FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public (con’d)

Update: San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department doesn’t tell judges it’s using spy device (Stingray)

The sheriff in San Bernardino County—east of Los Angeles County—has deployed a stingray hundreds of times without a warrant, and under questionable judicial authority.

In response to a public records request, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) sent Ars, among other outlets, a rare example of a template for a “pen register and trap and trace order” application. (In the letter, county lawyers claimed this was a warrant application template, when it clearly is not.) The SBSD is the law enforcement agency for the entire county, the 12th-most populous county in the United States, and the fifth-most populous in California.

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This template application, surprisingly, cites no legal authority on which to base its activities. The SBSD did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.
“This is astonishing because it suggests the absence of legal authorization (because if there were clear legal authorization you can bet the government would be citing it),” Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, told Ars by e-mail.
“Alternatively, it might suggest that the government just doesn’t care about legal authorization. Either interpretation is profoundly troubling,” he said.
The documents sent to Ars by the SBSD’s county attorneys also show that since acquiring a stingray in late 2012, the agency has used it 303 times between January 1, 2014 and May 7, 2015.

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The template is likely to mislead judges who receive applications based on it because it gives no indication that the Sheriff’s Department intends to use a stingray,” he wrote by e-mail.
“We have seen similarly misleading applications submitted to judges by police departments across the country,” he continued. “Judges have no hope of ensuring that use of stingrays complies with the Fourth Amendment if they are kept in the dark about law enforcement’s intent to use a stingray. When police hide the ball from judges, our justice system cannot ensure justice.”

Update: Baltimore Police Spying On Cellphones And Hiding It

A detective’s court testimony Monday revealed that Baltimore law enforcement is spying on residents at an incredible rate without a warrant — and doing their best to hide it.
Detective Michael Dressel testified that Baltimore law enforcement have used “sting rays”–devices that can track personal cell phone data and location–without court orders, The Baltimore Sun reports. Police said they have used sting rays 4,300 more than times since 2007.
“This is scandalous,” Tim Lynch, the Cato Institute’s Director for the Project on Criminal Justice, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Police agencies have misled the public about how the stingray devices have been used and how often. We need to find out what has been happening in other cities around the country. FBI officials and police chiefs need to come clean about this.”

Update: NYCLU releases details of EC Sheriff’s cell phone spying

The NYCLU says documents show the sheriff’s office has a confidentiality agreement with the FBI that allows it to maintain almost total secrecy over the records for this device, including that the FBI can request the sheriff’s office dismiss criminal prosecutions rather than risk compromising the secrecy of how the Stingray is used.]
“Stingrays are an advanced surveillance technology that can sweep up very private information, including information on innocent people,” said NYCLU Western Region Director John Curr III. “If the FBI can command the Sheriff’s Office to dismiss criminal cases to protect its secret stingrays, it is not clear how the $350,000 we are spending on stingray equipment is keeping the people of Buffalo safer.”

Update: NYT catches up on Stingray

A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology.
Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit. But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns.
The confidentiality has elevated the stakes in a longstanding debate about the public disclosure of government practices versus law enforcement’s desire to keep its methods confidential. While companies routinely require nondisclosure agreements for technical products, legal experts say these agreements raise questions and are unusual given the privacy and even constitutional issues at stake.

Update: WaPost wakes up on Stingray

The Tallahassee police have used the StingRay or a similar device in 250 investigations over a six-year period from mid-2007 through early 2014, according to a list of cases compiled by the Tallahassee Police Department and provided to the American Civil Liberties Union.
That’s 40 or so instances a year in a city of 290,000, a surprisingly high rate given that the StingRay’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., has told the Federal Communications Commission that the device is used only in emergencies. At least 48 state and local law enforcement agencies in 20 states and the District of Columbia have bought the devices, according to the ACLU.
The secrecy surrounding the device’s use has begun to prompt a backlash in cities across the country. In Baltimore, a judge is pushing back against the refusal of police to answer questions while testifying. In Charlotte, N.C., following a newspaper investigation, the state’s attorney is reviewing whether prosecutors illegally withheld information about the device’s use from defendants.
In Tacoma, Wash., after a separate newspaper investigation found that judges in almost 200 cases had no idea they were issuing orders for the StingRay, the court set new rules requiring police to disclose the tool’s use. The state legislature is weighing a bill to regulate police use of the equipment.

