn’t present any legal citations either.

    If these are indeed “laws”, it would be easy enough for the person compiling the list to cite them. Without citations, I draw negative inferences opposite to what you’d like your readers to believe.

    • JayTe

      LOL! I guess if you’re arrested or suspected of anything, your assumption is that they won’t pull one of these laws out of the closest and use it against you. It’s rather amusing since you seem to be assuming that everything the government does is by the book and legal under local, state and federal constitutions!?! I wish you the best of luck with that one! Ha Ha Ha

      • wunsacon

        >> your assumption is that they won’t pull one of these laws out of the closest

        If a law isn’t on the books anywhere, then it’s not a law. Not in the closet or out.

        • JayTe

          The points I’m making is the following:
          1. There are lots of silly and outdated laws that are still on the books at the local, state or federal level that haven been applied for years because most people and judges would consider them irrelevant or not applicable in a modern context that are “used” by the government when it serves their purpose. Blatant examples of this are the raisin racket where the US government can confiscate up to half the harvest from raisin farmers by using a law dating from the Great Depression (even Supreme Court Justice Kagan called it the US most outdated law) or in Louisiana, the use by police of ‘crime against nature’ law deemed invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago in order to arrest men for agreeing to sexual encounters. That’s what’s meant by “pulling a silly or antiquated law out of the closet”!!!
          2. That there a lots of laws that contravene local, state and federal constitutions some of which relate to point 1, which again are “used” by the government again to serve its own purpose the most blatant federal example being most parts of the Patriot Act.

          • wunsacon

            JayTe, we’re making different points and not debating anything. I completely understand your point and the point GW wanted to make.

        • bobfairlane

          That doesn’t stop the IRS.

        • but if the law IS on the books, it will be used against you, no matter the actual intent of the law . to wit : in oakland, police were attempting to charge protesters who conscientiously attempted to prevent illegal abductions of other protesters with LYNCHING . seriously

  • I live in Pennsylvania. They’ve amended the law of citing you for singing to your bathtub with: “…unless it is a song extoling the virtues of America”. 🙂

  • christ

    Most of these “Laws” are actually ordinances and are not punishable by jail time or have been made null by another ordinance. Do some research into them. It only takes a minute.

    • likely true … but that doesn’t help the person locked in a cage awaiting trial for lack of bail money or a good attorney

      • Linecreek

        We are all slaves to the IRS and government. Like slaves of old days, hang your head and say yes sir.

  • arevr18

    When everyone is a criminal, no one is a criminal.
    Those in the government are the biggest criminals of all.

  • Fabian

    These laws can be turned to your advantage. If you’re arrested under suspicion of a serious offense you can say; OK I admit I hate an orange in my bath! That should relieve some pressure.

  • Fabian

    The big problem is that criminal laws give way too much leeway to the judge regarding the sentence. That allows the system to terrorize people and force them into a plea.

    • while, in some cases, giving no leeway to judges regarding sentencing … hence life sentences for small property non-violent ‘crimes’

      • Harry_the_Horrible

        Or for non-violent drug possession crimes.

        • ‘zactly . those are beyond non-violent … they’re victimless activities only labeled ‘crimes’ because it’s profitable for prison investors

    • SexForUs

      That is why we have Jury Nullification.

  • DaveM48

    Many laws are enforced on the basis of their potential profitability to local authorities. So….if you can afford a proper attorney and other resources to defend against a criminal charge, chances are that it will be dropped (though not before costing ou a fortune). Stuck with a public defender? Most will not even attempt to fight a charge regardless of evidence. The usual course of action is to arrange a plea bargain–some public defenders “process” 100 clients a day and even so, the waiting list in some states is over a year. If you can’t make bail….you stay in jail, quite possibly for far longer than any sentence you could have been given, until your name reaches the top of the list.

    Once one is charged with a crime, there are a large number of “civil forfeiture” laws on the books by which personal property can be seized….and there is in most cases no way to dispute the seizure. Even without that….if your home or vehicle is searched by law enforcement, don’t be at all surprised to find valuables missing. And law enforcement won’t know anything about it.

  • PavePusher

    Dear Government,


    Sincerely, The Citizens

  • Bud Miser

    In all fairness (to the surrounding people) Kentucky’s Law needs to remain intact.