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The Fourth Amendment Yields To Technology Oregon resident David Kyllo and his wife were suspected of growing and distributing marijuana US agent William Elliot became skeptical of Kyllo while investigating his original target Kyllos unusually high electrical bill stirred the law enforcers suspicion On January 16 1992 sergeant Daniel Haas National Guard discovered an immense amount of heat emitted from Kyllos high intensity growing lamps Through the use of an Agema 210 thermal imager Haas was able to collect molecular information without a warrant New York Times 22101 The fourth amendment of the constitution gives an American the right to be secure within their home This right can only be over ridden with a warrant which is issued upon a probable cause However the police used the information from the thermal detector as a basis of obtaining a search warrant The essential question is if our fourth amendment right should yield to technology After the police discovered over 100 illegal plants the defendant had no other choice but to plead guilty Conversely Kyllo appealed the case to the Supreme Court He challenged the warrant-less use of thermal imaging because he thought that it violated his fourth amendment right The police did not have enough probable cause to receive a search warrant therefore they used invasive technology to pry into Kyllos security His lawyer Kenneth Lerner said allowing police to monitor thermal radiation from homes strips us of our most basic boundary of personal privacy USA Today 22100 Lerner suggested that the police should have to obtain a warrant prior to the use of spying techniques beyond the human senses USA Today 22100 The lawyer agreed that a person forfeits their right to privacy if they stand in front of their window But he thought it was despicable that Americans had to waive their right of privacy by failing to regulate heat USA Today 22100 Ed Yahnke of the American Civil Liberties
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