The trick is going to be allowing this technology and regulating it against abuse. by anyone, law officers or commercial enterprise.
For almost a month, Kansas Citians lived through what amounted to a horror movie without an ending.
According to the narrative described in court documents, it would take cutting-edge and occasionally controversial law enforcement technology, including license-plate readers, to put an end to the horror show.
The story of this very 21st century hunt began playing out on the tangle of freeways just south of Kansas City, Mo., where, starting in March, one driver after another reported being shot at by a mystery gunman — nobody they knew, for reasons nobody could fathom.
The suspect would later be identified as a driver wearing a black hoodie, a black mask and black sunglasses. His strikes came unpredictably, police discovered, often right before his victims drove onto highway splits and exits. That’s when drivers would hear a bang, or suddenly feel a sharp sting.
Documents Reveal Unregulated Use of Stingrays in California
By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:37pm
Local law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area have so-called stingray devices, a powerful cellphone surveillance tool, and more are planning to acquire the technology, according to public records recently obtained by Sacramento News10. The devices are highly intrusive and completely unregulated. Although the Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that they were being used by the federal government, the News10 records reveal for the first time that these devices are also in widespread use by local authorities stretching from San José to Sacramento. The revelations are troubling. Once again, we see the proliferation of powerful new surveillance tools, but without any rules to constrain their use. The acquisition of these devices is shrouded in secrecy and driven by federal grant money, which undermines local democratic oversight. Their actual use by local law enforcement reflects the all too common phenomenon of mission creep: Although the justification for acquiring these devices is “fighting terrorism,” agencies seem to be using them for ordinary criminal law enforcement.
What’s a stingray and what are the Fourth Amendment implications?
A stingray is a device that mimics a cell tower and thereby tricks all wireless devices on the same network into communicating with it. From a privacy perspective, this is worrying because it collects information about the devices and whereabouts of innocent third parties, not just the target of an investigation. In addition, it can pinpoint targets with extraordinary precision, meaning that individuals can be tracked even when they are inside their homes. Although some of the devices sold in this country are configured not to capture the content of communications, many offered for sale by surveillance vendors can be used for eavesdropping.
There is a real question as to whether stingrays can ever be used in a constitutional fashion. They are the electronic equivalent of dragnet “general searches” prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. But unfortunately, there are currently no statutes or regulations that specifically address how and under what circumstances stingrays can be used, and very little caselaw.
While there was predictable outrage from many right-wing quarters this week over Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of S.B. 1062 — a bill that would have legalized discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of protecting the “religious freedom” of people who did not wish to do business with them — the overwhelming reaction by most Arizonans, particularly its business people, was one of relief.
After all, the state is still recovering from the economic blowback wrought by another piece of far-right legislation - the infamous anti-immigrant S.B. 1070 legislation that put local law officers in the business of enforcing federal immigration law. The damage inflicted by the law itself, worsened by boycotts and other economic retaliation provoked by that legislation, remain fresh in the minds of the state’s business leaders, who pleaded with Brewer to boycott the law, as did the state’s entire congressional delegation and even a few of the legislators who had originally voted for the bill.
For now, the legislation appears to be dead in Arizona. But it is only one of several states in which the “religious freedom” legislation has made its presence felt, and in several states it may yet be approved.
You’ve probably heard politicians or pundits say that “metadata doesn’t matter.” They argue that police and intelligence agencies shouldn’t need probable cause warrants to collect information about our communications. Metadata isn’t all that revealing, they say, it’s just numbers.
But the digital metadata trails you leave behind every day say more about you than you can imagine. Now, thanks to two MIT students, you don’t have to imagine—at least with respect to your email.
Deepak Jagdish and Daniel Smilkov’s Immersion program maps your life, using your email account. After you give the researchers access to your email metadata—not the content, just the time and date stamps, and “To” and “Cc” fields—they’ll return to you a series of maps and graphs that will blow your mind. The program will remind you of former loves, illustrate the changing dynamics of your professional and personal networks over time, mark deaths and transitions in your life, and more. You’ll probably learn something new about yourself, if you study it closely enough. (The students say they delete your data on your command.)
Whether or not you grant the program access to your data, watch the video embedded below to see Jagdish and Smilkov show illustrations from Immersion and talk about what they discerned about themselves from looking at their own metadata maps. While you’re watching, remember that while the NSA and FBI are collecting our phone records in bulk, and using advanced computer algorithms to make meaning from them, state and local government officials can often also get this information without a warrant.
