Apple will no longer unlock iOS8 PCDs even with warrants

Update: Holder’s digital straw man.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

Trust us, we’re the government.  Righhhhhhht.

He called on companies “to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators.”

Update: FBI blasts Apple, Google for locking police out of phones

Comey added that FBI officials already have made initial contact with the two companies, which announced their new smartphone encryption initiatives last week. He said he could not understand why companies would “market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

Why, Comey?  Because we live in a free society and (for now) it is not against the law for companies to sell the devices or for consumer to buy the devices.

Update: New Level of Smartphone Encryption Alarms Law Enforcement

One Justice Department official said that if the new systems work as advertised, they will make it harder, if not impossible, to solve some cases. Another said the companies have promised customers “the equivalent of a house that can’t be searched, or a car trunk that could never be opened.”

Andrew Weissmann, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation general counsel, called Apple’s announcement outrageous, because even a judge’s decision that there is probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed won’t get Apple to help retrieve potential evidence. Apple is “announcing to criminals, ‘use this,’ ” he said. “You could have people who are defrauded, threatened, or even at the extreme, terrorists using it.”

The level of privacy described by Apple and Google is “wonderful until it’s your kid who is kidnapped and being abused, and because of the technology, we can’t get to them,” said Ronald Hosko, who left the FBI earlier this year as the head of its criminal-investigations division. “Who’s going to get lost because of this, and we’re not going to crack the case?”

Oh bullshit!  Straw-man, much?

In addition, a court could try to force a suspect to unlock his phone, said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. And a suspect could make data vulnerable to investigators by backing up files, or linking the phone to a computer.

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, predicted federal investigators wouldn’t be too hampered by the change, but state and local detectives could be. “It’s not so much a problem for ‘Big Brother,’ but a problem for ‘Little Brother,’ ” he said.

Update: Google/Android calls on personal encryption for PCDs

*PCD (Personnel Communication Device)

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its Web site. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

Apple will still have the ability — and the legal responsibility — to turn over user data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which typically includes backups of photos, videos, e-mail communications, music collections and more. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information will have to adjust settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud.

Apple’s new privacy policy comes less than five months after the Supreme Court ruled that police in most circumstances need a search warrant to collect information stored on phones. Apple’s action makes that distinction largely moot by depriving itself of the power to comply with search warrants for the contents of many of the phones it sells.

Excellent!!  I might even consider changing out from years of Android use.

What say you Google?  You have been called and raised.

Update: Google/Android calls on personal encryption for PCDs

“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement,” said company spokeswoman Niki Christoff. “As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”

via Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – The Washington Post.


Hong Kong protesters turn to mesh networks to evade censorship

The rather cramped streets of Hong Kong are currently lined with tens of thousands of people — the Umbrella Revolution. They are mostly students and members of Occupy Central, who are protesting for a fully democratic election process during the Hong Kong 2017 leadership election. The Chinese government, as always, has blocked and censored a number of social media sites so that mainland China can’t see what’s going on in Hong Kong. If the protest continues, the authorities might turn to more drastic measures — such as cutting Hong Kong’s internet connection, or turning off the cellular networks. The Hong Kong protesters won’t be so easily thwarted, however: They are already using a mesh networking app called FireChat, which allows the protesters to communicate freely without any kind of centralized cellular or WiFi network. Clearly, the Umbrella Revolution is in it for the long haul.

via Hong Kong protesters turn to mesh networks to evade China’s censorship | ExtremeTech.

AQAP Twitter-warrior killed in US drone strike

On Sept. 27, the Arabic Twitter account “American Crimes in Yemen” confirmed that al Omari had been killed in the drone strike the previous day and described the strike as “a drop in the sea of American crimes against the Muslims.” The Twitter account claimed that al Omari had survived a previous drone strike and promised its followers that the account would continue to function normally. “The #American_Crimes_in_Yemen account will remain a thorn in America and its agents’ side[s],” its new author vowed.

via AQAP Twitter-warrior killed in latest US drone strike in Yemen – Threat Matrix.

