Loss of Privacy

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

Although this was originally posted by the ACLU in 2004, it still holds true and bears repeating so others can learn.

Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.

Don’t get into an argument with the police.

Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.

Keep your hands where the police can see them.

Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer.

Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.

Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.

Do not make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

Remember officers’ badge and patrol car numbers.

Write down everything you remember ASAP.

Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.

If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

1. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you bad-mouth a police officer.

2. You must show your driver’s license and registration when stopped in a car. Otherwise, you don’t have to answer any questions if you are detained or arrested, with one important exception. The police may ask for your name if you have been properly detained, and you can be arrested in some states for refusing to give it. If you reasonably fear that your name is incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent, which may be a defense in case you are arrested anyway.

3. You don’t have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.

4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police — you can be arrested for it.


1. It’s not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you. If you are asked to identify yourself, see paragraph 2 above.

2. Police may “pat-down” your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don’t physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search.

3. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.

4. Don’t bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.


1. Upon request, show them your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.

2. If you’re given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.

3. If you’re suspected of drunk driving (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver’s license may be suspended.


1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.

2. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Don’t say anything without a lawyer.

3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person. The police may not listen to the call to the lawyer.

4. Sometimes you can be released without bail, or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge about this possibility. You must be taken before the judge on the next court day after arrest.

5. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.


1. If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don’t have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.

2. However, in some emergency situations (like when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.

3. If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, “close by” usually means just the room you are in.

We all recognize the need for effective law enforcement, but we should also understand our own rights and responsibilities — especially in our relationships with the police. Everyone, including minors, has the right to courteous and respectful police treatment.

If your rights are violated, don’t try to deal with the situation at the scene. You can discuss the matter with an attorney afterwards, or file a complaint with the Internal Affairs or Civilian Complaint Board.

Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU has even made a pdf for you to print and keep in your pocket, just in case.

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Three unencrypted laptops containing the data from over 7,000 patients were stolen in Birmingham.  What seems as a common, careless occurrence today, one of the laptops was left behind in a car, where it was promptly stolen.  Letters of apology, which do no good, were sent out to those affected.

The first laptop went missing at the premises of a Birmingham hospital in March 2006, a second was stolen in a mugging in March 2007 and the third was stolen after being left in a Trulife employee’s car in February last year.

Isn’t it nice that they are getting around to sending out letters of apology three years after the first incident?

A Trulife spokeswoman said although the laptops were password protected they had not been encrypted, and only contained “basic information” of name, address, date of birth, hospital number and orthotics appliance prescription.

That’s still enough for identity theft and to do some damage.  It’s also easy to get around passwords in the 21st century.

“The laptops did not contain any other information about patients’ personal circumstances – medical, financial, personal or social,” she added.

A thief does need this information.  They already have the person’s name, address and date of birth to find out where the person lives.  This alone would give a thief a sizable amount of information about the patient and how they could further steal from the person.

“Although the laptop in question was reported stolen on the February last year, Trulife did not discover that the laptop held data about Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust patients until October.

“After a police investigation into these thefts, the police characterised the risk of subsequent access to and use of the data as low and suggested it was more likely than not that the laptops would simply be sold for their hardware value rather than for any interest in the data that the laptops contained.”

The stupidity of the officials involved is astounding.  It takes eight months to figure out what data is on a particular laptop?  Did they not question the person who was actually responsible for the laptop what might be contained on the hard drive?  The police also haven’t a clue.  They conclude that, because something is considered a low risk that no one would attempt to use the data.    I’m sure they did sell the laptops afterward, but automatically assuming that the data hasn’t been accessed is incompetence at its worst.

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According to a Scottish government survey, 1 in 3 taxi drivers have been assaulted in the past.  In an effort to eliminate attacks and assaults, Glasgow taxis are going to be equipped with CCTV.

During the trial period in East Renfrewshire, large, orange signs were placed inside the taxis making customers aware of the CCTV.  So far, there have been no complaints and most people appear to welcome the CCTV in taxis.

The Scottish government hasn’t said how or who is going to pay to equip every taxi in the city.  Also, while it would be really nice to eliminate violence against taxi drivers, the rate of violence in train and bus stations hasn’t subsided, which have had CCTV cameras for several years.

CCTV cameras won’t protect the passenger or the driver.  It will only allow the police to rewind the video after the crime has been committed in an attempt to catch those responsible.

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Here’s an interesting video demonstrating how this one particular model of breathalyzer can have the results manipulated.

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PinchMedia, a company that offers a service to iPhone application creators about how their apps are used after installation is gathering more details than is necessary.  Similar to the Palm Pre problem, instead of just reporting how the app is used, the company freely admits that it does much more;

The ID number of your device, the model and operating system version, application name and version, whether the device is jailbroken, whether the app is pirated, how long the app has been used and the user’s co-ordinates (latitude and longitude). If FaceBook is enabled the gender and age of the user is also reported.

Users are unaware that this is happening and there is no opt-out for these apps.  This is, without a doubt, spyware, and violates Apple’s EULA.  Tell Apple that you aren’t going to put up with this type of business model.  Vote with your wallet and tell as many people as you can.

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