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The bureau’s position on Americans’ privacy isn’t surprising. The Obama Administration has repeatedly maintained that the public has no privacy in public places. It began making that argument as early as 2010, when it told a federal appeals court that the authorities should be allowed to affix GPS devices on vehicles and track a suspect’s every move without court authorization. The Supreme Court, however, eventually ruled that warrants are required. What’s more, the administration has argued that placing a webcam with pan-and-zoom capabilities on a utility pole to spy on a suspect at his or her residence was no different from a police officer’s observation from the public right-of-way. A federal judge last month disagreed with the government’s position, tossing evidence gathered by the webcam that was operated from afar.

In their letter, Leahy and Grassley complained that little is known about how stingrays, also known as ISMI catchers, are used by law enforcement agencies. The Harris Corp., a maker of the devices from Florida, includes non-disclosure clauses with buyers. Baltimore authorities cited a non-disclosure agreement to a judge in November as their grounds for refusing to say how they tracked a suspect’s mobile phone. They eventually dropped charges rather than disclose their techniques. Further, sometimes the authorities simply lie to judges about their use or undertake other underhanded methods to prevent the public from knowing that the cell-site simulators are being used.

via FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places | Ars Technica.

“That’s right sir. 30 city and 42 highway and 5-10 years in the penitentiary for changing your owns spark plugs “

Dear Car Companies: This is NOT a Good “Features and Benefits” Point

These 12 car companies are lobbying hard to make working on the electrical and computer components of your own car illegal. General Motors has told the Copyright Office that proponents of copyright reform mistakenly “conflate ownership of a vehicle with ownership of the underlying computer software in a vehicle.”
General Motors also says that your car qualifies as a “mobile computing device.” Tinkering with it, therefore, could be a copyright violation because although you do own your car, you do not own the computer code inside it. Jail-breaking your iPad is currently illegal for the same reason. By the way, jail-breaking your iPhone is still legal; it’s just one more example of a government regulation that is full of double standards.

Get. Bent.

via 12 big car companies are trying to make working on your own car illegal – Watchdog.org.

mohammedans murder gay men for allahs’ glory

A group of Islamic State militants posted a startling video showing two men being stoned to death for being gay. Prior to the stoning, the ISIS murderers can be seen hugging the victims and telling them that they have been forgiven of their sins.

The Daily Mail provides startling images of the latest assault by the Islamic State militants on homosexual men. The video and images show two men being savagely murdered by stoning for being gay. The men are led to ISIS-held territory in the province of Homs, where they are paraded in front of a number of blood-thirsty revelers in attendance to witness the horrific deaths.

Someday, these Daeshi swine will pay the price for these depredation on other humans.  I hope that day is soon.

via ‘You Are Forgiven’: ISIS Murderers Hug Victims Before Stoning Them To Death For Being Gay.

Virginia and North Dakota Wrestle with Restrictions on Drones

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) has signed legislation that drastically reduces the ability of police departments in his state to use drones for surveillance.
It also makes it clear that drones should never be equipped with weapons, used for private surveillance, or to keep an eye on people speaking or holding rallies in public.
North Dakota is not the only state to be embroiled in a discussion over the use of drones to spy on its citizens.
But in North Dakota, the debate has been about more than the protection of privacy. Economic development and jobs were factors just as, if not more, important than constitutional concerns.
The North Dakota Legislature and Gov. Dalrymple agreed on legislation limiting the use of drones in mid-April. This was not a debate quickly settled.
It took the legislature in Bismarck more than two years to do this deal, in part because the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department has been relying on the use of drones in its surveillance operations.

via Virginia and North Dakota Wrestle with Restrictions on Drones | PJ Media.

Dear Police: We pay you with tax dollars, we will watch and record you

Update: Can US agencies balance security and the Constitution?

Way too much “…cannon on my hip” mentality.

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Learn the lesson now and adapt or continue on and decrease your standing in public opinion.  That is not good for the community or the Police.

U.S. Marshal under investigation for allegedly smashing woman’s cell phone – CBS News.

