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Published on Oct 8, 2010
20 year old Santa Clara college student and American citizen Yasir Afifi found an FBI tracking device under his car. He showed the device to his roommates who posted a picture of the device online asking if it meant "the FBI is after us"?
Two days later, Afifi - who is half-Egyptian - got a knock in his door by 6 FBI agents asking for their device back. They spoke to Afifi for a few minutes, making it clear they had been following him for a while. "We have all the information we needed," they told him as they left. "You don't need to call your lawyer. Don't worry, you're boring. "
This kind of tracking is more common than you'd think, in fact, it's perfectly legal thanks to a recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying it's legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect's car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. Afifi was contacted by the ACLU who had been looking for the perfect case to use as a challenge to the the tracking ruling.
"This is the kind of thing we like to throw lawyers at," Afifi said the ACLU's Brian Alseth told him.
"It seems very frightening that the FBI have placed a surveillance-tracking device on the car of a 20-year-old American citizen who has done nothing more than being half-Egyptian," Alseth told Wired.com
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