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Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the show-of-hands,-who's-surprised? dept.

Crime 146

v3rgEz writes: 'The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. "Across the U.S., thousands of similar law-enforcement requests for electronic monitoring are likewise locked away from public view, even after the investigations that spawned them have ended. In most cases, they stay sealed indefinitely—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings. Courts long have presumed that search warrants, for example, eventually should be made public." One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."'

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Judicial proceedings should never be secret (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159153)

This is a travesty.

Re:Judicial proceedings should never be secret (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47159545)

No, if you look at the Supreme Court Case [Redacted] vs. [Redacted], you'll find that Justice [Redacted] made the very clear argument that sometimes [Redacted] is necessary because [Redacted]. Honestly, how can you contest that precedent?

Re:Judicial proceedings should never be secret (4, Funny)

SuperRenaissanceMan (1027668) | about 2 months ago | (#47159637)

No, if you look at the Supreme Court Case [Redacted] vs. [Redacted], you'll find that Justice [Redacted] made the very clear argument that sometimes [Redacted] is necessary because [Redacted]. Honestly, how can you contest that precedent?

Informative!

One thing you can count on (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160231)

The practice has been abused, and innocent people have been harmed in some way by this abuse.

Where there is no accountability or visibility, there is abuse. It is guaranteed.

Any attempt at seeing the old data will be fiercely resisted by those who abused this practice, and they will have lots of political clout to keep their corruption secret.

Re:Judicial proceedings should never be secret (4, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47160611)

I simply don't get it. If the police are just investigating normal crimes, why can't get get normal warrants? Are they just lazy, or is there some other motive?

Re:Judicial proceedings should never be secret (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47161047)

They think they are on a higher mission and that this end justifies any means. Just look at the history of Germany, how ordinary police was pretty happy with their increased powers in the 3rd Reich. The police is unable to guard freedom, as its members do not understand the concept. The police always wants a police-state, that is not named accidentally in this way.

Re:Judicial proceedings should never be secret (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47161023)

Actually, this is completely as intended. When the majority of the population finally wakes up, the fascist state will be firmly established.

cool story bro (2)

XninjauchihaX (3680147) | about 2 months ago | (#47159177)

what? did you think because it happens on tv shows like Dexter all the time that it was impossible for it to happen? "oh that happens on tv so it can't be real." that mentality is why so many people get surprised when they see an article like this.

More taxes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159207)

Yes, we all need to pay more taxes so we can experience even more of the overweening government we already have!

Re:More taxes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159479)

Government should be starved (defunded) until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub.

Re:More taxes! (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47160293)

Ah yes, because if it weren't for government oversight corporations would all be honest, responsible bastions of human dignity.

I agree there's lots of problems with large government, but we've tried the opposite and discovered that corporations are run by greedy, irresponsible powermongers, and government is the only force that can keep them in check. The problem is that the corporate powermongers realized that as well, and proceeded to take over the government. And we let them. What we need is not necessarily small government, but *accountable* government - it's the only defense we the people have against independent corporations.

Re:More taxes! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47160711)

No we need RANDOM government.

National Lottery every 4 years, The military holds a completely open drawing of all the names of US citizens. The names are drawn and researched to as if they are felons or natural born and age limits. They are then collected by plain clothed personell and taken to Washington where their first 2 weeks are to decide publically who is to be president and vice president. the rest are senators and reps from their associated states. You can not say NO, you are forced to do this at gunpoint.

After 4 years, you are taken back home and given an additional 4 years of pay on top of what you were paid as a thank you for your service. and the process starts over.

No "career politicians" no Master Degree Political Science holders. average RANDOM citizens in forced paid servitude.

It will be massively better than the shithole corrupt system we have now.

Re:More taxes! (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 2 months ago | (#47160883)

I seem to remember a fairly old (sci-fi?) story where the president got picked in a lottery. It dealt with the ramifications, both large and small scale, of this method. Anyone having better luck remembering or googling than me?


At a certain point, maybe just randomizing the system would result in a better setup than the entrenched, bought-and-paid-for bureaucracy we have now.

Re:More taxes! (3, Informative)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 2 months ago | (#47160915)

Found it! Franchise [wikipedia.org] by Asimov.

Re:More taxes! (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 2 months ago | (#47160849)

I seem to remember a fairly old (sci-fi?) story where the president got picked in a lottery. It dealt with the ramifications, both large and small scale, of this method. Anyone having better luck remembering or googling than me?

