Bergman’s Techdirt Profile


About Bergman

Bergman’s Comments comment rss

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 5:05pm


    Legally unethical? I suppose that's one way to describe it. OF course, by that standard, most crimes are merely 'legally unethical' as well, from armed robbery to murder.

    Title 18, Section 241 & 242 define the crime of violating constitutional rights under color of law, such as the fourth amendment one their warrantless, non-exigent seizure of the video represents.

    Section 241 is the conspiracy statute, 242 is for individual violations. Since few police act alone, Section 241 seems to apply here better than 242. At the level of violation of rights the seizure of the video represents, every officer involved is criminally liable under federal law for a crime that has a maximum sentence of ten years in prison or a $10,000 fine or both.

    While it's rare for a federal prosecutor to press those charges, it's good to remember than anything you can win a federal civil rights lawsuit over IS an actual for-real crime under Title 18 of the US Code.

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Recording police

    Humans are generally very good at killing what they consider to be an existential threat. North Americans are better at it than most.

    Police are trained and conditioned by their fellow officers to believe they are under existential threat every instant they are doing their jobs, whether they actually are or not. But there is a growing awareness of this, that police will shoot you and claim self defense no matter how meek and submissive you are -- which is an existential threat to everyone who is not a cop (and even to fellow cops, given how often they shoot eachother due to accident or misidentification).

    We are rapidly approaching a point where police will pose such an enormous, immediate, existential threat to everyone around them that opening fire on them on sight will meet all of the legal tests for whether an act of force is legitimately self defense.

    Courts being as corrupt as they are, they'll probably reject such arguments, even as the letter of the law makes such a conclusion inescapable.

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: "legal" crime wave

    Citizens have power of arrest too in many states -- 49 out of 50 states have some form of citizen's arrest, often encoded into statutes. Only North Carolina entirely lacks citizen's arrest.

    If ignorance of the law but a good faith belief you are following it turns false arrests legitimate, then it would necessarily do so for citizen's arrests too, under the equal protection clause of the constitution.

    See a cop do something you believe is against the law? Arrest them! It doesn't matter whether it actually is illegal or not in those jurisdictions where judges give cops carte blanch if they have good faith.

    In those places where a mere arrest for certain things carries pre-trial, extra-judicial penalties, you can REALLY mess someone up this way.

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 3:54pm

    Re: stupid Question

    Probably because phones weigh a lot less than tablets do.

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 3:52pm


    It's worse than that. The connection is so tenuous that if this lawsuit wins, it would open up equally tenuous connections.

    Oh, you live in the same town as a Hamas bomber? You must be liable, have a lawsuit!

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 3:42pm


    SWAT teams enforcing laws and court orders is a pretty sizable bargaining chip. Especially in the EU where the government has more of a monopoly on force than in the USA.

    The government does not need to bargain with people to get them to obey the law.

    Tech companies don't need to be sovereign states to make a profit, nor do they need to be sovereign to innovate. If they don't want to innovate or make new profits, someone else will and then the old dinosaur telecom companies will be just a footnote in history.

  • Jul 12th, 2016 @ 3:39pm


    The thing is, Net Neutrality does nothing except codify into law the voluntary agreements that already exist on the internet and ALWAYS HAVE. Go look up what RFC means in the context of the internet, it will be an eye-opener for you.

    They're ALREADY being paid to provide services, but now they're threatening to cut people off from the services they are already paying (often exorbitantly) for if they aren't paid twice. IF they get it enshrined in law that they must be paid twice, what's to stop them from wanting to be paid three times? Four? Fifty? Greed is endless.

    If they were using new technology to provide a faster channel for premium content, that would be one thing -- I'd pay more for that myself. But that's not what they're doing. What the companies was to do is slow down everybody's connection unless they get paid extra for the NORMAL SPEEDS they are already providing. Net Neutrality is simply saying that people should get what they have already paid for, without having to pay multiple times for a single product.

  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 7:06pm

    Re: TSA

    We have always been at war with the Middle East.

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boom

    Nitrous oxide, in concentrations that will render you unconscious consistently, are more likely to kill you. There's a reason people go to college to become anesthesiologists.

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Extrajudicial Killing

    Two things to consider -- Citizen's Arrest is a thing that exists in statutes in Texas and police have less freedom to act than a private citizen does when it comes to use of force, because police are bound by the Constitution in ways private citizens are not.

    If it is a lawful act for police to kill a man in cold blood because waiting for him to drop from thirst, hunger or exhaustion is too hard and making an arrest is too inconvenient, what does that say for citizen's arrests?

    See a crime being committed, decided a citizen's arrest is too much work, draw gun and open fire? If what the police just did in Dallas wasn't murder, then neither would this be murder!

    Further, police are not exempt from arrest, either by police or private citizens. If the system rules the assassination by bombing a lawful, justified act then they will have also made it legal to shoot a cop if you see him committing an arrestable offense!

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Wherever our military went, our police were soon to follow.

    An anonymous troll with absolutely nothing worthwhile to say?

    How inventive!

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Extrajudicial Killing

    Actually it's very easy to argue that this was not one of those times.

