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- This is Why Police Beat People — Two Police Academies Caught on Video TEACHING Excessive Force
Not one, but two police training academies have now been suspended for what appears to be teaching the use of excessive force — as the norm — captured on video.
After an investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Lower Rio Grande Development Council (LRGVDC) Regional Police Academy and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy have been suspended until two further investigations are concluded.
“During a defensive tactic training session, video was conducted for the purposes of cadet instruction and feedback,” the Lower Rio Grande Development Council told local station CBS 4 News in a statement. “Video feedback had not been previously utilized by LRGVDC Police Academy and after evaluating this practice and as a result of this incident, this method will not be used in the future.”
Prior to the academies’ suspensions, CBS 4 released footage of students training as part of a police academy course conducted at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen as part of a Continuing Education program organized and taught by LRGVDC. Though the vast majority of police training in the United States involves stress-based, paramilitary, boot camp-style indoctrination, multiple studies have proven these warrior techniques ineffective in policing. President Obama’s official directive for law enforcement embodies ‘community policing’ — but such training courses, as evidenced in the video, are antithetical to the very idea of collaborative problem-solving, community trust-building, and integrating police into the localities in their charge. In fact, those few academies not employing militaristic stress techniques have a higher number of cadets completing the entire program — 89 percent, compared with just 80 percent from warrior training.
- It costs $150 to buy a dozen eggs in Venezuela right now
The International Monetary Fund has predicted that inflation in Venezuela will hit 720% this year. That might be an optimistic assessment, according to some local economic analysts, who expect the rate to reach as high as 1,200%.
A sharp drop in global prices for oil — on which Venezuela depends for most of its foreign currency — is a big part of the problem. Critics also accuse the government of irresponsible spending on social welfare programs and oil subsidies to Cuba and other countries.
- Chile is producing so much solar power, it’s giving it away for free
Market forces often produce strange quirks in the economic system, like the one we’re seeing in Chile this year: the country is producing so much solar power that it’s being sold for… nothing at all.
While it’s incredibly encouraging to see so much expansion in the country’s renewable energy output, this huge amount of supply does actually cause problems for the companies looking to invest in solar energy.
Solar capacity on Chile’s central power grid (called SIC or Sistema Interconectado Central) has more than quadrupled over the past three years to 770 megawatts – good news for the environment and customers paying their electricity bills.
- Judge says suspect has right to review code that FBI has right to keep secret
A US federal judge in Tacoma, Washington has put himself in a Catch 22: ruling a man charged with possessing child pornography has the right to review malware source code while also acknowledging that the government has a right to keep it secret.
“The resolution of Defendant’s Third Motion to Compel Discovery places this matter in an unusual position: the defendant has the right to review the full NIT code, but the government does not have to produce it,” US District Judge Robert Bryan wrote on Wednesday. “Thus, we reach the question of sanctions: What should be done about it when, under these facts, the defense has a justifiable need for information in the hands of the government, but the government has a justifiable right not to turn the information over to the defense?” Brian Owsley, a former federal judge who is now a law professor at the University of North Texas, said that such a conundrum is “not that uncommon.” He pointed to a 1957 Supreme Court decision, Jencks v. United States, which involved an undercover informant and an alleged Communist who demanded government records from the investigation.
“The judge solves this problem by dismissing the charge against the defendant if the government does not want to release the code for the network investigative technique in this case based on an assertion of privilege,” Owsley said by e-mail. “This enables the government to prioritize how important it is to maintain these documents. If the release truly would jeopardize national security or some other greater good as in this case, then the government must accept the dismissal of its prosecution of the one defendant for that greater good. So either the government will blink and allow the defendant access to the NIT code or the court may dismiss the indictment.”
- Oregon Senator Warns – The U.S. Government is Dramatically Expanding its Hacking and Surveillance Authority
The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.
Ron Wyden, a Senator from Oregon, has been one of the most influential and significant champions of Americans’ embattled 4th Amendment rights in the digital age. Recall that it was Sen. Wyden who caught Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lying under oath about government surveillance of U.S. citizens.
