Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged law

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.


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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.


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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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Rape victim Lydia Cuomo advocates for passage of the “rape is rape” bill, which would redefine rape in New York state.

From the NY Daily News:

At the urging of a brave Bronx teacher brutally raped by a city cop, the state Assembly unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to toughen the state’s rape laws.

The so-called “rape is rape” bill would classify vaginal, anal and oral contact as rape.

The latter two, under current state law, are considered criminal sexual conduct, not rape — a distinction some victims say lessens the perceived severity of the crime even though it carries the same criminal penalties.

The bill also would only require that vaginal contact be proven for rape, instead of the current standard of penetration.

Video source.

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Anonymous has vowed that the Hawthorne Police department will pay for killing a family’s dog.

The threat begins, “Hello fellow citizens of Earth. We are ‘Anonymous.’ Police of Hawthorne, you should know you are our primary target. This matter will not remain unresolved. We are ‘Anonymous.’ We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”

This story is horrific. Again, instead of letting the man call his dog to him, defusing the situation, they resort to automatically pulling their guns and shooting a dog who cannot understand English.

The city is hoping that public outrage over the dog’s shooting will subside over the holiday weekend.

This is the problem with the police. They do something wrong, refuse to admit they were wrong, and hopes it will just go away.

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