Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged law

In a historic change, city cops on Nov. 19 will stop arresting people on low-level marijuana charges and issue them tickets instead, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Monday.

People caught smoking on the street would still wind up in the pokey, however, but someone caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana would be slapped with a noncriminal violation. “As for those who want to avoid summonses, don’t do it; it’s that simple,” Bratton said at a press conference at NYPD headquarters, holding up a baggie of oregano as a visual aid. “It’s still against the law. I’m not giving out get-out-of-jail-for-free cards.”

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More at the Daily News.

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If you’ve ever visited Paris, you’ve probably taken pictures of the Eiffel Tower. If you’ve done this during the daytime, that’s great. But take a photo at night and you’ve just committed a crime.

In several countries architectural structures are protected by copyright. That means you have to ask permission from the copyright holder to use your own picture in public.

This is also true for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The famous landmark was built in 1889 which means that it falls within the public domain. However, the light show was added later and this is still protected by copyright.

It may sound absurd, but taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night and sharing that online may be copyright infringement. The stance is confirmed by the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, who note the following on their website.

The Eiffel Tower’s website reads:

Daytime views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free.

However, its various illuminations are subject to author’s rights as well as brand rights. Usage of these images is subject to prior request from the “Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel” (the Eiffel Tower’s operating company, or SETE).

The citation “Eiffel Tower”, the names of the various services offered on the monument as well as domain names are also registered.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that the light shows are copyrighted. More confusing, if the tower is simply lit, does that constitute infringement? How much is it enforced? Who knows.

Photo credit.

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Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center.

Some say that mass collection of U.S. phone records is a gross invasion of privacy. Others say that it is necessary to keep us safe. But what does the U.S Constitution say?

“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.” Is collection of phone records a “search” or “seizure”?

If so, is it “unreasonable”? Does it require a particularized warrant and probable cause? These are among the most consequential-and controversial-constitutional questions of our time.

Source.

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Whether Berning had a right to record O’Brien is not clear under state law, said Barry Butin, co-legal panel chairman of the Broward American Civil Liberties Union. But because it is clear that third parties can record video of police performing their duties, Berning “has a good chance of the law being on her side,” Butin said.

Source.

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Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd was indicted on 31 criminal charges last week on charges that include fraud, extortion, embezzlement, witness tampering and perjury. Byrd is accused of using his position as sheriff to retaliate against anyone he felt opposed him.

One of the charges said Byrd pressured a detective to sign a criminal affidavit and seek an arrest warrant against a man in a murder investigation in 2007 when the detective did not believe the man committed the crime. The indictment said Byrd was running for re-election at the time and wanted to be able to say there were no unsolved murders in the coastal Mississippi county of about 140,000 people.

An extortion charge in the indictment said Byrd pressured a female deputy to engage in sexual acts and threatened to give her a bad recommendation if she left his department.

Another of the charges said Byrd ordered the surveillance of Ocean Springs Police Chief Keith Davis in retaliation for Davis “embarrassing” Byrd by disclosing a July 2012 shooting involving narcotics task force agents. The shooting involved two agents, with one accused of shooting toward the feet of another in the task force headquarters. Byrd also is charged with hindering prosecution by ordering that evidence in the case be concealed.

Another count in the 15-page indictment said Byrd sent narcotics agents to perform surveillance on employees of a Mexican restaurant because the eatery had refused to accept a check from him. He’s also accused of sending officers to watch a man who objected to the location of a hotel in Ocean Springs and using the power of his office in refusing to pay for repairs to his lawn mower.

Some of the counts are related to testimony in a case involving former Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan, who was charged with child exploitation related to an alleged image on his city laptop. The district attorney’s office later declined to prosecute the case.

This implies that Byrd was willing to make an innocent man look as if he was a pedophile, solely for some perceived wrong.

Some of the fraud charges are related to the money it cost for the agents to conduct what the grand jury considered illegitimate surveillance ordered by Byrd.

Embezzlement charges accuse him of sending department employees to solicit money for at work at events like bass tournaments and paying them with Jackson County funds.

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Byrd is currently out on bond, awaiting his court date. Byrd faces numerous years in prison if convicted.

To fully understand what Byrd is facing, The Sun Herald has a complete breakdown of the charges.

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