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Archive for October 8th, 2014

Twitter Sues FBI, Justice Department for Right to Disclose Surveillance Requests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Twitter wants its users to know how often the government has requested information for surveillance purposes.

The Associated Press reports that Twitter is suing the FBI and Justice Department in hopes of getting permission from a judge to release the information.

It’s currently against the law for companies to disclose how many national security requests they receive.

Twitter said the First Amendment should apply to the disclosure so the San Francisco-based company can “”respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance.”

“Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters (‘NSLs’) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (‘FISA’) court orders received — even if that number is zero,” Ben Lee, Twitter’s vice president of legal, wrote in a blog post.

The ACLU hopes other companies join Twitter.

“We hope that other technology companies will now follow Twitter’s lead,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement. “Technology companies have an obligation to protect their customers’ sensitive information against overbroad government surveillance, and to be candid with their customers about how their information is being used and shared.”

DEA Uses Woman’s Photos, Info to Create Fake Facebook Account in Drug Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Should law enforcement have the right to conduct an investigation by using photos and other personal information to create a fake Facebook page in a real person’s name?

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will examine the after Sondra Arquiett in Watertown, N.Y., filed a lawsuit that claims the DEA used photos, including one of her in a bra and underwear, and other information from her cellphone to create the fake account, the Washington Post reports. The information was gathered during a 2010 arrest for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

In hopes of finding others involved in the alleged drug ring, police set up the fake account.

The DEA also posted photos of her children.

“The allegations in this case are shocking,” said Mariko Hirose, staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “This case illustrates the importance of digital privacy and identity, and the possibility of abuse when law enforcement is able to access the trove of personal information that we store in our devices.”

Has ISIS Militants Crossed Border into Texas? Congressman Says So

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 

A California Congressman is claiming ISIS fighters trying to get into the U.S. were busted at the Texas border with Mexico, Fox News reports.

“ISIS is coming across the southern border,” said  Rep. Duncan Hunter, whose district includes much of San Diego. “They aren’t flying B-1 Bombers bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.

“At least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” Hunter continued. “There’s nobody taking about it.”

The information has not been independent verified by the Border Patrol, which is where Hunter said he received the information.

“They caught them at the border,” Hunter said. “Therefore, we know ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or 10 of them you know there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol.”

 

Why Do We Have Trigger-Happy Police, Trigger Shy Secret Service?

By Farah Stockman
Boston Globe

Here’s a quiz: Which crime is more likely to get you shot to death?

A) Scaling the fence outside the White House, with a knife;

B) Jaywalking in Ferguson, Mo., unarmed.

The answer, of course, is B, at least if you’re a black man. And it’s not just in Ferguson. In South Carolina, a state trooper pulled over 35-year-old Levar Jones for a seat belt violation, but shot himas he reached for his license. (Jones survived.) In Ohio, police killed 22-year-old John Crawford III in Wal-mart for carrying a pellet gun he had picked up off the store’s shelf. In Utah, police questioned 22-year-old Darrien Hunt outside a shopping mall because he was carrying a replica of a samurai sword. Moments later, they shot him to death, in the back. And that’s just in the past eight weeks.

It’s worth mentioning that these incidents all took place in small cities with almost no violent crime. Saratoga Springs, Utah, for instance, hasn’t seen a murder since 2010. Ferguson averages a little over one homicide a year. So why are police in those places so skittish? So quick to use deadly force? By the same token, why is the Secret Service so reluctant to do so?

According to Samuel Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the answer lies in the way law enforcement agents are trained to interact with the public. Too often, instead of deescalating conflict, police do just the opposite.

“Officers traditionally respond to disrespect or perceived challenges to their authority by stepping up their use of force,” he said. “It’s called ‘contempt of cop.’ Here in Omaha, if you are stopped by the police, you don’t ask a question. It will escalate up to where you are out of the car and under arrest.”

That’s how an officer trying to give jaywalking citations in Seattle ended up breaking a guy’s nose. The pedestrian didn’t feel he had done anything wrong, and refused to stop. The officer got physical. The Department of Justice investigated, and found a pattern of low-level offenses turning into excessive use of force in Seattle. Racial distrust can make that dynamic even worse.

To read more click here.

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