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  • Sep 26th, 2017 @ 5:13am


    "The officer who performed the attempted search and actual arrest wouldn't say whether he was acting on specific information about Rabbani, or simply hassling someone UK police had hassled several times before without feeling the need to turn it into a terrorism case."

    Wtf does this even mean? Can the judge not compel the officer to answer the question? He's not a reporter that gets to protect his sources. He's a law enforcement officer presenting evidence for the prosecution. If he can't or won't specify that there a) was evidence, and b) where he got it, then there isn't any evidence. Right?

  • Sep 7th, 2017 @ 5:49am


    This article opened with "Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida" and all I could think was, "With a name like that in Florida, this can only end hilariously badly."


  • Aug 29th, 2017 @ 7:00am

    Sad Trombone

    CCTV + Lip Reading Software + Facial Recognition Software + Third Party Doctrine = No More Privacy in Public places

  • Aug 11th, 2017 @ 3:50am

    I don't get it

    I do not understand both law enforcement and the courts' reticence to implement warrant requirements for things. Any adversarial portion of a warrant happens well after the fact, once charges are brought, and getting the warrant in the first place seems like a formality these days. Exigent circumstances can bypass a warrant requirement. I can envision such an instance with CSLI, such as a kidnapping victim doesn't know where they're being held but manages to get a hold of a cell phone briefly and calls 911. Great! Call the provider, explain the situation, and tell them you need the CSLI for that phone.

    The only possible explanations I can think of for this attitude are laziness (they don't want to fill out the forms and affidavits, go to the judge, etc.) or malfeasance (they're using 3rd party doctrine to get info on people they have no business getting info on, like spouses or other romantic interests, personal enemies, etc.) Neither looks good, but I could believe either from police (or both!), but the courts alignment on this issue baffles me.

  • Mar 2nd, 2016 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sad but true

    Electing the least effective politician into office (any office) should always have been the purpose. Government is always some combination of coercive force and brute force, and never anything else. Even when it promotes something you agree with, it's still forcing a significant portion of the population to alter the way it lives, speaks, acts, and conducts business to avoid legal trouble.

    "It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive..." R. A. Heinlein

  • Feb 18th, 2016 @ 11:43pm

    Re: sorry but no

    I'm sorry, but I don't agree with your assessment. Neither the imminent threat rules or the care taker exception apply here. Was there blood? Yes. Was there enough blood to suggest someone's life was in immediate danger? No. Was there any other indication that someone was in immediate danger? No. If a violent attack on someone which produced blood and was severe enough to be reasonably concerned for that person's safety, then there would be a lot more blood than a few drops here and there. The officers didn't hear anyone in there shouting for help. By their own testimony, they didn't hear anything that would suggest that someone was in there. So, either no one was in there, or there was a corpse in there from a very weird murder. In either case, they had ample opportunity to detain the defendant and obtain a warrant for the search.

    What this was really about was that the cops smelled pot in the locked room. Coupled with the bong, pipes, and immediately visible pot, they absolutely had ample probable cause to obtain a warrant, but then they have to detain the suspect, drive him back to the precinct or lock-up, fill out the extra paperwork that goes along with both a search warrant request and detaining a suspect, wait for the warrant, and then go back to the house to conduct the search. So they cited the tiny amounts of blood as reason to apply the care giver exception and conduct a search without a warrant. See how much time that saved them? Their shift was probably over in about 3 hours. They could probably get a warrant in that time, but probably not with enough time left to conduct the search themselves. Someone on the day shift would have conducted the search and gotten credit for a major drug bust. Between the 4th amendment and the combination of their time and hassle, the answer was easy.

  • Feb 18th, 2016 @ 2:48pm

    Logic & Clarity

    "So in the same way I’d argue we legalize drugs, why not have a careful, legal pathway to break into a phone?"

    There's no logic to be found here, but I'll try to provide clarity. This is rather sophisticated psychology. Look at the first clause in the sentence. With regard to just this clause, responses will break down into 4 groups.

    1. People who already agree. This is a small subsection of the population, mostly hardcore social libertarians, the occasional honest fiscal conservative who recognizes that the War on Drugs has been a money pit since it's inception, and of course serious drug users, but probably not abusers. This group reads this clause and sits up and takes notice of the rest of the sentence.