Convicted Cop-Killer Selected As Commencement Speaker

A small Vermont college is poking a lot of people in the eye by having convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as its commencement speaker next Sunday.


‘Oh look what kind of progressive school we are.’

Wonderful.  I wonder what kind of rape factory this college might be?

via Convicted Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal Selected As Commencement Speaker For College In Vermont « CBS Philly.

Words as Weapons: Fast Food Edition

A food linguist decodes the secret messages in menus.

But it’s …. menu analysis that really stands out. Where most of us see simply a list of dishes, Jurafsky identifies subtle indicators of the image that a restaurant is trying to project—and which customers it wants to lure in.

Doesn’t this lede belong on the cover of Cosmo?

Geux.  Leave it to MJ for this kind of …. what …  Light snack?

bored - Copyvia The Creepy Language Tricks Taco Bell Uses to Fool People Into Eating There | Mother Jones.

Scientists make droplets move on their own

Droplets are simple spheres of fluid, not normally considered capable of doing anything on their own. But now researchers have made droplets of alcohol move through water. In the future, such moving droplets may deliver medicines, etc. To be able to move on your own – to be self-moving – is a feature normally seen in living organisms. But also non-living entities can be self-moving, report researchers from University of Southern Denmark and Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Czech Republic.


via Scientists make droplets move on their own.

Wa Post: We Do Not Want Anyone But Granny as POTUS

Which explains why most experts severely discount Webb’s chances of ever becoming president — and why
Such a base in the Democratic Party could be hard to find in light of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s popularity and dominant standing among Democrats.

Any potential challenger to Clinton’s expected bid for the party’s nomination would have to be regarded as a long shot, and maybe none more so than Webb, a one-term senator who once served as secretary of the Navy in Reagan’s administration.

via Jim Webb, former senator from Va., takes on his party’s hawks. And maybe Clinton. – The Washington Post.

It’s Good to have The King as Your Friend

The stage, drapes, and sound system for an 18-minute speech by President Barack Obama cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.
The government paid the company $94,360 for a speech that lasted from 12:04 p.m. to 12:22 p.m., at a cost of approximately $5,242.22 per minute.

… past clients include Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and the “post-grunge” band Puddle of Mudd. The company has also done events for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Obama for America, the Obama Victory Fund, and the Democratic National Committee.

via Stage Production for 18-Minute Obama Speech Cost $94,360 | Washington Free Beacon.

“Big Talcum Powder” and [sigh] of course, Lawyers

Happened to see an ad on the boob tube, re: ovarian cancer and talcum powder.  I am not minimizing any one with cancer [been there done that] but …. GODS how much greed and victimhood can ambulance chasers imbue our society?

No links to anything.


In general, other than criminal defense, lawyers get paid when monies are transferred from one party to another.

If there is not a current revenue stream for Ambulance Chasers to stick their proboscis into (prescription drugs, medical device, insurance settlements, asbestos, etc., etc., etc.,) they will try and invent a new stream.

Extrajudicial Taxes: Philly Earns Millions By Seizing Cash And Homes (con’d V)

Update: What Seth Williams (DA) Didn’t Say About Civil Forfeiture

Williams: The system collects lots of cash, but “real” property like houses and cars relatively infrequently: “In fact, about 80 percent of what we collected in 2014 through the forfeiture process was cash, and that’s generally cash seized directly from drug dealers. It’s the lifeblood of their illegal, soul-destroying business.”

The real critique: We’ll agree that prosecutors mostly collect cash from suspected drug dealers. But there’s still a lot of property flowing through the system. Per the Institute of Justice: “From 2002 through 2012, Philadelphia seized and forfeited 1,172 homes and other real properties, 3,290 automobiles and other vehicles and over $44 million in cash.” That’s not a problem if you think the process is working fairly. If, on the other hand, you think a mom shouldn’t lose her house because her son sold and possessed $180 worth of weed, or a family shouldn’t lose its house over charges filed by rogue cops, you might still be troubled.


