Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Civil Rights

Known as Stingrays, the FBI has admitted to using cell phone towers to track you. Their usual response includes they must do this to catch terrorists, pedophiles and missing children.

The press conference actually occurred back in October, but the video didn’t surface until this weekend and hadn’t been reported on until the Charlotte Observer’s excellent investigation into the use of Stingrays by local police was published on Sunday.

Stingrays work by allowing police to track the movement of a suspect, and are often used without a warrant, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.

Comey also said that the agency has “nothing to hide” from “good people,” but that secrecy is important if Stingrays are going to be effective. Comey doesn’t note, however, that, in trying to track down any one “bad person,” the agency law enforcement necessarily tracks the locations of everyone within a wide geographic radius, thanks to the way the technology works.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has said that every year, millions of good people are getting wrapped up in a surveillance dragnet they didn’t ask to be involved in.

“The devices wrap up innocent people, which looks like a dragnet search that’s not legal under the Fourth Amendment,” Nate Wessler, a staff attorney for the ACLU, recently told me. “Even if they’re tracking a specific suspect, they’re getting info about every bystander. That’s a concern.”

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A Niles, Ohio police officer was disciplined after an internal affairs investigation revealed he used his badge for a personal attack against a couple during a traffic stop.

According to the the 21-page report conducted by Internal Affairs, it finds Patrolman Todd Mobley violated several department policies in an incident on Nov. 25, including use of force violations, unlawful search and seizure or detention, failing to control his temper and misuse of police cruiser dash camera.

“As a result of that, there is a suspension that has been issued for 30 days and some other penalties attached in addition to that,” Niles Law Director Terry Dull said.

The other penalties include forfeiting compensatory and vacation time and other leave in the amount of several thousand dollars.

According to the police report, another officer arrived and Officer Mobley instructed him to shut off his dash camera, claiming it was for a legitimate law enforcement purpose, when it was for the sole purpose of not wanting his words recorded while threatening Huffman.

Where would it be legitimate to ever turn off the camera?

Source.

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nypd

The NYPD is, effectively, a paramilitary group operating in one of the largest cities in the world.

From the NY Post:

The NYPD will launch a unit of 350 cops to handle both counterterrorism and protests — riding vehicles equipped with machine guns and riot gear — under a re-engineering plan to be rolled out over the coming months.

The Strategic Response Group, or SRG, will be devoted to “advanced disorder control and counterterrorism protection,” responding to the sort of demonstrations that erupted after the Eric Garner grand jury decision and also events like the recent Paris terror attacks.

“It will be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not,” Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday.

“It will be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and the machine guns that are unfortunately sometimes necessary in these ­instances.”

The department will do away with the current system that pulls cops off regular assignments to provide a beefed-up presence at certain hot spots in “critical incident” vehicles.

When ordinary citizens show up to a protest and see this sort of response from the police, they are going to turn around and go home. The NYPD is silencing dissent. They don’t even need to fire a shot. The SRG has compared protesting with terrorism and no one wants to be labeled a terrorist.

The NYPD later attempted to clarify the role of the SRG.

“They are not going to be handling protests, demonstrations, [or do] crime work in precincts,” Chief of Department James O’Neill told reporters about the planned unit of critical response vehicles — dubbed CRVs — which will be part of the city’s counterterrorism effort.

O’Neill had to clarify the unit’s duties after some media reports indicated the heavily armed cops would be toting large automatic rifles and even machine guns at demonstrations, something that unnerved some activists.

If they aren’t going to be doing these things, then why is terrorism and protesting being placed under the same umbrella group? Despite the clarification, the initial statement clearly reveals that you have no rights if you’re going to protest. You oppose the “American way” of life, there will be consequences.

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At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

HOW IT WORKS

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

More at USA Today.

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