Federal courts are scrutinizing the government’s use of its secret No Fly List, and they don’t like what they see. In two recent decisions, judges have either rejected or expressed skepticism about the government’s arguments for secrecy and against a meaningful process for people to challenge their inclusion on the blacklist that bans them from travel to or from the United States or over American airspace. These decisions come on the heels of an August 2013 ruling in the ACLU’s No Fly List challenge, in which a court found, in a first-of-its-kind preliminary ruling, that our clients’ ability to fly internationally is protected by the Constitution.
On January 14, 2014, U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a decision in the case of Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford PhD student and Malaysian citizen who was prevented from boarding a flight back to the United States, handcuffed, and held in a detention cell for two hours based on what turned out to be her mistaken placement on the No Fly List. After a trial, Judge Alsup concluded that the government’s internal administrative redress procedures (the same procedures at issue in the ACLU’s case) violate the Constitution’s Due Process clause because they do not provide a meaningful opportunity to contest or expunge erroneous information that forms the basis for inclusion on the list. He required the government to disclose to Ms. Ibrahim whether she is on the No Fly List and to “cleanse and/or correct its lists” of mistaken information about her.
In another ruling issued on January 22, 2014, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga rejected the government’s request to dismiss a case brought by Gulet Mohamed, a U.S. citizen who alleges that he was prevented from returning to the United States from Kuwait because he appeared on the No Fly List, and that he was subsequently subjected to beatings and mistreatment while in detention in Kuwait.
Judge Trenga was unsparing in describing the consequences of inclusion on the No Fly List: “The impact on a citizen who cannot use a commercial aircraft is profound,” he wrote, and “placement on the No Fly List is life defining and life restricting across a range of constitutionally protected activities and aspirations.” In short, in Judge Trenga’s words, “a No Fly List designation transforms a person into a second class citizen, or worse.”
School bus driver George Nathaniel III was fired last week for inviting the children on his routes to pray with him each morning, despite being repeatedly asked by his company to stop, reports CBS Local.
He told media that “To fire a bus driver for praying for the safety of the children” is not right, according to the Star Tribune. He prayed on the bus as he is a pastor at Elite Church of the First Born and Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
The school district of Burnsville, Minnesota complained to his employers, Durham School Services, who proceeded to give Nathaniel a warning and assign him two new bus routes serving Edward D. Neill Elementary School and Metcalf Junior High School. However, Nathaniel refused to comply with their direction and said, “I let them know I am a pastor and I am going to pray,” reports the Star Tribune.
These Marxist revolutionaries…(have) upped it now. Now they’re putting a bigger fence around. Now they’re putting armed guards around it. So now, they don’t care. Now it is them inflicting the pain - intentionally. They are spending money - the President has to spend money for people to sit around in a conference room and say, “Where can we inflict the most pain?” And then when it failed, they have to go back into that meeting and spend all that money to say, “Okay, now what do we do?” Any sane, non-psychotic person says, “Open up that. Let those people go. We lost that one.” They didn’t. They put more chips on the table.
I want you to understand, you are now seeing what I told you about three weeks ago. I told you they have gone from nudge to shove. This is another example that they are deep into shove. Your next step is shoot….Every Marxist Communist revolution always ends in millions dead. Without fail.
I sincerely doubt that Glenn Beck believes one word of what he said above. In a 2010 interview with Forbes he candidly said the following:
I could give a flying crap about the political process. We’re an entertainment company.
Beck isn’t the first right wing broadcaster to fall back on merely being “an entertainer,” when they are questioned about controversial things they have said. Rush Limbaugh used to do it all the time. But I doubt Byron Williams, a man who opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers after being pulled over - using a 9mm handgun, a .308-caliber rifle, and a shotgun - and later said he wanted to “start a revolution by killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU,” was merely “entertained” by Beck’s ranting and raving over both organizations back in 2010.
Glenn Beck should not and cannot be held legally responsible for what deranged nutcases do, even after they have heard his words. But he can be held morally responsible. He has made millions of dollars tweaking the nerves of the paranoid and unstable, and one day he may have to live with the consequences of that.
Glenn Beck predicts mass atrocities following the closure of national monuments due to the government shutdown
NSA? Pffft. Who ever gets a call from them? But ordinary police and the FBI, now those people can make a life miserable if they so choose, with us having little or no recourse. What’s next, putting us all on the no fly zone?