Re:More taxes! (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 2 months ago | (#47160853)

Sorry, ignore the previous, I meant to reply to the post below...

If the feds can... (4, Funny)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 months ago | (#47159223)

If the federal government doesn't need a warrant, why should local law enforcement? OTOH, the federal government uses "national security" as an excuse to violate the constitution. What's local law enforcement's excuse?

a move that is making some courts uneasy

The judicial branch is obsolete, a relic from some past time when The Constitution of the United States was the highest law of the land.

Re:If the feds can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159279)

I wish I had a schilling
For every senseless killing
I'd buy a government
America's for sale
And you can get a good deal on it
And make a healthy profit

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nofx/thedecline.html

Re:If the feds can... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159385)

And on that note, why should civilians need a warrant? We should just start following their lead and perform our own mass spying... Well, not really, because I know what kinds of things they do to mere peons with the CFAA.

Re:If the feds can... (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 months ago | (#47160391)

And on that note, why should civilians need a warrant? We should just start following their lead and perform our own mass spying... Well, not really, because I know what kinds of things they do to mere peons with the CFAA.

Because individual citizens have no power. If the police decide what you did is illegal, then they'll persecute/prosecute you. Especially if you're spying on them (even videoing them in a public place) or a person or organization with power.

If you're a large corporation though, you have an army of lawyers and you can do whatever you want. Remember the case when Microsoft stole email form a journalist's hotmail account without a warrant? Their excuse was they could do it because they wouldn't have been able to get a warrant, both because that's law enforcement's role and because law enforcement wouldn't have been able to get a warrant anyway. That translates to, "we know what we're doing is totally illegal because the courts would never let us, but we're doing it anyway because nobody gives a shit about the judicial branch."

Despite being modded funny, the part about the judicial branch being obsolete was entirely serious.

Re:If the feds can... (3, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47159387)

They still have a function, window dressing for our fascist police state. "See, we have a Constitution. See, we have a court system and juries of peers"

Re:If the feds can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159551)

> OTOH, the federal government uses "national security" as an excuse to violate the constitution. What's local law enforcement's excuse?

Local security!

Actually, it is probably convenient corporate security. [wired.com]

Blame the courts (1, Insightful)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159233)

Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.

Blame the courts (2, Insightful)

XninjauchihaX (3680147) | about 2 months ago | (#47159255)

would you kill someone if the courts allowed you too. knowing full well that it was murder and that it was wrong. that the person didnt deserve to die. i can think of dozens of other analogies, but the principle is still the same.

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159335)

I might kill some one if I thought they deserved to die. No reason to kill those that don't.

I can't think of any that I think deserve to die right now, but it might put a bit of a spark in the pants that think that they might get away with something they know people would not like.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

XninjauchihaX (3680147) | about 2 months ago | (#47159515)

lol. i see where you are coming from. but the point is. the police are supposed to be people of higher morals. at least that is what you would expect from them. if they cant follow the laws that they are supposed to uphold. then why should we. the laws are only used in times of convenience. like if you were to kill someone on accident because you thought he was going to harm you, you would go to jail. but a police officers does the same thing and gets a pat on the back. not saying all police officers are d-bags. but the system we currently have in place is seriously flawed.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47161127)

They are not and cannot be. The problem is that a police-person surrenders his/her personal moral code when joining the force and gets a bad replacement called "the law" that gives them very little leeway to be moral. At the same time, the myth that "law = moral" is universally promoted, when even a brief look at some legal excesses shows that this is in fact dead wrong. In the end, the police is just the people that are tasked with beating all the citizens into submission that do not like how things are run. Sad but true and my guess would be that more and more of the decent cops left in the US start to realize that and quit.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159361)

No, but if it were legal, would you go around blaming everyone who killed (presumably there would be more than a few), or would you try to organize changing the law? Which would be more effective?

Organizations, for example, shouldn't be expected to "play nice," but they should be expected to play by the rules. The fact that, say, various corporations can play extremely sketchy games with their taxes is absolutely expected, given that the tax code allows it (if they didn't, they would more-or-less be shirking their duty to the shareholders).

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159757)

would you kill someone if the courts allowed you too. knowing full well that it was murder and that it was wrong. that the person didnt deserve to die. i can think of dozens of other analogies, but the principle is still the same.