    Police are authorized to use lethal force when it is necessary to defend their lives or those of another. They are not authorized to kill anyone they feel like, nor are they authorized to kill someone because attempting to make an arrest is too inconvenient.

    It's worth noting that police have the right to defend themselves because EVERYONE has that right, not because they are police. If some who is not a cop were to see a crime being committed, think about making a citizen's arrest, decide it would be too much trouble and just pulled out a gun and killed the guy instead, would it be justified? Or would it be ruled not to be a case of self defense, and lead to murder charges?

    They had the guy cornered, he was not going anywhere. They could have waited him out since they have food and water and officers on the next shift to relieve them, and the guy they had cornered did not. They could have simply stood there and waited for him to fall over from exhaustion, thirst or hunger. Instead they committed premeditated murder in cold blood because waiting him out or arresting him was just too inconvenient.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re:

    If ignorance of the law coupled to good faith renders an illegal stop, illegal search or illegal arrest legal, then someone could make a good faith citizen's arrest of an officer and even if they were mistaken about the law, the arrest would still be valid due to good faith.

    After all, if ignorant good faith makes a bad arrest good, it must be pointed out that the average cop has FAR more training in the law than the average private citizen.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Yeah, I bet

    Call it what it is.

    Publicly revealing criminal activity is often embarrassing to the criminal, as well as leading to prosecution.

    The astounding irony is that as the head of a government department that exists solely to reveal criminal behavior, he has such a dislike of actually doing his job.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Gloves off

    That's pretty much how the Mafia got its start -- shielding honest people from the crimes committed by corrupt officials.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 12:54pm


    Copyright law today is very much like the old story about the man who set out to drain a swamp.

    At first it seemed like a good idea, and throughout there have been good reasons to drain that swamp. But the alligators in the swamp were problematic and the man got distracted by fighting the alligators.

    Nowadays, the original purpose for being in that swamp is long forgotten, and the alligators have formed lobbyist groups. We have laws protecting the rights of the alligators and they keep insisting it's their swamp. They have the lobbied-for and paid-for legislation to prove it.

    Copyright was always about expanding the public domain as a primary goal, not financing artists. People have just gotten so used to those fat paychecks that they've forgotten why copyright exists at all.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Not enough secrets

    Yup. Twenty years ago comedians were making absurd predictions to riotous laughter. Nobody is laughing anymore.

    Give any absurd prediction twenty years and no doubt someone will have at least attempted to make it serious law.

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 11:20am


    Obeying the law also requires effort. When was the last time someone offered to pay anyone for complying with the law?

    If a law is secret then I cannot be expected to comply with it, it's as simple as that. If I don't know about a law because I cannot afford to pay the writer of it, then it is a secret (to me) by default.

  • Jul 5th, 2016 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re:

    You defeat someone by denying him his strategic and tactical goals. You achieve victory by achieving your own goals while denying the enemy his goals.

    A terrorist is willing to die to scare his enemies into changing how they act, how they think. His tactical goals are to kill a lot of people -- the people a terrorist kills are not his targets they are collateral damage -- to scare his targets. His strategic goals are what he intends to scare his targets into doing or changing.

    Our strategic goals are to live in a peaceful, civilized and free society. Unfortunately, our leaders apparently have not the faintest clue how terrorist tactics work, because their tactics are to surrender to terrorism and hope that will pull out a win. Somehow.

    It doesn't matter how many people get killed in the war on terror. They're willing to die if it means winning. And the terrorists are winning. They've won almost every single engagement so far. All we had to do to win the war on terror was to ignore them and keep living our lives in peace and freedom. Instead, we've thrown both peace and freedom away in exchange for imaginary safety. We've already lost the war on terror and will keep losing until someone in authority decides they'd rather win the war.

  • Jul 5th, 2016 @ 9:42am


    I wonder what it would take to get a special prosecutor appointed? That special prosecutor could then spend time observing how the regular prosecutor's office conducts business, how its personnel act on lunch breaks, what they do on their days off.

    If it's both lawful and just for the behavior of seven year olds to be considered as serious as adult crimes -- even if the incident must be stretched like taffy to make it fit an adult crime -- then OF COURSE it would be lawful and just to apply the same standards to actual adults, especially those who believe that of children!

    ADA accidentally bumps into someone waiting in line at the cafeteria? He can be tackled by police and violently handcuffed for his crime. Legal secretary jaywalks? Five cops cars and the SWAT team on standby. See someone using a legal drug (whether it be a seven year old with an asthma inhaler or one of the clerks at the DA's office smoking a cigarette) send in the SWAT team to take the dangerous drug offender into custody and throw the book at them!

    The target of all of this would SCREAM in outrage, but here's the thing -- the US Supreme Court has ruled many, many, MANY times that schoolchildren have rights and they do not leave them at the schoolyard gate. Some rights might be partially suspended in the name of education (first amendment rights do not entitle you to play loud music in class for example) but they do not cease to exist.

    If it is lawful and constitutional to treat seven year olds as if they have no rights whatsoever, then it is equally constitutional to treat adults in the employ of the DA's office the same way.

More comments from Bergman >>