Prosecutors In Vermont Don't Want Limits On Computer Search Warrant

from the why? dept

The EFF has the unfortunate story of how prosecutors in Vermont, doing an investigation into an identity theft, requested an incredibly broad warrant to seize computer equipment, CDs, mobile phones and other devices in someone's home. The judge realized this might be way too broad, and limited the warrant, "putting reasonable bounds on the search, as well as including basic privacy protections for information and data not connected to the identity theft under investigation." It's hard to see how anyone could argue against such limits... but apparently, the prosecutors feel otherwise. They filed a petition in the Vermont Supreme Court to allow the original, overly broad warrant be allowed instead. I can't fathom the argument for such a fishing expedition. Warrants are supposed to be narrowly executed around the specific crime being investigated. The court limits made sense here, and yet prosecutors seem to be admitting that they want to go fishing for anything else they can find as well.


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  1.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:10am

    They are taking a hint..

    from the federal spooks, who do this all the time. The difference is the federal spooks either get the judge to approve the search or go ahead and do it without judicial sanction. If they find something they think they are heroes. If they find nothing they simply say "we misunderstood the warrant."

    Himmler would be so proud of the U.S. spooks and judicial system.

    Tourism has dropped off hugely, and part of it is people are simply afraid to come here. When people see what happens to U.S. citizens, they shudder at the thought of what would happen to foreign nationals.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:16am

    Re: They are taking a hint..

     

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  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: They are taking a hint..

    It's likely a combination of the two, actually. Travel from Europe is down due to our governmental nonsense, but discounting the lessening tourism from Japan, which brings more tourism dollars per capita worldwide than any other nation, would be silly....

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:26am

    As a vermont resident, I have it on good authority that this is barely touching the police/government hostility in this state. Not too much goes on around here and we have TONS of government thugs, who get very bored. They mostly ammuse themselves by harrassing adolesents for smoking/drinking, and taking people's licenses away(60% of all county court cases in vermont are for driving under a suspended license) The fact that prosecutors are trying to overstep their bounds with this warrent does not surprise me at all, its very common and well known practice for the cops in burlington(univeristy of vermont's town) to pull over random 18-20-something white males, because theyre almost guarrunteed to find something illegal.

    This place sucks, theres very little buisiness, no industry, no tech, too many asshole cops, and the governmnt is poor as shit so they do anything they can to wring a buck from you.

    we grow some fantastic herbs tho :)

     

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  5.  
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    Pixelation, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Even identity thieves are afforded privacy rights. Ironic?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re:

    Even suspected identity thieves are afforded privacy rights. Ironic?

    FIFY

     

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  7.  
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    Boost, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Unreasonable searches are necessary to protect the children

    They just want to search everything because they don't really know what they're looking for and just hope to find something to validate their warrent.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re:

    accused identity thieves...

     

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  9.  
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    Old Fool (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re: They are taking a hint..

    I live in England, and its TSA antics that put me off visiting, not being blown up en-route.

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Love it!

    I can't fathom the argument for such a fishing expedition.

    There's a joke (or maybe even a serious point?) trying to get out there somewhere I'm sure....

     

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  11.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Including Cop A's Ex-Wife...
    The girl Cop B has been stalking..
    The Lawyer who beat Cop C's crime analysis..


    Yeah, it's about as good of an idea as communism was.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: They are taking a hint..

    I am sure there are people like Old Fool who won't travel because of the TSA. There are also people wearing tin foil hats, but I don't tend to consider them a big part of the deal.

    I rather prefer to look at the incredible upswing in discount airlines in Europe and Asia, and how that changes vacation plans for people in those areas.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They are taking a hint..

    Absolutely if you believe that it is businesses solely that drive demand. Because the other way to look at it, is that there has been an upswing in discount airlines in Europe and Asia to supply a demand that is there already, part of which demand may be down to the US having become a destination people would prefer not to travel to.

    Having said that, while I have no intention of ever setting foot in the US, the chances were slim that I would ever go anyway, so I probably do not count.

     

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    Greg G (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 7:06am

    If I were the suspect, then hell yes I would want the warrant to be as narrow as possible.

    If I were the one whose identity was stolen, I would want the broadest possible warrant so that those executing the warrant might find something so that I could get my life back.

    But, since I'm neither, I agree with the court in limiting this, otherwise you start heading down the proverbial slippery slope, and when that happens, you never get back to where you started.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    If you get accused three times of identity theft you are banned from ever saying your name out loud.

     

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  16.  
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    AJ, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Encryption

    What happens if the drive is encrypted? You have the right not to incriminate yourself, and since handing over the key would do that if you were guilty, what do they do then?

     

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  17.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Tourism..

    Our church has a partner church in Romania. We try to help them out in a number of ways; we provide high school scholarships to children, donate money to help them with things, etc. Our members visit there regularly and make close friends there. However, the members there are unable to get a visa to visit us! Even the minister cannot get a visa. They assume that anyone from Romania trying to get a visa to the U.S. is only doing so in order to get into the country and not return.

     

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  18.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They are taking a hint..

    You say that like wearing a tinfoil hat is a bad thing.

     

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  19.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Re: Unreasonable searches are necessary to protect the children

    If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.

    With today's technology, broadband, cable, TV's running Linux or even Android, and cheap $20 webcams, why can't we just get Telescreens everywhere already. That way Big Brother can keep us safe. This would eliminate the need for TSA patdowns.

     

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  20.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re: Encryption

    I seem recall in the past that a court (UK maybe?) ordered someone to produce the decryption keys. Failure was contempt of court and could result in being locked up until you complied.

     

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  21.  
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    johnny canada, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Visiting the U.S.

    I have always lived with 50 miles of the U.S. boarder.

    Right now I am about a 10 minute drive (at work) from the U.S.

    I have not been in the U.S. in 10 years.

    I do not like the 'Walmart' greeters at the door to your country

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Ring Ring Ring

    Hello? Oh, hey guys, it's 1990 calling.

     

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  23.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Re: Tourism..

    Even Britain (before Romania joined the EU) wasn't that harsh. Although unfortunately that risk is potentially real, we would let in people who had jobs/lives to go back to, and who would be vouched for by someone native. So that's a bit harsh, especially for the minister.

    Kudos to you guys by the way, you are doing great work over there. Keep it up! Multumesc foarte bun!

     

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