This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
One fight pending before the Supreme Court now is whether the Joe Biden administration legally can push private organizations to lobby social media companies to censor opinions Biden doesn't like.
That cannot happen directly, as the First Amendment doesn't allow a president to censor citizens that way.
The scheme, which Biden already has been using for some time, appears to accomplish indirectly what is illegal directly.
The same problem, on a different issue, now has arisen in Georgia.
In that state's DeKalb County, authorities have ordered private businesses to install surveillance camera systems – at their own expense – and operate them to the government's satisfaction.
That includes keeping video of all that happens, and then turning over video to police when they demand it.
It is the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, that has written to county officials calling on them to reverse their demands and "repeal an Orwellian ordinance requiring gas stations and convenience stores to install surveillance cameras at their own expense and turn video footage over to law enforcement without a warrant."
For police to spy on citizens, in most circumstances, they need a warrant that has been approved by a judge after investigators have documented several things like reasonable suspicion of a crime.
The IJ reported, "DeKalb County’s Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance in December 2022 mandating that all gas stations and convenience stores install security camera systems that meet a list of specific requirements, despite the fact that 90% of these businesses already have existing systems in place. Any business that fails to comply with the county’s new requirements by January 1, 2024, risks losing their business license, in addition to the potential for fines or jail time."
Jared McClain, a lawyer for the institute, said, "The government can’t get around the warrant requirement by forcing private businesses to conduct surveillance on the police’s behalf. What we’re seeing in DeKalb County goes beyond being creepy or dystopian – government officials are threatening people’s livelihoods unless they comply. It’s unconstitutional."
Authorities are demanding stores have security cameras at every gas pump, at the point of entry, at the point of exit, and at the point of sale, and the cameras must be equipped with night vision.
They have to store 60 days' worth of recordings.
The IJ noted, "DeKalb County has hired six new code enforcement officers to enforce these new requirements. As of early October, inspections of approximately half of the relevant businesses revealed that less than a quarter made the required upgrades."