Time to leave Wisconsin? Cops allowed to track you without warrent

Posted on May 12th, 2009 by bile
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/…

Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody’s movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was “more than a little troubled” by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.

As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights — even if the drivers aren’t suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.

Just the next step. In NYC they will track your car using cameras which will read the license plate so why not just tagging each vehicle as they enter the Lincoln tunnel? Some states have considered forcing every state resident to have a GPS to track millage for gas taxes. I’m sure that’s all they intend.

Sounds to me that GPS jammer sales may be going up.

TSA may start searching bags in NYC subways

Posted on April 29th, 2009 by bile
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http://gothamist.com/…

The city’s overall budget cuts are apparently hitting the NYPD right in the subway bag check area. MyFoxNY reports that with few police officers available, “Transportation Security Administration bag screeners from Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports will be replacing most NYPD cops in the subway that screen bags for explosives.” The TSA wouldn’t confirm the plan (but did say taking TSA screeners from airports and putting them underground wouldn’t effect air safety) and the NYPD says these are just talks. However, sources tell MyFoxNY it’s likely to happen—and it’ll work this way: “About 30 TSA screeners a day will be pulled from the three area airports Monday through Friday to inspect bags at various subway locations throughout the city. At each location they’ll be teamed up with one police officer instead of the two or three officers you currently see at inspection sites.” Naturally, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association says this is a terrible idea and says budget crisis or no, the NYPD needs more cops.

I hope this happens before I leave and they increase the frequency of the searches. I’ve not had the chance to refuse a search in a long time even though it seems they are more often in the new South Ferry station than they used to be. It’ll be more fun to tell a cop and a TSA agent no than 2 or 3 cops.

Obama Administration defends warrantless wiretapping

Posted on April 7th, 2009 by bile
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http://yro.slashdot.org/…

“The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has stepped in to defend AT&T in the case over their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program started by Bush. The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important ‘state secrets.’ The Electronic Frontier Foundation has described the action as an ‘embrace’ of the Bush policy.” Update: 04/07 15:18 GMT by T : Glenn Greenwald of Salon has up an analysis of this move, including excerpts from the actual brief filed. Excerpt: “This brief and this case are exclusively the Obama DOJ’s, and the ample time that elapsed — almost three full months — makes clear that it was fully considered by Obama officials.”

I’m really getting tired of all this ‘change.’

More casualties in the war on drugs

Posted on March 31st, 2009 by bile
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http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/623439.html

A South Buffalo family wants answers after police shot and killed two of their dogs during a raid Saturday, leaving blood puddled on a living-room carpet and speckled on the wall.

Police, who were looking for a drug suspect and narcotics, left the Indian Church Road home without finding any evidence or arresting anyone, according to residents of the house.

The incident has left the family distraught and angry over the loss of the dogs, Essy and Moosey.

“It was just the most traumatizing, horrible thing,” said Rita M. Patterson, 27, who lives in the house with her 68-year-old father, Daniel J. Patterson.

Rita Patterson’s boyfriend, William F. Hanavan, 32, paroled last year after serving eight months in prison on a drug charge, was home but was not taken into custody Saturday.

However, Hanavan was arrested on a felony assault charge Sunday afternoon, Buffalo police reported.

When police stormed the house on Indian Church Road, near Seneca Street, at about 5:30 p. m. Saturday, Daniel Patterson was on the couch, watching the news.

“They shot the dogs for no reason at all,” he told The Buffalo News on Sunday.

Rita Patterson said she was cooking dinner in the kitchen when she heard loud noises at the side door. Hanavan was upstairs taking a nap, and at first she thought he may have fallen out of bed.

Before she knew what was happening, police wearing masks and helmets and carrying automatic weapons had broken through the door. They tied her hands with a zip tie and put her on the floor.

Her father pleaded with police not to shoot the dogs, but they wouldn’t allow him to grab the dogs and put them in another room, Patterson said.

One of the officers started firing a shotgun at the two dogs, one a pit bull and the other a pit bull-boxer mix.

One of the dogs was shot three times: once in the throat, once in the back and the last time in the leg while trying to run away, Rita Patterson said.

The other dog was cowering behind a table. Neither was a threat to the police, the residents said.

The police had a warrant for the home, but it named no suspects. It said only that investigators were looking for a white male and Hydrocodone. Information that led to the warrant, according to the warrant itself, came partly from an informant, Rita Patterson said.

I hope the assulted man was the informant. He probably gets paid to rat people out. A guy on parol for drug posession/selling is an easy target to rat out without any real evidence.

Abusive Border Patrol Agents w/ Nun Chucks at NM Checkpoint

Posted on February 10th, 2009 by bile
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Highlights:

(5:35) Agent whips out his nun chucks in anger
(7:45-8:00) The agent tells me in less than perfect English, “In the Border Patrol Checkpoint, the person’s rights doesn’t matter here.”
(16:50-17:10) I’m told that the police will arrive in less than 10 minutes to arrest me
(19:00-19:40) I’m accused of being a terrorist
(26:20) I’m told that I’m free to go without being searched

Warrantless wiretaps A-OK says intelligence court

Posted on January 16th, 2009 by bile
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http://arstechnica.com/…

The executive branch may conduct warrantless surveillance in the name of national security, according to a decision by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Court of Review published Thursday. The decision, handed down in August, but published in redacted form this week, blessed surveillance under the stopgap Protect America Act, which was superseded last year by the FISA Amendments Act.

Like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which issues secret warrants for both physical searches and electronic surveillance under the FISA law, the Foreign Intelligence Court of Review seldom makes its opinions public. In an order dated January 12, however, the Court found the release of an edited, unclassified version of its August opinion to be in the public interest.

The ruling concerns a challenge to surveillance authorized by the attorney general under the PAA. Though the party raising the challenge is not named—the opinion refers only to the “petitioner”—it is likely to be either a telecom or an Internet Service Provider, in principle, however, any entity with information about a target “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States,” such as a university or financial institution. Under the terms of the PAA, the attorney general is empowered to issue “authorizations” for surveillance that has traditionally required a court order issued by an independent magistrate.

For the first time, the Court explicitly asserted an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement for foreign intelligence surveillance meant to serve a national security purpose.

Concerns about abuse, the court held, amounted to “little more than a lament about the risk that government officials will not operate in good faith,” a risk present even when a warrant is issued. In effect, the court reasoned that since judges generally presume that law enforcement officials are being diligent and truthful in their applications for a warrant, the same presumption should be granted when intelligence agencies conduct surveillance without a warrant.

The court seemed similarly unconcerned with the danger that innocent persons’ information would be swept up in surveillance, calling such worries “overblown” in the light of “minimization” procedures designed to cull away any such “incidental” collections. “The government assures us that it does not maintain a database of incidentally collected information from non-targeted United States persons,” the Court wrote, “and there is no evidence to the contrary.”

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Nope… nothing about exceptions for national security.

Little more than a lament that government bureaucrats will not operate in good faith? Seriously? So the drug war and Guantanamo and the whole torture debate and corruption scandals and the lying by the Bush administration about their wiretapping program and… and… and… are not enough to have serious questions regarding the bureaucrats moral compass?