Extrajudicial Taxes: Douglas County, Nebraska

With legal reasoning reminiscent of Catch-22, the court ruled that Brewer “failed to make a prima facie showing of gross disproportionality,” since he “presented no evidence regarding the amount of the fine in relation to the crime it is designed to punish,” even though Brewer had not been charged with any crime that he could be punished with. (Adding to the absurdity, Brewer was not even the defendant in the forfeiture case. His cash was. In civil forfeiture cases, the government sues the property, not its owner.)
Moreover, the seizure appears to have circumvented Nebraska law. Even though a Nebraska deputy seized the cash, after the seizure, the Sheriff’s Office turned the case over to the Drug Enforcement Administration to begin federal forfeiture proceedings. Under a program called equitable sharing, police can transfer seized property to a federal agency and take property under federal law. This allows law enforcement to bypass tougher restrictions set by state law.
A 2010 report by the Institute for Justice found that Nebraska is one of just three states that impose the same high evidentiary standard (beyond a reasonable doubt) on the government in both criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture proceedings. But for federal forfeiture cases, prosecutors need only show that the property was more likely than not used in connection with a crime—a much easier burden to meet. Moreover, equitable sharing lets local and state law enforcement to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of forfeited property; Nebraska state law allows 75 percent.
Douglas County, Neb. is particularly aggressive in pursuing forfeiture. According to The Washington Post, without obtaining warrants or indictments, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office seized and kept $11.5 million in equitable sharing funds since 9/11, one of the highest totals in the nation.

via Veteran Loses Over $60,000 to Police, Despite Lack of Criminal Charges – Forbes.

TSA Reminder: This is all to prevent terrorism…. or something

A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.
It happened roughly a dozen times, according to information gathered by CBS4.
According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

Ummm… am I a homophobe for pointing this out?

via CBS4 Investigation: TSA Screeners At DIA Manipulated System To Grope Men’s Genitals « CBS Denver.

Cancer Is Not Contagious But Stupidity Is, at Alaska Airlines

“I’m being removed as if I’m a criminal or contagious because I have cancer,” she can be heard saying. “No note to fly. Does anybody wonder how I got to Hawaii? My family is being forcibly removed from the airplane because I have cancer.”

In the video, Sedway repeatedly apologizes to her fellow passengers for delaying their flight.

“God bless you,” one passenger can be heard saying.

“I am scheduled for chemo, at home, on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Sedway wrote on Facebook after the incident. “Because of this, I will miss my chemotherapy, my children will miss school, and my husband will miss important meetings.”

via Alaska Airlines apologizes after kicking woman off flight for having cancer – The Washington Post.

Good: Recording Abusive Border Patrol Conduct Becomes a Thing Among Fed-Up Americans

Border Patrol agents’ bad behavior—not just at the international boundary but at checkpoints as much as 100 court-endorsed miles away within the “Constitution-free zone”—is easy to document both because it’s so damned common, and because of the willingness of some brave souls to record their encounters and post the results online. Terry Bressi, a University of Arizona staff engineer, is something of a pioneer in the field of documenting encounters with armed and abusive federal agents. When Reason TV interviewed him in 2013, he’d already recorded over 300 such meet-and-greets. Maybe his example inspired others, or perhaps the impossibility of transiting many roads and communities, especially in the Southwest, without being stopped by Border Patrol made responses inevitable. The Houston Chronicle reports that there’s a growing surge of Americans recording themselves asserting their rights to ill-behaved federal thugs.

via Recording Abusive Border Patrol Conduct Becomes a Thing Among Fed-Up Americans – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

SCOUS: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a search—and is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday, when it ruled on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, before sending the case back to that state’s high court. The Court’s short but unanimous opinion helps make sense of how the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, interacts with the expanding technological powers of the U.S. government.

“It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF).

Good.

via U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure — The Atlantic.

Jeb Love Big Government Spying

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated that he is “nervous” about criticism of the NSA and that he wished the president would do a better job defending government surveillance systems on Monday’s “Hugh Hewitt Show.”
Bush said that lone wolf terrorism “is a serious threat in a world where we’re so connected with the rest of the world. We have people moving in and people moving out. People get their information now, not everybody gets to listen to your show to get all their information. People get their information in different ways. They get disaffected, disillusioned, preyed upon, and so yeah, I think that this is an ongoing threat, and I hope that our counterintelligence capabilities are always vigilant. I’ve always been nervous about the attacks on the NSA, and somehow that we’re losing our freedoms by keeping the homeland safe. I think we need to be really vigilant about that.”

via Jeb: I’m ‘Nervous’ About NSA Criticism, Obama Should Defend NSA – Breitbart.

Legal defense for political aristocrats vs. low-born

The government attorneys, however, insist that the officials didn’t break the law or act in bad faith by not revealing to anyone that it never searched Mrs. Clinton’s emails, despite hundreds of requests for her electronic communications that were unable to be completely fulfilled because the department didn’t gain access to her messages until late last year.