Only if it returned more value to my shareholders that it cost me.

--MegaCorp, Inc.

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47161095)

if the courts allowed you too. knowing full well that it was murder and that it was wrong.

What is "legal" and what is "right" are not necessarily the same. Legality does not determine rightness, rightness does not determine legality.

Re:Blame the courts (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47159307)

Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.

They aren't legally allowed to this. It's entirely illegal.
On top of that, they take an oath to uphold the constitution when they get their badge and this clearly violates the constitution.

For far too long in this country we've decide that "criminals" are somehow non-citizens. We've declared them as an "Other" and not of us. This has allowed some people to rationalize their illegal behavior as somehow just. It's not. Violating even a criminals constitutional rights is wrong, and it wont be long before YOU are considered a criminal that no longer deserves his rights either.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

XninjauchihaX (3680147) | about 2 months ago | (#47159355)

well then none of us are citizens. when my father when too school to be a police officer. he told me that every American commits on average 3 crimes a day. so we are treated like scum right from the get go. makes a lot more sense now at least.

Re:Blame the courts (3)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 months ago | (#47159593)

The problem is, that without a regular reading of the Constitution, all you're left with are opinions of lawyers and judges as to all that the Constitution means. The fact is, the Constitution was deliberately focused and precise overarching set of "guidelines" that have been slowly eroded in favor of more "pragmatic" approaches, since nearly the beginning.

Here is a test on Voting Rights and Right to Bear Arms. We have a set of court opinions that one requires ID and the other doesn't require any, both on "Constitutional" grounds. Either both are rights, and require the same application to exercise, or they are not rights.

And for the anti-gun wackos, I'd suggest that Voting is more dangerous than guns, because you can't tell who the stupid people are voting for the tyrants taking away our rights as fast as they can.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47160265)

Here is a test on Voting Rights and Right to Bear Arms. We have a set of court opinions that one requires ID and the other doesn't require any, both on "Constitutional" grounds. Either both are rights, and require the same application to exercise, or they are not rights.

Devils' Advocate position: "voting" is a Right for Citizens. Determining whether you are, in fact, a Citizen before you vote is not unreasonable.

On the other hand, RKBA does NOT specify "for citizens only", so there is no reason to require an ID.

That said, note that in actual practice, you're required to produce ID to buy a gun, but not to vote...

Re:Blame the courts (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 2 months ago | (#47159831)

Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away.

I couldn't disagree more, for a bunch of reasons -- but here's the one at the top of the list: lawmakers are always passing laws that give the police far too much power (at the urging of the police), but then explain to us that it's OK because the police will exercise good judgement and won't actually do the abusive things that the law allows.

I blame lawmakers for passing those laws, and I equally blame law enforcement failing to exercise good judgement.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47160155)

...and I equally blame law enforcement failing to exercise good judgement.

Right; but do you think law enforcement should be punished -- in a legal sense -- for failing to exercise good judgement? I think the answer is a resounding "yes," but if there are no laws explicitly saying that what the police are doing is wrong, then how should we proceed?

Yes, I agree that good judgement should be expected -- but I think that when the police do not exercise good judgement, it should very much be a legal issue.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47160725)

In fact there are laws in place that indemnify police from being sued or punished from wrongdoing.

That is how fucked up the whole system is.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

houghi (78078) | about 2 months ago | (#47160095)

Violating even a criminals constitutional rights is wrong

Constitutional rights are just ink on paper.
Just like guns don't kill people, the constutution does not uphold the rights.
You need the people to do that and the majority is not interested other then a discussing point on how awfull it is.

Regarding the Oath (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 months ago | (#47160485)

All politicians and bureaucrats also have to speak an oath to uphold the ultimate law of the land. For reference the United State's Supreme Court Oath of Office is below.

For citizens, "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Tax law, I'm looking at you... But we are talking about the Supreme Law of the Land, The Constitution of the United States of America. Those in power that breach this law or redefine it are the problem. But they get away with it, over and over again (I think of Won't Be Fooled Again by The Who, all of the bosses are the same).

Why is this happening? I figure they have their fingers crossed behind their back when they take the Oath.

And I have a particular problem with the Supreme Court, I'm looking at you Commerce Clause... I'm surprised the States aren't all fenced so that deer and other animals don't cross borders, hunting and tourism revenues and all.

And of course local police shouldn't be abusing The Constitution.

