Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts in Civil Rights

Several makers of police body cameras say their orders have grown in recent months, particularly since a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot 18-year-old Michael Brown. A grand jury decided Monday there is not enough evidence to charge the officer, Darren Wilson, with a crime.

Taser (TASR), best known for the line of stun guns bearing its name, said sales of its body cameras were up 30% in the third quarter, which included the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown.

Last week, the company said the San Francisco police department had ordered 160 cameras. The Los Angeles police department recently decided it would arm officers with Taser-brand cameras as well.

In all, over 1,200 police agencies are now using Taser cameras, said Sydney Siegmeth, and the company has sold over 100,000 of them, including cameras mounted on the stun guns themselves.

Similarly, Digital Ally (DGLY) said inquiries about its on-body cameras have increased six- or seven-fold, and sales are up three or four times the average.

More at CNN.

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For more than three months after police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri, street on August 9, it was difficult to get a full idea of what happened.

Wilson’s grand jury testimony was secret. But there were leaks, along with a few publicly available details about his life. He is 28 years old. Six months before the shooting, he won a commendation for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty.” He lived with his girlfriend (whom he married in secret in October). He had previously worked for a nearby police department that was so dysfunctional it was disbanded. Anonymous sources “close” to him told various news outlets that Brown had tried to grab Wilson’s gun and that Brown was charging at him before Wilson fired the fatal shots. A fuzzy picture of Wilson and his account emerged.

Of course, it’s impossible to ever know Brown’s side, because he isn’t here to tell it. But we have learned quite a bit about him, as well. He was “no angel.” He had marijuana in his system when he died. He was college bound. He stole cigarillos from a convenience store and “strong-armed” a clerk in the process. He, at 6’5″ and almost 300 pounds, was remembered by loved ones as a gentle giant.

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St. Louis County police said they have spent around $100,000 stocking up on riot gear and other items they may need if protests turn violent after prosecutors announce whether a Ferguson officer will face criminal charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
“And CNN reports that citizens are also preparing for the grand jury ruling: gun sales are up in St. Louis.

A state grand jury has been meeting since shortly after Brown, who was 18 and black, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, on Aug. 9. Brown was unarmed and some witnesses said he was trying to surrender. Wilson’s attorneys have repeatedly declined comment.

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“There’s no perfect system out there. So take what’s available, many (police agencies) are already doing this – I don’t hear complaints from them. Let’s go do it,” NAACP Austin’s Nelson Linder told KXAN.

During the 2011 Texas Relays, Austin Police tried out seven types of body cameras, records show. It was decided potential cost (between $800 and $2500 per unit) and other issues such as video storage, unit battery life and reliability warranted more study.

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Criminals aren’t the only people who desire privacy. The United Nations recognizes privacy as a fundamental human right, and many countries protect their citizens’ privacy rights explicitly in their constitutions. As the ACLU says, “Privacy is a fundamental part of a dignified life.” It enables freedom of expression and individual autonomy without fear of reprisal.

The “nothing to hide” argument also goes against the principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” a principle which the justice systems of many countries in the world follow. Instead, constant government surveillance of its citizens assumes that all of them are criminals who have something to hide.

Add to all that the fact that we don’t even know for sure why they’re watching us, and what they’re doing with all our data, and we have even more reasons to be suspicious of the constant surveillance.

But there is something you can do to protect your information while browsing online, and it doesn’t require you to be an IT expert or technical genius. Using the TOR browser, you can remain anonymous online and protect your right to privacy. Here’s how to get started.

TOR for Newbies: How & Why to Use it - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

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