You try this SHIT excuse in court and find out what happens.

‘Well, Your Honor, its not criminal because my client’s emails were not on the company server.  The CEO had a personal server outside of company HQ and we did not know it until just last week.’

via Obama scrambles to limit Hillary Clinton email scandal damage – Washington Times.

Ethereum, Information Technology that Could Transform Law, Finance, and Civil Society

Ethereum’s developers believe their project will lead to the proliferation of programs they call “smart contracts,” in which the terms of an agreement are written in code and enforced by software. These smart contracts could carry out the instructions of a complex algorithm based on data feed—such as a stock ticker. They could facilitate practically any financial transaction, such as holding money in escrow or dispersing micropayments among autonomous machines. They could be used to create a peer-to-peer gambling network, a peer-to-peer stock trading platform, a peer-to-peer social network, a prenuptial agreement, a will, a standard agreement to split a dinner check, or a public registry for keeping track of who owns what land in a city.

Transparency and freedom from government busy-bodies.  Whats not to like.

via Here Comes Ethereum, an Information Technology Dreamed Up By a Wunderkind 19-Year-Old That Could One Day Transform Law, Finance, and Civil Society – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Is there anything…ANYTHING?? The State will not stick it proboscis into?

<SIGH> Sadly, no: Backyard burger and wiener roasts targeted by EPA

“Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world,” an EPA grant to the University of Tulsa reads. “Most hotels do not monitor individual guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests.”
“The proposed work aims to develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers,” it said. “This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system.”

The Federal Government already decides your maximum water temperature to bathe.

Just. Fuck. Off.

via EPA Wants to Monitor How Long Hotel Guests Spend in the Shower | Washington Free Beacon.

The WH is secretive Liz? You mean like: the FCC, ACA, DOJ, IRS, NSA, EPA, ETC.

“They refuse to make the text of the trade agreement public,” Warren said on the conference call. “If they are sure that they fixed this problem, they need to show us the new provisions, not wave their hands around and say don’t worry.”

“The Public can pack sand.” –WH

via The White House Is Feuding With Elizabeth Warren—Again – NationalJournal.com.

Only on a college campus does this childishness make sense

A conservative student group at The George Washington University faces punishment, including the loss of its funding, for refusing to engage in LGBT sensitivity training on campus. The students are now being condemned and attacked on campus by those who claim they’re committing an “act of violence” for standing up for their members’ individual rights and Judeo-Christian values.

What will these children do when faced with the real world?  Or is this just the next hope-to-be-a-professor crop.  Take a look at Sweet Briar.  The SJW gig is just about over.  Ask anyone who was part of Occupy groups.

via College conservative group REFUSING to use preferred gender pronouns is now an ACT OF VIOLENCE » The Right Scoop –.

“You can’t quit the fight. We haven’t protested enough in front of the national media!”

“And there are certain to be megadollars, just sitting there, that can be used for studies and white papers”

Which makes the opposition to the legislation from Democrats and gay activists a little strange, and their arguments a bit bonkers. From The Oklahoman:

State Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, argued that if the U.S. Supreme Court should unexpectedly uphold state laws that define marriage as being between a man and a woman, Russ’ bill would end up making same-sex marriages legal in Oklahoma.

Um. Yes … and? The problem with that is what, exactly?

Gay activist group Freedom Oklahoma is against the legislation, because … I’m not sure:

“This legislation puts all couples who plan to marry in Oklahoma at risk of being denied hundreds of federal legal rights and protections, if it were to become law,” said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. “The federal government and other states will not be required to acknowledge these proposed ‘marriage certificates.’ This legislation will only result in mass confusion from clerks’ offices to courtrooms around the nation — while putting Oklahoma families at risk.”

Note the weasel words “at risk of.” Why wouldn’t the federal government and other states not be required to acknowledge that these marriage certificates are legitimate? What sort of confusion would there be? Each state already has its own marriage certificate process anyway.

This is the correct and ideal answer.  The State has no business, other than as a entity to hold documentation, deciding who can get married.

via Oklahoma Bill Would Legalize Gay Marriage. This Apparently Bothers Democrats and Gays. – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

F Bruni: Hillary is Old, Stained, and Stuck on Repeat

It was what kept coming to mind as she stood before the cameras once again, under fire once again, aggrieved once again by Americans’ refusal to see and simply trust how well intentioned and virtuous and good for the country she is:

Ouch!

via Hillary’s Prickly Apologia – NYTimes.com.