In order to seize cash, police typically pulled drivers over for minor traffic infractions. During the stop, police would look for “indicators” of suspicious, criminal activity. Tinted windows, air fresheners, trash in the car, “a profusion of energy drinks,” “a driver who is too talkative or too quiet” and signs of nervousness have all been considered indicators. For one Florida sheriff,“cars obeying the speed limit were suspect—their desire to avoid being stopped made them stand out.”  

Uh-oh, this isn’t going to work out well for women driving on Oklahoma highways.

On the grounds that a driver is sufficiently suspicious, police then have the authority to search the car with a drug dog. If the dog alerts (and there are significant concerns about their accuracy), police then have probable cause to seize property owned by the driver. After police seized cash, the government usually wins: The Washington Post found that out of nearly 62,000 cash seizures since 9/11, in only 4,455 cases—seven percent—did the government agree to return at least a portion of the money taken.

To help end illegal State takings, support the Institute for Justice program against Civil Forfeiture.

It’s time to end civil forfeiture.  No one should lose their property to law enforcement without being convicted of a crime, and the police shouldn’t profit from taking property.

Update: Weigel: Don’t steal — the government hates competition

The Institute for Justice filed its lawsuit after months of observing the courtroom, four years after it published a report on how civil forfeiture meant “property is guilty until you prove it innocent,” two years after Philadelphia City Paper reporter Isaiah Thompson published a lengthy investigation of the process, and one year after a blockbuster New Yorker piece about forfeitures around the country. The basic argument, in the articles and in the lawsuit, was that Philadelphia’s use of forfeiture was wildly out of whack. Thompson’s reporting found that the city brought in “upwards of $6-million a year” from forfeitures, or about five times as much as Brooklyn. Those numbers, and Thompson’s subsequent reporting, are cited in the Institute for Justice’s filing.

“If you fail to show up in 478, they call your name and prosecutor marks your case for default,” said the Institute for Justice’s lead attorney on the case, Darpana Sheth. She’d previously worked on a forfeiture case in Massachusetts, which the group had made famous — George F. Will even wrote a datelined column about it. “If you tell average people on the street how this works,” said Sheth, “it sounds so foreign to the American system, they can’t believe it.”

Update: Now on CNN

Back in March, Chris’s son was caught selling $40 worth of drugs outside of the home. With no previous arrests or a prior record, a court ordered him to attend rehab. But the very day Sourovelis was driving his son to begin treatment, he got a frantic call from his wife. Without any prior notice, police evicted the Sourovelises and seized the house, using a little-known law known as “civil forfeiture.”

Philadelphia law enforcement has transformed a once obscure legal process into a racket that treats Americans as little more than ATMs. Every year, the city collects almost $6 million in revenue from forfeiture. According to data collected by the Institute for Justice, between 2002 and 2012, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office seized and forfeited over 3,000 vehicles, nearly 1,200 homes and other real estate properties and $44 million in cash. Altogether, Philadelphia has generated a staggering $64 million in forfeiture proceeds, which equals one-fifth of the DA Office’s entire budget. Forty percent of those funds—$25 million—pay law enforcement salaries, including the salaries for the prosecutors who have used civil forfeiture against families like the Sourovelises.

Incredibly, property owners battling civil forfeiture have fewer rights than those actually accused of committing a crime. Unlike in criminal cases, the government does not need to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” to prevail. Instead, once prosecutors show merely that there was a link between a property and some alleged criminal activity owners must prove their innocence. Moreover, since these cases are in civil court, owners facing forfeiture do not have a right to an attorney.

Click forth and [sigh] read all:

via Philadelphia Earns Millions By Seizing Cash And Homes From People Never Charged With A Crime – Forbes.

No wonder he relies on the ‘newspapers’

A new Government Accountability Institute GAI report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.

via Report: Obama Has Missed over Half His Second-Term Daily Intel Briefings.

The University of Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde

“Our rational is that by teaching medically accurate sex education with prevention infused throughout, we will be heard by the folks who need this info the most. Young people are arguably interested in sex and many of them have had limited or no sex education. In teaching them about sex, we can also teach them about healthy relationships and consent,” said Summer Little, director of the campus Women’s Resource Center, a co-sponsor of Sex Week.