The Supreme Court's Oath of Office:
"I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

Re: Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160691)

I've never understood this position at all. Why do cops, prosecutors, even the president always feel the need to scale back peoples rights? To fight on the side of surveillance, or drones, or warrentless searches.

Why do they never stop and ask, will my children, grandchildren, etc have the same job as me? Be on the same side of the law? Will I always be in the job? When I leave, will it be a good person that takes my place or someone who will abuse the powers I fought so hard for. Will they use these new powers against future generations of MY family?

These rights were put into place for a reason. The older you are, the more freedoms you grew up with. Why would anyone want to take these from future generations?

 

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159309)

The fault is first on the legislatures for passing laws that undermine the restrictions set fourth in the Constitution.

Secondly on Law enforcement for requesting those laws to make their job easier.

Thirdly on the general public for not caring about it, usually because they figure it's only used against "bad guys".

And Fourthly on Hollywood for ingraining the idea of "bad guys that must be stopped at all costs" and "the bureaucracy that almost dooms the world by tying the her's hands at a critical juncture" into popular culture.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159699)

I would agree with points 1, 3 and 4 (or 0, 2 and 3, if your into that sort of thing). I think it's perfectly reasonable for an institution to request favorable treatment -- but the fact that the legislature passes it is the real problem, in my mind.

I have no problem with Verizon or Comcast requesting special treatment; but once "requesting" turns into "buying," then I have a problem with the system that allows this behavior.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159713)

*you're. Whoops.

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159359)

It is not their job to just do whatever they want. The police have explicit limits on what they can do because it was known even 250 years ago that it wad bad to let the police do whatever they want without limits. We have codified rights for the accused for a good reason. Unchecked police authority leads to many innocent people being punished.

Re:Blame the courts (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 months ago | (#47159403)

"that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away"
This is so far from the ideals of Liberty i dont even know where to begin..... You are a child with a child's opinion.

Re:Blame the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159467)

Nah just a typical bootlicker.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159573)

Perhaps. I'm mostly arguing semantics here: to do a good job, it is often advisable to do everything in your legal power to accomplish that job. The fact that "everything in your legal power" is offensive/Orwellian/whatever isn't your fault per se -- it's the fault of there being insufficient oversight/laws protecting against that.

I think, for instance, that taxes are too low in my country -- but I absolutely do not blame people for paying the minimum amount on their tax return.

Re:Blame the courts (2, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 months ago | (#47159607)

Doing everything in your legal power leads to a Zod mentality in Man of Steel. He wasnt wrong, per se, he was just an asshole and caused more suffering than helping. The purpose of the police is to keep the peace, not punish and not push so hard that undue suffering is caused, esp when no true harm is at stake

Re:Blame the courts (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47159835)

Yeah, I agree, especially on an individual level -- people should try to be Good. And a Good/altruistic police department would be awesome (and these do exist in some parts of the world/country, I'm sure...but certainly not the ones mentioned in TFA).

My issue is that it is currently legal for the police to, as you say, "push so hard that undue suffering is caused." Yes, it's a dick move for the police to cause undue suffering, but the root problem -- in my mind -- is that it is seemingly legal (or at least seemingly nonpunishable) for them to do so.

I think we both want the same thing out of the police force, we just have different regulatory ideals; you think (from my understanding) they should regulate themselves to be Good, I think they should be forced to be Good from a legal perspective.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 2 months ago | (#47159859)

"to do a good job, it is often advisable to do everything in your legal power to accomplish that job"

This is rarely actually true. But it is never true for law enforcement. To do a good job there means that you must not to everything that you're legally empowered to do.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47160399)

Um, no. Law enforcement has a responsibility to stick to the principles that this country supposedly aspires to.

It is their fault for doing this garbage, and the courts are also at fault for not stopping them. Saying it's one or the either is just a false dichotomy.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47160723)

The "fuck freedom, I want security" people like you are more scary than a terrorist with a nuke.

Re:Blame the courts (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | about 2 months ago | (#47161175)

Sorry, I think my post wasn't entirely clear. My main point is that an entity taking advantage of a broken system, while clearly not being part of the solution, isn't the fundamental problem; the fundamental problem is the broken system.