Mr. Wyden continues to be a courageous voice for the public when it comes to pushing back against Big Brother spying. His latest post at Medium is a perfect example.
- MI5 ‘blackmailed pedophile politicians’ over Belfast boys’ home abuse, inquiry hears
An inquiry into allegations of mistreatment – including sexual abuse – at a Belfast boys’ home has restarted amid claims MI5 agents knew about the alleged abuses but chose to use them to blackmail pedophile public figures.
The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry reconvened on Tuesday to examine allegations dating as far back as the 1970s. It is alleged boys at the Kincora care home in Belfast were subject to vicious abuse.
The inquiry will hear from claimants who allege a VIP pedophile ring preyed on those who lived there.
- 4th Circuit Appeals Court Rolls Back Its Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was one of the few appeals courts to rule on the constitutionality of obtaining cell site location info without a warrant. And it was — was — the only appeals court to find warrantless access violated the Fourth Amendment. The decision was limited to the collection of historical cell site data for extended periods of time (the court appeared to believe anything beyond two weeks was questionable), mainly because there was a good chance the records would contain considerable detail about a person’s movements in private places.
The government immediately requested an en banc hearing by the Appeals Court. The hearing was granted and the court has patched up its split with the other circuits by finding in favor of the government and the Third Party Doctrine. [PDF link]
We now hold that the Government’s acquisition of historical CSLI from Defendants’ cell phone provider did not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Supreme Court precedent mandates this conclusion. For the Court has long held that an individual enjoys no Fourth Amendment protection “in information he voluntarily turns over to [a] third part[y].” Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743-44 (1979). This rule — the third-party doctrine — applies even when “the information is revealed” to a third party, as it assertedly was here, “on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed.” United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435, 443 (1976).
All of our sister circuits to have considered the question have held, as we do today, that the government does not violate the Fourth Amendment when it obtains historical CSLI from a service provider without a warrant. In addition to disregarding precedent, Defendants’ contrary arguments misunderstand the nature of CSLI, improperly attempt to redefine the third-party doctrine, and blur the critical distinction between content and non-content information.
The Supreme Court may in the future limit, or even eliminate, the third-party doctrine. Congress may act to require a warrant for CSLI. But without a change in controlling law, we cannot conclude that the Government violated the Fourth Amendment in this case.
The nod to 1979’s Smith v. Maryland is back in place, setting this decision firmly in Third Party Doctrine territory. If it’s “voluntarily conveyed” to a third party, the government doesn’t need a warrant to access it. The key, though, is the “voluntary” part. While the majority finds the collection of cell site location data by service providers to be somehow a “voluntary” conveyance by customers, the three dissenting judges aren’t as impressed by this argument.
- Microsoft denies forcing Windows 10 upgrade
Microsoft says Windows users still can opt-out of upgrading to the latest version of the software despite claims the company has made it exceedingly difficult to do so.
Tech blogs and media reports say when users are shown a pop-up box asking them to upgrade to Windows 10, there’s no clear option to decline the upgrade.
The reports say when users click the red “X” button in the upper right-hand corner of the pop-up, which normally would end the dialogue, they’re automatically scheduled for an upgrade.
Microsoft tells the BBC in a statement that Windows 10 is a recommended update for some users of older Windows versions. It says customers still can choose to accept or decline the new operating system.
- Google voice search records and keeps conversations people have around their phones – but the files can be deleted
Google could have a record of everything you have said around it for years, and you can listen to it yourself.
The company quietly records many of the conversations that people have around its products.
The feature works as a way of letting people search with their voice, and storing those recordings presumably lets Google improve its language recognition tools as well as the results that it gives to people.
- Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet
- All your disk image are belong to us, says appeals court
The government can prosecute and imprison people for crimes based on evidence obtained from their computers—even evidence retained for years that was outside the scope of an original probable-cause search warrant, a US federal appeals court has said in a 100-page opinion paired with a blistering dissent.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there was no constitutional violation because the authorities acted in good faith when they initially obtained a search warrant, held on to the files for years, and built a case unrelated to the original search.
