28 Aug

Universal Hub – Court says state law used to ban recording of police officers in public is unconstitutional

A Boston lawyer suing the city and police officers who arrested him for using his cell phone to record a drug arrest on the Common won a victory today when a federal appeals court said the officers could not claim "qualified immunity" because they were performing their job when they arrested him under a state law that bars audio recordings without the consent of both parties.

In its ruling, which lets Simon Glik continue his lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said the way Glik was arrested and his phone seized under a state wiretapping law violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights:

via Universal Hub – Court says state law used to ban recording of police officers in public is unconstitutional. I could not be happier with this ruling.

27 Jun

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Know Your Rights!

Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This is sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes – including those of the government.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer?

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else.

Because anything you say can be used against you in a criminal or civil case, before speaking to any law enforcement official, you should consult with an attorney.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – Know Your Rights!. EFF has a brief overview of rights that you have with your technology.

19 Jan

Ars Technica – Why you should always encrypt your smartphone

As such, if you are arrested or detained by a law enforcement officer, you cannot lawfully be compelled to tell the officer anything other than your basic identifying information—even if the officer has not read you the Miranda warning. Exercising your right to remain silent cannot be held against you in a court of law, nor can it be used to establish probable cause for a search warrant.

However, if you voluntarily disclose or enter your mobile phone password in response to police interrogation, any evidence of illegal activity found on (or by way of) your phone is admissible in court, regardless of whether or not you’ve been Mirandized.

What if you’re not a criminal and think you have nothing to hide? Why not simply cooperate with the police and hand over your password so that you can get on with your life?

For one thing, many Americans are criminals and they don’t even know it. Due to the disturbing phenomenon known as "overcriminalization," it’s very easy to break the law nowadays without realizing it. A May 2010 study from the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers found that three out of every five new nonviolent criminal offenses don’t require criminal intent.

via Ars Technica – Why you should always encrypt your smartphone. Important read for anyone who has a smartphone.

05 Jan

Taser diversifies its arsenal – The Economist

Police have so often been accused of using Tasers gratuitously that the firm started fitting them with digital cameras that recorded every firing. This “Taser-cam” got the firm’s boffins thinking: why not equip police with cameras that can record entire incidents (not just the brief moment when a Taser is used) and even beam the recordings instantly back to the higher-ups at headquarters?

via Taser diversifies its arsenal: Proto-RoboCop | The Economist.

Easily one of the best ideas I’ve seen Taser come up with. Great for the police departments to defend against frivolous lawsuits though also great to defend against cops doing stupid stuff. Even better is seeing the police departments publish the videos online or even stream them through Ustream or another site.