What’s Illegal for Us is Legal for Them

Although it’s illegal for mere peasants to impersonate police officers it’s now legal for police officers to impersonate you:

In November 2009, police officers in the state of Washington seized an iPhone belonging to suspected drug dealer Daniel Lee. While the phone was in police custody, a man named Shawn Hinton sent a text message to the device, reading, “Hey whats up dogg can you call me i need to talk to you.” Suspecting that Hinton was looking to buy drugs from Lee, Detective Kevin Sawyer replied to the message, posing as Lee. With a series of text messages, he arranged to meet Hinton in the parking lot of a local grocery store—where Hinton was arrested and charged with attempted possession of heroin.


But can cops legally do this with seized cell phones? When their cases went to trial, Hinton and Roden both argued that Sawyer had violated their privacy rights by intercepting, without a warrant, private communications intended for Lee.

But in a pair of decisions, one of which was recently covered by Forbes, a Washington state appeals court disagreed. If the decisions, penned by Judge Joel Penoyar and supported by one of his colleagues, are upheld on appeal, they could have far-reaching implications for cell phone privacy.

The problem with statism is that it inherently has two sets of laws, a private set that individuals must follow and a public set that apply to the state itself. This always ends with the state, under their separate system of law, being able to do things individuals cannot. For example, an individual who impersonates a police officer will likely land in prison whereas a police officer who impersonates an individual will be congratulated on a job well done. If somebody owes you a debt and you kidnap them and lock them in your basement you’ll be charged with kidnapping, if the police kidnap you and lock you in a cage for not paying taxes they’re again congratulated on a job well done.

Having two systems of law ultimate means one group, namely the state as they are the ones allowed to make the laws in both systems, gains advantage over the other. Behavior that would land an individual in jail, say robbery or murder, are legal for the state to perform.

What’s worse is that the state is granted a monopoly on deciding both sets of laws. Generally this means the state will grant itself immense power and restrict the liberty of individuals. When an individual opposes one of the state’s claimed powers they make their case in front of a state controlled court, which often rules on the side of the state. Liberty cannot exist so long as multiple sets of rules exist. In order for true liberty to exist everybody must play by the same set of rules.