The case posed a vexing question—how long may the authorities keep somebody’s computer files that were obtained during a search but were not germane to that search? The convicted accountant said that only the computer files pertaining to his client—who was being investigated as part of an Army overbilling scandal—should have been retained by the government during a 2003 search. All of his personal files, which eventually led to his own tax-evasion conviction, should have been purged, he argued.
But the appeals court said the authorities’ behavior was acceptable and didn’t reach the constitutional question of whether the Fourth Amendment rights were breached for accountant Stavros Ganias, who was sentenced to two years in prison. That’s because three years after the original search of the accountant’s files in connection to the Army scandal, Connecticut authorities got another search warrant for Ganias’ own tax files that were already in the government’s possession, the appeals court ruled in a 12-1 decision Friday written by Judges Debra Ann Livingston and Gerard Lynch. Ganias had subsequently deleted those files from his hard drives after the government had imaged them, according to court records:
Defendant-Appellant Stavros Ganias appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Thompson, J.) convicting him, after a jury trial, of two counts of tax evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. He challenges his conviction on the ground that the Government violated his Fourth Amendment rights when, after lawfully copying three of his hard drives for off-site review pursuant to a 2003 search warrant, it retained these full forensic copies (or “mirrors”), which included data both responsive and non-responsive to the 2003 warrant, while its investigation continued, and ultimately searched the non-responsive data pursuant to a second warrant in 2006. Ganias contends that the Government had successfully sorted the data on the mirrors responsive to the 2003 warrant from the non-responsive data by January 2005, and that the retention of the mirrors thereafter (and, by extension, the 2006 search, which would not have been possible but for that retention) violated the Fourth Amendment. He argues that evidence obtained in executing the 2006 search warrant should therefore have been suppressed.
We conclude that the Government relied in good faith on the 2006 warrant, and that this reliance was objectively reasonable. Accordingly, we need not decide whether retention of the forensic mirrors violated the Fourth Amendment, and we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.
The case is clearly nuanced, but it has huge ramifications for the public because many people keep all of their papers and effects co-mingled on their hard drives. BTW NOTE: Maybe it’s because it’s all presumed business/commerce property subject to regulation and nothing PERSONal is private.
- The rise of the meta-criminal
Is the NSA manipulating the stock market?
Trevor Timm of the Electronic Freedom Frontier dug up a very interesting nugget. It was embedded in the heralded December 2013 White House task force report on spying and snooping.
Under Recommendations, #31, section 2, he found this:
“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate financial systems.”
Timm quite rightly wondered: why were these warnings in the report?
- Machine Bias
In 2014, then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that the risk scores might be injecting bias into the courts. He called for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to study their use. “Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice,” he said, adding, “they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.”
The sentencing commission did not, however, launch a study of risk scores. So ProPublica did, as part of a larger examination of the powerful, largely hidden effect of algorithms in American life.
We obtained the risk scores assigned to more than 7,000 people arrested in Broward County, Florida, in 2013 and 2014 and checked to see how many were charged with new crimes over the next two years, the same benchmark used by the creators of the algorithm.
The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime: Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually went on to do so.
When a full range of crimes were taken into account — including misdemeanors such as driving with an expired license — the algorithm was somewhat more accurate than a coin flip.
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- The people know that they have created this farce and financed it with their own taxes (consent), but they would rather knuckle under than be the hypocrite.Factor VI – Cattle
Those who will not use their brains are no better off than those who have no brains, and so this mindless school of jelly-fish, father, mother, son, and daughter, become useful beasts of burden or trainers of the same.
- Mr. Rothschild’s Energy Discovery
What Mr. Rothschild  had discovered was the basic principle of power, influence, and control over people as applied to economics. That principle is “when you assume the appearance of power, people soon give it to you.”
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