    2. People who vehemently disagree. Mostly the sizable minority of Americans who still believe that the War on Drugs is the correct path. They're not going to agree with the next clause, may even throw the paper away in a rage, but that's okay with our columnist. One, the overlap between Guardian readers and these people is fairly small. Two, the overlap between these people and people with pathetic/non-existent security is fairly large.

    3. People who don't necessarily agree, but probably agree somewhat (i.e. people who think we should legalize marijuana) and think this is a thought-provoking statement enough to ensure their future attention. This is the only group she actually cares about.

    4. People who, like most of the users of this sight are either tech savvy enough or privacy concerned enough (or both), that they were already turned off by the earlier part of the article. They've already decided the writer is either an idiot or complicit in the erosion of our privacy. Now, they're just reading to find out what complete nonsense the writer will spout next.

    This is called "turning the tip" in carny/circus shows and con games. It's basically the process of figuring out who among the crowd will buy tickets/is hooked on the con, and sloughing the rest.

    Each group will have one of 4 reactions to second clause.

    Parts of group 1 (mostly everyone but the drug users), a small section of group 3, and all of groups 2 & 4, will disagree with the second clause because: a. it doesn't fit with their preconceptions, b. they're so angry they going to disagree with everything she writes or, c. like Tim, they're too rational not to spot the logical fallacy. Those people are the slough.

    The remainder of group 1 (mostly drug users), and most of group 3, will fail to spot that there's no logical connection between the first clause and the second. They'll read the second clause where she uses the keywords "careful" and "legal," which most Americans and most of the Western World have come to associate with feelings of safety and security. It's the sales/persuasion section of neuro-linguistic programming. In this case, using words we have a subconscious association for to bolster confidence in what comes next. If she achieves this confidence, these people will overlook the negative association they have for the phrase "break into" that comes after.

    A minority of group 3 won't fall for the word trap. They will just walk away feeling shaken, a little confused, and uncertain of their opinion, which will probably make it easier to convince them the next time someone presents a similar argument.

    So, you were right, Tim; there's no logic to it at all, but hopefully this gives some clarity.

  • Oct 26th, 2015 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Sorry, but PUBLIC recording of PUBLIC acts vs. GOV recording of PRIVATE acts

    That's not the argument I'm making at all. The article springboards from the notion that constant surveillance changes behavior. It's bad when the government does it to us because it violates our right to privacy and has "a chilling effect" on certain behavior (right to association, right to free speech, press, etc.)

    It's simply dissonant to argue that similar constant observation won't have an impact on police behavior. It will, and mostly that's good. If it stops even one person from being beaten to death for no good reason, that's all worth it, but if it's gone so far, or if the police as a national institution are so rotten that they simply can't or won't do their job while being observed, then we need a more drastic solution than cameras. As several of you have said in the past, it may just be time to fire all of them and start over.

    That was the point I was trying to make, and apparently didn't make very well.

  • Oct 26th, 2015 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Can't have it both ways...

    I don't have any reservations about filming on-duty police, but we can at least all admit that we should be grown-ups about it and not heckle them. I have no idea how much "taunting" is real vs. perceived by them or whether that's just code for "they pointed cameras at us." If it's imagined or code, tough shit for them, but if it's real, that's not behavior we should condone, let alone support.

    Everyone's had that boss (and yes, we are their boss whether they remember that or not) who pays you do to something and then spends all their time getting in your way. I'm just saying, don't be that manager.

  • Oct 26th, 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Can't have it both ways...

    I am by no means a police apologist, but the argument cuts both ways. Surveillance state detractors (myself included) cannot reasonably promote a state free of dragnet surveillance and then turn around and give the big thumbs up to constant citizen surveillance and heckling of the police.

    Have the LEOs seemingly bent over backwards to earn the public's distrust? Absolutely. Should we be free to record public servants at work so long as it does not interfere with that work? Yes, without reservation.

    Still, you wouldn't want someone to come and record your every single move at work and heckle you constantly, and if you're honest with yourself, that would probably have a negative impact on your job performance. I'm not saying they haven't earned every ounce of disrespect they're getting these days, or that we shouldn't record and disseminate video of misconduct, but maybe we can advocate for transparency and a more balanced and accurate narrative without jeering at police every time they show their faces in public.

