The political class has, for the moment, gotten over its hissy-fit regarding the expiration of the metadata collection provisions of the Patriot Act. New provisions, lauded by almost all sides, are set to go into effect. So where do our constitutional rights stand today? Pretty much where they were before all the talking began:
Last year, the IRS said it was changing its policy about seizing bank accounts from small business owners who made numerous small bank deposits -- a practice the agency said was a cover for illegal activity. A case out of North Carolina shows the policy hasn't changed. If anything, it's gotten much, much worse:
In the course of an average day, you stand a fair chance of breaking a federal law that could send you to prison. How could this happen? Blame the rise of the regulatory state and its ever-growing list of "crimes":
We're all familiar with the NSA's widespread surveillance of email, phone and other information sources. Now we can add to the list the U.S. Marshal Service, which is using Cessna aircraft fitted with so-called "dirtboxes" that mimic cell phone towers. The stated goal of the program? To track down bad guys, naturally.