The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration "has been advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods."

Simply put -- but shockingly put, too -- the implication here is that local governments are using quite advanced technology to cast a wide net and troll for all manner of information about John and Jane Q. Public. And they're doing so, obviously, without their permission and without, it appears, a warrant -- a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Not only does this technology gather vast amounts of cellphone data, it does so in nefarious fashion by tricking cellphones into giving up owners' account and other information, believing it's being transmitted to a legitimate carrier's tower. In a word, it's a lie. In another, it's a fraud perpetrated by a government charged with protecting individual rights that has chosen instead, and now on a local level, to electronically ransack those rights.

The AP reports that in an extraordinary effort to cover up such activity, the Obama administration even has intervened in local open records requests and criminal trials.

Clandestine local data gathering, shredding the Constitution and Washington intervention to cover it all up. And the federal government really wonders why the populace has grown wary, if not fearful, of America's ever-expanding Big Brother state?

©2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)