By all means we should limit the *legal* power that the police have -- however, I think relying on the police to self-regulate is bound to fail, and we should indeed make it a legal obligation to "exercise good judgement" (or whatever language you like). Imperative in this, though, is that there are real penalties for *not* exercising good judgement -- I'd like to see something like patent troll laws applied to warrants/wiretaps, where the police department is penalized (substantially!) for abusing the system (legitimate wiretap = no problem, hundreds of ill-founded wiretaps = full/partial revocation of wiretap privileges).

Re:Blame the courts (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47161091)

Law enforcement is fundamentally incapable of limiting itself, the mind-set just does not accommodate looking the other way. It often is also not allowed to do so. Hence law enforcement must always be limited in its actual power, lest a police-state arises. In the US, the control-mechanisms seem to have failed a while ago, the effects now observable are just what is to be expected. And for a look into the future, remember that a police-state is just a stepping-stone to complete fascism with no personal freedoms at all, a state philosophy everybody has to follow, no individual rights and pervasive surveillance. As a side-effect, this completely kills the economy, so fascism rarely lasts longer than 50 years or so.

Lets see .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159241)

If they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

Re:Lets see .... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47159281)

Lack of basis for fear != interest in having your life reduced to a denial of service attack by some statist creep bent on "tak[ing] things away from you on behalf of the common good [snopes.com] "

Re:Lets see .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159323)

I think he meant the police departments. You know; since we consistently get told that stuff even though we all have things to hide.
Like our credit card information for example. Or what path our children take on the walk home from school. Or anything in the bedroom that's no one else's business.

Re:Lets see .... (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47159653)

It's pretty much one continuous, top-down law enforcement hammer these days.
Gotta keep the peasants in line.

Slashdot, piece of dung (0)

Sheshbazzar (3646383) | about 2 months ago | (#47159253)

By reporting on such stories you are slowly coercing your readership into accepting this (inhibiting violent refusal). Another example: little by little faggots have overtaken our world.

Re:Slashdot, piece of dung (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159541)

That's the idea, dumbass.

ugh (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47159367)

How is this even a question?

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.

That's not even remotely vague. It's clear as day. You need a warrant and that warrant should be public. Period. Any Judge that didn't see this as a violation of the 4th amendment should be strung up without a trial, since they don't feel the constitution is important.

Re:ugh (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47159395)

Tribunal is the way.

Re:ugh (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47159671)

Your racist terminology and willingness to murder people without even checking their race beforehand makes any observer think you are a right-wing nutbag who longs for the days when the KKK kept the darkies in check with lynchings. You disgust me and every civilized person who reads your post.

Re:ugh (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47159767)

You disgust me and every civilized person who reads your post.

Speak for yourself, fascist.

FYI, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160685)

Apparently 'judge' is a race now.

How best to inform all of the Judicial-Americans?

Re:ugh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47160935)

Your racist terminology and willingness to murder people without even checking their race beforehand makes any observer think you are a right-wing nutbag who longs for the days when the KKK kept the darkies in check with lynchings. You disgust me and every civilized person who reads your post.

My sons black (actually from Africa) So after you're done taking your foot out of your mouth, go fuck yourself.

Double edged sword (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47159391)

On one hand keeping the wiretaps secret harms transparency and hides abuses.

On the other hand it keeps the names of people under investigation private. Would you really want to other people to know that the police were tapping your phone? A conclusion many may draw is that you have done something wrong.

Re:Double edged sword (0)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 2 months ago | (#47159425)

But but but.... if you haven't done anything wrong, then you've got nothing to hide from their wiretaps!!11~

Re:Double edged sword (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47159791)

There are people who assume if someone is being investigated they must have done something wrong. You can't please everyone.

Re:Double edged sword (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47159583)

Would I *want* them to know? No. Would I *care*. Not really. Would some people think, "where there's smoke, there's fire?" Sure. Screw them, they're idiots.

I think the best policy is ultimately to get everything out in the open. The worst case is when surveillance is secret so people think it hardly ever happens, and then it comes out that you were under surveillance. At least when it all comes out, it becomes pretty clear there's smoke around a lot of innocent people.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47159897)

Sure. Screw them, they're idiots.

Those "idiots" might not hire you, vote for you, etc. When your life is ruined due to an investigation you will sing a different tune.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47159959)

Those "idiots" might not hire you, vote for you, etc. When your life is ruined due to an investigation you will sing a different tune.

I don't think so, but I'm on the downhill side of middle age, and that makes a difference. They can't ruin my life because I've lived approximately 2/3 of it already, and I don't intend to spend the time I have left worrying about what idiots think. I can work around them.

