Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged police

It doesn’t actually fire but like a radar gun, but this new device can let law enforcement know who is using a device to text or talk while driving.

ComSonics, a company in Virginia, developed the technology for the Sniffer Sleuth II.

For now, the texting gun that weighs about 1.6 pounds awaits legislative approval. The gun is ready for the assembly line, but no release date has been attached to the innovation.

Makers say the gun is sensitive enough to determine if it’s the driver or passenger who is texting.

ComSonics says each Sniffer Sleuth would cost about $2,000.

More.

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Textbooks, free lunches for everyone, teachers and safe buildings up to code cost too much, but expensive military equipment that never needed to be built to begin with are acceptable and freely available in the United States.

Steven Zipperman, Chief of the Los Angeles School Police Department, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the department will give back three grenade launchers while keeping a a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle and dozens of rifles it received through the program.

While much of the military hardware at the disposal of LAUSD police officers – including the 20-foot-long, 14-ton armored transport vehicles, much like the ones used to move Marines in Iraq combat zones – has never been used, Zipperman defended the decision to hang on to the MRAP.

“It is a vehicle that is available for a rescue in the event of a catastrophic incident that may occur within our region,” said Zipperman. “I believe it’s better to have some type of rescue vehicle than none at all.”

Does anyone else get the feeling that schools now are just training grounds for compliance and prison?

LA Unified is among at least 22 school systems across eight states that have received surplus military equipment, The Los Angeles Times reported.

There is never a reason for a school to ever have a need for military weapons and equipment.

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In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, an aggressive brand of policing called “highway interdiction,” which involves authorities seizing money and property during traffic stops, has grown in popularity. Thousands of people not charged with crimes are left fighting legal battles to regain their money.

Cash seizures can be made under state or federal civil law. One of the primary ways police departments are able to seize money and share in the proceeds at the federal level is through a long-standing Justice Department civil asset forfeiture program known as Equitable Sharing. Asset forfeiture is an extraordinarily powerful law enforcement tool that allows the government to take cash and property without pressing criminal charges and then requires the owners to prove their possessions were legally acquired.

The practice has been controversial since its inception at the height of the drug war more than three decades ago, and its abuses have been the subject of journalistic exposés and congressional hearings. But unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11.

“Those laws were meant to take a guy out for selling $1 million in cocaine or who was trying to launder large amounts of money,” said Mark Overton, the police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., who once oversaw a federal drug task force in South Florida. “It was never meant for a street cop to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road.”

It’s the same, no matter where the police are conducting these stops.

In case after case, highway interdictors appeared to follow a similar script. Police set up what amounted to rolling checkpoints on busy highways and pulled over motorists for minor violations, such as following too closely or improper signaling. They quickly issued warnings or tickets. They studied drivers for signs of nervousness, including pulsing carotid arteries, clenched jaws and perspiration. They also looked for supposed “indicators” of criminal activity, which can include such things as trash on the floor of a vehicle, abundant energy drinks or air fresheners hanging from rearview mirrors.

More at The Washington Post.

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The notion that certain rights are guaranteed to citizens is being proven false every day. For instance, you have the First Amendment right to film police officers and other public officials, but it often takes an official policy change (usually prompted by lawsuits) before these public servants will begrudgingly respect that right.

More at techdirt.

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SWAT teams were created in the 1960s to combat hostage-takings, sniper shootings, and violent unrest. But today they’re often used in more controversial police work.

Read the story at the New York Times.

Video.

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