Thursday, October 14, 2010

Arab Student Busts the FBI

There is a legal option called the "open field" precedent that allows law enforcement to plant tracking devices on your car without your knowledge or a warrant.

Yasir Afifi, a 20 year old US born citizen is a business marketing student at Mission College in Santa Clara, CA.

He learned after an oil change that there was a tracking device attached to his car.  The garage owner, Mazher Khan, helped him remove it.

Mr. Afifi then posted pictures of the device on Reddit to see what others might say about it.  A person saw his post and told him it was a Cobham Orion Guardian GPS Tracker typically used by U.S. Law Enforcement.

FBI agents, noticing the device no longer working, came to Mr. Afifi's house to ask for the device back.  Mr. Afifi says in conversations with them he got the idea they might have been tracking him 3-6 months.

He gave the device back.

So what is your opinion here?  Many felt that more should have been done to track the attempted "panty bomber" and we are fortunate he was not successful.  This young man's story shows the difficulty we have in balancing freedom and privacy with security.  Where should the needle fall?

I do not pretend to have the answer but believe it lies in open debate and relying on the constitution.


"Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back", Wired Magazine, Kim Zetter, October 7, 2010.

"FBI Gets Busted Spying on Arab-American Student With Tracking Device",  Jason Mick, DailyTech (Blog) - October 8, 2010.

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