Re:Double edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160251)

What about the next generation, and the next and the next after that?

Standard issue 'Fuck you got mine" mentality is deplorable.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47160477)

No, I'd advise young people to adopt "screw the idiots" earlier than *I* did.

Like Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I'd like to see less taking stupidity seriously. Do that and stupidity starts to get airs above its station.h

Re:Double edged sword (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 months ago | (#47160331)

If the idiots think you're guilty, you'll spend the truncated portion of what was the 1/3 remaining of your life in incarceration. How're you going to work around that?

I'd personally hate to be a first-time loser after midlife. Prison life is a game for the young.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47160465)

Different hypothetical. The one where the surveillance turned up something.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47160503)

Maybe you need to take a broader view of the world. Just because it is not a problem for you does not mean it is not a problem for many other people. Try to put yourself in the position of someone where it does matter.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#47160649)

Well, as I said, not everyone's in my place.

But I really don't see any other solution to this other than to treat the idea that you must be guilty of something because the cops investigated you as contemptibly stupid. What's the alternative, to take that idea seriously? After all, hiding the fact that you, personally, happened to get swept up into some investigation is only going to *confirm* the suspicions of people who automatically think "where there's smoke, there's fire."

The best option is not to act as if it's something to be ashamed of, realizing of course this is not a perfect world -- specifically in that it contains stupid, credulous people who jump to conclusions. Well, if you end up having to deal with those people, as you sometimes do, they'll find a way to be a problem no matter what you do.

Re:Double edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159635)

The issue with innocent until proven guilty is what 'we' do to innocent peoples these days.

Re:Double edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159669)

Would you really want to other people to know that the police were tapping your phone? A conclusion many may draw is that you have done something wrong.

That was the genius of NSA's universal surveillance plan. Everyone was being wiretapped, so there was no stigma involved, everyone could behave as normal!

I don't think warrants should always be public. Arrest warrants, sure. Search warrants should always be shown during the 'peacefully request entry' stage that should always be tried before the 'break doors and shoot dogs' tactic that has become popular lately.
Covert surveillance? I'm principally opposed to being even a form of admissible evidence. I know this has drawbacks, but if police were more interested in preventing crime than catching criminals, they'd be more prone to present warrants rather than apply for secret warrants and monitor suspects until they have a solid case for conviction.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47159789)

So.... basically, what you're saying here is that since there are people out there who are stupid and fall prey to propagandist bullshit that boils down to "accused == guilty," we should go ahead and sacrifice our civil liberties?

That's crazy talk.

Re:Double edged sword (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47159849)

CanHasDIY is under investigation for child pornography. It does not matter if all allegations prove false your handle is still associated with child pornography. It comes down to harm. Which would cause more harm secrecy or false association? I just pointed out both issues. I don't have the answers.

Re:Double edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160125)

But then if you're tried on secret evidence, chances are extremely high that the press would be kicked out of the court before they get so much as a sniff of what's going on in there. Hence no damage to reputations.

Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159437)

Not the first time the government does something completely at odds with what would be appropriate for a government to do. And won't be the last time, either.

The thing is that it's the American People that's supposed to stand up against this sort of thing... and it's not happening.

Re:Not the first time (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#47161141)

History tells us that citizens sleeping when things like these happen ends very, very badly.

General trend of militarization of police (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47159557)

The police everywhere seem to be given to a general trend of militarization. Assault rifles, military-style clothing and accessories, armored vehicles, intelligence gathering operations, air power (helicopters, drones, etc).

They no longer resemble the "beat cop" who managed to keep order with a whistle and a truncheon in a uniform with shiny brass buttons. They resemble a military assault force.

Re:General trend of militarization of police (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 months ago | (#47160531)

The police everywhere are given those assault rifles, military grade body armor, etc. just for the price of a stamp [latimes.com] , so it's hardly surprising. This is where (some) of the boatload of money the DHS is spending goes.

Re:General trend of militarization of police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160949)

I'm sorry but the old-school beat cop idea simply isn't realistic anymore. I agree that the militarization of police has gone too far, but the police need more than just a whistle, truncheon and fancy uniform.

Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout [wikipedia.org] ? The cops had pistols and some had shotguns. The bandits had a variety of military-grade weapons. Some of the cops had to obtain AR-15s from a nearby guns dealer to be an even match for goodness sake. It's absolutely amazing with the firepower of the gunmen that the only deaths were the two gunmen and no-one else.