    Otherwise, we'll create such a hostile work environment for them that we might as well fire them all and do without. I'm fine with that, too, but let's not pay taxes for them to do a job and then make it impossible for them to do it.

  • Oct 19th, 2015 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Laywers... (Wrong)

    I'm sorry, but this is just patently untrue. While it may be true of large firm lawyers, lobbyists (many of whom are lawyers) and congress-critters (who are overwhelmingly lawyers by percentage), for every one of them there are tens of lawyers who work in small firms or private practice making $75k a year or less who do work for individuals because they believe it's valuable.

    My father is one such. He spends all his lawyer time helping people craft wills to meet their wishes, set up trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, and the purchase of small properties for residential or commercial purposes. He also spends a great deal of time as an ad litem attorney appointed by a court for people who cannot obtain representation for one reason or another (children in custody disputes, relatives who cannot be located in estate probates, etc.) and he pursues those cases with the same vigor and attention as his paying clients. Through him, I have met many lawyers like him. He does not lobby for laws, even though he knows several state representatives. He is not part of any associations except the state and federal bar, the rotary club, and the local community college where he teaches classes (again for pennies on the dollar compared to his hourly billing).

    Are there money-grubbing, rent-seeking, asshole lawyers out there? Yes, absolutely. They are the ones you see most often in the news, on TV dramas, etc. But please don't tar lawyers like my dad, lawyers who work at the EFF, the Innocence Project, or similar smaller groups not because it pays well but because they think the work is important and derive a sense of professional satisfaction from doing it, with the same brush. One of these days you're going to need a lawyer (hopefully for something small and routine) and to your delight you'll find a local one who will do what you need promptly, courteously, professionally, and at a reasonable price.

    When that day comes, remember what you said here and be thankful you were wrong.

  • Oct 14th, 2015 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: If you were consistent would apply your logic and invective to Google a thousand times over.

    I'll admit that I think TD sometimes gives Google more of a pass that it deserves for some of it's snoopy practices, and I say this as someone who uses G+, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive.

    That said, there are two extremely important differences between Google and Verizon (or AT&T or Comcast, etc.)

    1. If you think Google is nefarious, you can choose to use another provider for web-search, e-mail, etc. OTOH, most people cannot choose another ISP. If (or when, as you prefer) they are scummy, nefarious, or diabolical you can either suck it up or go without internet service.

    2. Google, and most other widely-used content providers make their money by advertising. You may disagree with the practice, but you must at least admit they have a market-conscious reason for wanting your data, so they can provide more targeted ads, so they can charge more for ads. But Verizon customers, in theory, pay Verizon a monthly fee for use. Typically if I pay you X dollars for Y good/service, and you provide Y, the transaction is over. So, what valid market reason do ISPs have for scooping up this data?

  • Sep 29th, 2015 @ 4:13pm

    Useless Postal Service

    Other than bulk junk mailers and billing services, who the hell uses the USPS to send anything? Correspondence is done electronically, and if you want to send or receive goods, who would opt for USPS over UPS or Fed-Ex?

    I'm pretty sure we could pass a constitutional amendment removing the fed's requirement to provide postal service, and most people would hardly notice.

  • Jul 25th, 2015 @ 2:22pm

    Re: F-Otherwise Illegal Activity

    I think you meant Funding Otherwise Illegal Activity.

    FTFY. :)

  • Apr 21st, 2015 @ 4:33pm

    Human Rights Violations

    "PI says it has evidence this software has been sold to governments known for human rights abuses..."

    You mean like the USA?

  • Mar 18th, 2015 @ 7:57pm

    Re: You just don't get it

    I consider myself a libertarian; I am generally in favor of free markets and generally opposed to government regulations, but it's time libertarians stopped blindly espousing the "free market" rhetoric and conflating it with unregulated markets. We live in an age where some multinational corporations have a higher net income than some UN countries have GDP. Members of congress can apparently be bought for just a $10-20k. System/market capture is no longer only possible by vested government agencies, and a captured market is not a "free market."