Don’t want trouble with the US Government? Then you might want to reconsider photographing anything that might cause suspicion among law enforcement — especially if you’re Middle Eastern or a ‘Chinese national.’ A newly published document has revealed that government agencies have been compiling lists of “suspicious activity” reports, many of which contain records of photographers legally taking pictures of bridges, dams, courthouses, and post offices.
The ACLU got its hands on a document containing roughly 1,800 of these reports, gathered in central California. Among the records are a “Female Subject taking photos of Folsom Post Office” and “a male nonchalantly taking numerous pictures inside a purple line train” in Los Angeles.These reports aren’t just creepy records that are out of sight and mind — some photographers are being harassed as a result of them. In a segment on this story that aired yesterday, NPR cites the case of LA-based freelance photographer Hal Bergman. An enthusiast of photographing industrial locations, bridges, ports, and refineries, Bergman has been stopped numerous times by law enforcement, and has even received visits from FBI agents who asked him if he harbored “any ill will toward the United States of America.”After reviewing his photo portfolio, however, the feds realized that Bergman’s picture taking posed no threat to national security — but that didn’t stop the feds from calling up on Bergman a year later, investigating yet another report made about him.
Following a ruling by District Court Judge Alan Malott, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Toulouse Oliver said her office would need to get software ready to make the weddings happen, so weddings will begin at 8:00 am tomorrow.
A mass-wedding at Albuquerque Civic Plaza is expected at noon tomorrow.
This is the second time a district court judge had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
Read the rest at New Mexico Telegram: Same-Sex Marriages in Bernalillo County Will Begin Tomorrow
Here’s the full ruling:
The ACLU deserves much of the credit.
…Ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and local attorneys on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in New Mexico, Judge Malott said that denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage violates the New Mexico Constitution. The court issued a judgment against the two county clerks and the State of New Mexico declaring that, to the extent New Mexico law prevents same-sex couples from marrying, “those prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable.”…
Two of the couples who sued will pick up their licenses ASAP, but their weddings may not be held immediately.
Following a court ruling this afternoon at least two couples in a gay-marriage lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations say they plan to get their marriage licenses.
State District Judge Alan Malott ruled that Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties cannot discriminate against same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.
Kim Kiel and her partner Rose Griego, both of Santa Fe, will get their license, though they won’t be married right away. “We’re not sure when,” Kiel told me after the court hearing. “Possibly in October.”
Likewise, Tanya Struble and Therese Councilor of Jemez Springs told The Associated Press that they’re unsure whether to be married immediately or wait for a ceremony that can be attended by family and friends. “We’ve never done this,” Struble said after the hearing.
The Republicans will not be taking this lying down. There have been strongly-worded blog posts already. This is from the chairman of the Dona Ana Republican Party (DARP):
Republicans instinctively defend our core values by referring to natural law concepts acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or more authoritatively, the Bible. For example, Republicans routinely appeal to the Bible as the source of authority to defend the definition of traditional marriage. In particular, Genesis 2:24 and Mark 10:6-7.
Yet, we hamstring ourselves by fighting secularist-progressives on their battle ground. Namely, that our fundamental rights come from the government and not our Creator. Though well intentioned, we have welcomed the government into our marriages by promoting subsidies and tax breaks in order to promote the nuclear family. This has unintended consequences. By providing government benefits to some and withholding from others, we provide the very legal foothold progressives need to establish grounds for a lawsuit based on discrimination. In this writer’s opinion, when we remove marriage from government control, we save it. If government has to be involved, it should only be at the State level in accordance with the Constitution.
Progressives want conservatives to base our arguments on ever-changing societal norms and “tradition” instead of the Constitution and natural law. Why? Because progressive reforms can infiltrate, endure and become the new “tradition.” When Republicans are complicit in creating meaning never contemplated by the authors of the Constitution, we lose our intellectual ammunition and end up accepting the change, for better or worse.
Republicans, it is only with an intellectual revolution and a reclaiming of the Constitution that we can effectively fight for religious freedom, marriage, property rights, and free speech. Truth is our strongest weapon. Arm yourself with the truth and change the battlefield.
Emphasis is in the original.
I’m hoping the rest of the state gets marriage equality before the Republicans’ ‘intellectual revolution’ arrives.
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Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST
This tree is ugly and it wants to DIE... -- graphic art work on the "Absolutely Free" cover