This column is about cell phones and the right to privacy but, before I discuss that issue, I would like to detour for a moment. I want to thank the many, many The Gantt Report readers, friends and supporters who contacted newspaper publishers, newspaper editors, website managers and hosts for the huge outpouring of love and appreciation.
My good friend and literary protégée Andrea Giggetts wrote a column about The Gantt Report that nearly brought tears to my eyes. My new media friend, Elliot Booker, host of the Time for an Awakening program, nationally broadcast on the Black Talk Radio Network, said that I was a better editorial columnist than all of the black writers on the payrolls of devilish so-called major newspapers.
And, in the biggest recognition of all, the great Bishop Victor Curry invited me to appear on his highly regarded Tuesday Talks radio show on WMBM-AM in Miami. I was on to discuss black media with many Florida media giants and national guests such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and writer George Curry.
I didn’t want to act like singer Pharrell but I was so “Happy” when Bishop Curry invited me to speak at a big political meeting at his church in Miami in June. He instructed me not to curse or use bad language and I said I wouldn’t, as long as I could talk about “devils!”
Anyway, I’m back but I’m not back. I will continue writing The Gantt Report but every now and then readers will get a TGR column from the archives, a sort of “Best of” The Gantt Report column.
So, thank you, fans and friends who convinced me not to retire. Even the people who are afraid to be associated with TGR whispered in their publisher’s ear that The Gantt Report must continue.
Now, to this week’s issue facing African Americans nationwide. I have a dear friend, Anita King, who is insisting that I get a smartphone. Not only did I tell her I didn’t want one but also I explained to her that if I ever made any money I would discard or destroy the plain cellphone that I have.
I use cellphones as little as possible because I know identity thieves and other thieves like the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the HSA, the new KGB, Scotland Yard and other agencies are eager to use cellphone conversations, cellphone texts and cellphone messages against us. Well, here is another reason not to talk so much on cellphones that was brought to my attention by Timothy M. Johnson. He is currently incarcerated at the Jackson Correctional Institution in Malone, Fla.
According to Johnson, he is in jail because his arrest and conviction were made possible after law enforcement officers obtained celltower dump logs without a warrant or order from the court.
If you don’t know what a “dump log” is, it is cellphone data that can show whom you had a private conversation with and the area where you were when you had the discussion.
Historically, police have had to have a warrant or judicial approval before obtaining a customer’s phone records. Now, the courts have said police can observe and research your phone records regardless of how they get the records and, if they find “suspicious” activity, they can seek to get a warrant for records they already have – after the fact.
So, guess what? If you’re like NFL player Desean Jackson and you have friends who may be in the “game” and they call you, your records are not private and your Fourth Amendment constitutional rights have disappeared, as well as your right to have a private conversation on your cellphone.
Even if you don’t know your friend or family member commits crimes, the fact that you talked on a cellphone call is grounds for law enforcement to look at you. Who would have thought cellphone calls could lead to jail- house walls?
If this is an issue that has importance to you, you can contact the person who has been fighting this fight: Timothy M. Johnson, DC3191403, Unit #G 41020, Jackson Correctional Institution, 10th Street, Malone, Florida 32445.
To my girl, Anita, I think I’ll use your smartphone, because I don’t want a cellphone at all. I also want to thank the brothers and sisters in prison for making The Gantt Report the most widely read editorial column available in jails, prisons and penal institutions.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at www.allworldconsultants.net