Citing the “provocative nature of the titles of the workshops,” the statement adds “the university is dependent upon the unfettered flow of ideas, not only in the classroom and the laboratory, but also in all university activities. As such, protecting freedom of expression is of central importance to the university.”

Well, which is it going to be?  Teach kids how to get off [Guess what administrative geniuses, they already know.] or are college campuses Rape Factories of Repression of 20%* of all girls?

Rape on college and university campuses across the US is a systemic problem, and so is the lack of action on the part of officials, many of whom want to suppress rape reporting as much as possible because it would make them look bad.

via Public University’s Sex Week Includes ‘Negotiating Successful Threesomes’ Event.

The Government Hates Competition (Security edition)

The indictment alleges that StealthGenie’s capabilities included the following: it recorded all incoming/outgoing voice calls; it intercepted calls on the phone to be monitored while they take place; it allowed the purchaser to call the phone and activate it at any time to monitor all surrounding conversations within a 15-foot radius; and it allowed the purchaser to monitor the user’s incoming and outgoing e-mail messages and SMS messages, incoming voice-mail messages, address book, calendar, photographs, and videos. All of these functions were enabled without the knowledge of the user of the phone.

via FBI — Pakistani Man Indicted for Selling StealthGenie Spyware App.

Extrajudicial Taxes: Brooklyn

A speed camera on Ocean Avenue near a highway off-ramp and Lincoln High School in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn gave out 1,551 tickets one day earlier this year, according to the New York Post.

The information comes from a Department of Transportation report that just got released. The big pay day came on July 7, when school wasn’t even in session. Each ticket is $50, so the city snagged a cool $77,550. It’s one of 10 speed cameras on Ocean Parkway.

‘Really, we promise you proles people it is about safely.  Trust me, I am the government’

New Thermal Camera Attachment for Mobile Phones

Compatible with iOS and Android phones, the Seek Thermal is a 0.5 oz (14 gm) camera in a magnesium case, which attaches to the USB dock on a smartphone. Inside is a bespoke 206 x 156 array vanadium oxide microbolometer with a chalcogenide lens providing a 36º field of view. According to the company, Seek Thermal operates in the 7.2 to 13 micron long-wave infrared range and can detect heat in a temperature range from -40º C to 330º C (-40º F to 626º F).


Oh, Good. MTV is Getting into the Buzzfeed Market.

Excellent Snark

Content Blues

Lists! Lists all the time!


Here’s what I have to say in response to this paint-by-numbers men-are-icky listicle:

1. They know how to wire 17 devices through one surge protector…

Is that difficult? Put the plug in the socket. This is beyond female ken? Really?

2. But have no idea how to put down the toilet seat.

*sigh*  Yes we do. We have the idea to put it down every time we have to go no. 2. The only idea we don’t have is this odd expectation that the toilet seat is always going to be in the optimum position for us when we approach it. If we have to sit on it, and the seat is up, we put it down! I know! Like, without complaining or anything!


3. They can proficiently operate an elaborate system of multiple remotes and cable boxes…

If you say so, sister. I get frustrated with…

View original post 378 more words

Governor Moonbeam: Lover of The Security State

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have placed strict limits on law enforcement agencies using unmanned aerial drones for surveillance.

AB1327 by Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell of Camarillo would have required government agencies to get warrants before conducting surveillance with drones and would have required that they publicly announce their intent to buy and use them.It was passed by the Legislature in the last days of its session last month.Brown said in a statement that the bill appears to be too narrow and could go beyond what the state and federal constitutions would prohibit.


via Brown Vetoes Bill Limiting Drone Surveillance « CBS Sacramento.

Perfect Weapon Against the Daeshi: Mockery

That’s right, a new weapon has been unleashed in this country devastated by Islamist militant violence — comedy.

A new 30-part satirical series, “State of Myths,” which started airing on Iraqi state television Saturday, aims to expose the true nature of the Islamic State extremist organization — through slapstick and puns.

Excellent!  Mock them mercilessly!

via New Iraqi comedy show aims to counter Islamic State extremists – The Washington Post.