Cops needed better weapons after that incident. There's been a number of following situations where pistols were not going to be enough. Cops don't like going into situations where they're not capable of having the firepower to deal with things, understandably. Your extreme is just as bad as the extreme of police militarization.

Re:General trend of militarization of police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47161011)

I'm sorry but the old-school beat cop idea simply isn't realistic anymore

I'm sorry, but right now the cops have the reputation that they're the people you call when you want something fucked up and/or shot. "There is no situation so fucked up that calling the cops can't fuck it up worse." People have no trust or bond with your "friendly" "neighborhood" cop because they are no longer friendly nor neighborhood. Returning to beat cops that aren't trained to treat every single non-police human and dog as a deadly threat would go a long way towards rebuilding that trust and hopefully discourage low-level street crime.

Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]? The cops had pistols and some had shotguns. The bandits had a variety of military-grade weapons

That is what the SWAT team is supposed to be for. If shit worse than some guy tagging the stop sign goes down, the beat cop should call for backup and hole up under cover somewhere.

Re:General trend of militarization of police (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47161171)

It's absolutely amazing with the firepower of the gunmen that the only deaths were the two gunmen and no-one else.

Sounds like a really poor example. Where is this "need" for better weapons?

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Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159695)

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A little story... (3, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 months ago | (#47159711)

About a month ago, while driving a medical taxi, I was sent to an address. No one responded except a very lethargic acting woman, so I left. About a mile or so away an unmarked police car pulls me over and two plainclothes officers walk up on either side. I ask, "What'd I do?", the cop hesitates, then says, "Erratic driving". At this I frown at the officer, show him my license, then he asks me what I was doing at that house, reciting the exact address. I look at him and say, "It's a drug house, right?", he realizes I'm driving a medical taxi and then I'm free to go.

The point is my they knew exactly where I stopped at, and located me quite easily to pull me over (my 3g was off at the time). These are the times we live in nowadays...k

Re:A little story... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#47159933)

Yeah, but this is most likely a car with a radio parked down the street in a bust. You just got caught up in it.

Re:A little story... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 months ago | (#47160667)

Mmm, maybe. Not that I was looking out for anything at the time, I am aware of my surroundings, it was a very quiet street, there weren't other vehicles around me. It's possible I missed a secreted vehicle. Since this is a site for tech 'nerds' (I'm a wannabe nerd'), is it possible they had locked onto my phone's signal to monitor the comings and goings of phones at that location? That would be easier.

Other channels for information (1)

H310iSe (249662) | about 2 months ago | (#47160267)

Police regularly request and usually receive camera footage from businesses, particularly footage of streets and sidewalks but sometimes internal footage as well. I worked in the 'security' industry for a while, this has been my direct experience, not hearsay :) I saw dozens of requests over a couple years from 10 storefronts and only once did I see a warrant and I never saw a request refused. The main impediment to police's unfettered access to camera systems is the diversity of bad systems out there. It's difficult to get info out of some DVR/NVR systems for various reasons, user knowledge, design, and the police's ability to, say, receive emails with attachments or download a file from dropbox. Seriously. I kid you not. Anyway, the more networked and user friendly these products become the more the police will have easy unfettered access.

What's the problem with that? (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 months ago | (#47160605)

A private camera's owner is allowed to share any footage they have recorded.

The request may be unsettling (it would be for me), ask about it first if you want. Then decide, unless there's a warrant.

Unless it is you they are after or if the footage requested puts one in a compromising position. What you do at that point is your decision (LWYR UP, per Saul Goodman).

Unacceptable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160429)

I shouldn't be surprised by the idea that cell phone conversations aren't protected by the same wire taping laws as landline phones, but I am. That's so stupid. I should become a politician and try to fix some laws.

No activist judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160559)

We can't have those activist judges throwing out cases, to overturning laws that allow unwarranted monitoring. That's just not right.

Obviously (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47160721)

Generalized surveillance such as hidden cams watching any car or foot traffic on a block is probably very common. Areas around schools are a great example as public interest wants kids to be able to walk home without being swept up and molested. Volunteer addresses may be a common practice such that bad guys can never operate with impunity.

I wish the cops learn the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47161065)

Difference between a phone box and a power box, Because I'm tried of coming home to fried bacon every time!!

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