Monday, September 27, 2010

What rules apply if they find nothing?

Use of sneak-and-peak warrants balloons from 87 in ’06 to 1,145 in ’09

September 26, 2010 by Dissent

James Ewinger reports:

A little-known federal law that allows investigators to carry out a search warrant without the suspect’s knowledge contributed to the smashing of a major heroin ring in the area last week.


The delayed-notice search warrant is designed to keep suspects from knowing they are under surveillance. In this case, investigators used the warrant to go through a suspected drug dealer’s apartment in Cleveland last April. They took more than a pound of heroin and two guns, then trashed the place to make it look like a burglary. [Probably only a marginal impact on crime statistics... Bob]

While the case is interesting in and of itself, or greater interest, perhaps, are some statistics that Ewinger includes about the use of sneak-and-peek warrants, as they’re often called:

The special warrants, like the one used in April, are most commonly utilized in drug cases, and only rarely against suspected terrorists.

Their use has soared, from 87 granted nationwide by federal judges in 2006 to 1,145 last year.


Federal judges nationwide have rejected requests for the special warrants only eight times between 2006 and 2009.

Read more on Plain Dealer, keeping in mind that use of these warrants ballooned after the USA PATRIOT Act, but not necessarily for terrorism-related cases.

Great thanks to for alerting me to this story and, more importantly, for their additional coverage of these types of warrants and their abuse. Check out their blog entry on this.

Just a simple question: who benefits?

Stuxnet Infects 30,000 Industrial Computers In Iran

Posted by timothy on Sunday September 26, @01:50PM

"The BBC and AFP are releasing more juicy details about the now infamous Stuxnet worm that Iranian officials have confirmed infected 30,000 industrial computers inside Iran following those exact fears. The targeted systems that the worm is designed to infect are Siemens SCADA systems. Talking heads are speculating that the worm is too complex for an individual or group, causing blame to be placed on Israel or even the United States — although the US official claims they do not know the origin of the virus. Iran claims it did not infect or place any risk to the new nuclear reactor in Bushehr, which experts are suspecting was the ultimate target of the worm."

Now lookie here, young fella...”

Iris Scanning Set To Secure City In Mexico

Posted by timothy on Sunday September 26, @08:17PM

"The million-plus citizens of Leon, Mexico are set to become the first example of a city secured through the power of biometric identification. Iris and face scanning technologies from Global Rainmakers, Inc. will allow people to use their eyes to prove their identify, withdraw money from an ATM, get help at a hospital, and even ride the bus. Whether you're jealous or intimidated by Leon's adoption of widespread eye identification you should pay attention to the project – similar biometric checkpoints are coming to locations near you. Some are already in place."

For my IP Lawyers...

September 26, 2010

WIPO Launches New Database to Profile IP Case Studies

News release: "WIPO has launched IP Advantage, a new database which profiles the intellectual property (IP) experiences of inventors, creators, entrepreneurs, and researchers. This tool aims to promote a better understanding of how IP is created and protected, and how inventors, creators and society at large benefit from the IP system. The IP Advantage database is a fully searchable one-stop gateway to the wealth of case study material available on WIPO’s website. The case studies featured in the database demonstrate how IP works in the real world and how IP rights - such as patents, marks and copyright - can be used to promote innovation in both developed and developing countries. The case studies are presented in a standard format reflecting the various steps of the innovation cycle: innovation – IP protection – exploitation – further innovation. They feature a variety of actors from across the globe and cover a range of topics, including branding, financing, partnerships and research and development (R&D). Various case studies also highlight the different ways in which the IP system can support the development of solutions to the challenges of climate change, food security and public health. IP Advantage is free, user-friendly and currently features over 100 case studies covering 48 different countries – a majority being developing countries. The database offers an intuitive interface that allows for searches to be made according to type of IP, the object of protection (inventions, commercial names, artistic works) and/or the focus of the case study (branding, IP management, R&D, etc.)."

What does this say about the “Core Business” of government?

September 26, 2010

Private Library Outsourcing Expands - Taking Over Santa Clarita CA System

NYT: A private company in Maryland has taken over public libraries in ailing cities in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas, growing into the country’s fifth-largest library system. Now the company, Library Systems & Services, has been hired for the first time to run a system in a relatively healthy city, setting off an intense and often acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy. A $4 million deal to run the three libraries here is a chance for the company to demonstrate that a dose of private management can be good for communities, whatever their financial situation. But in an era when outsourcing is most often an act of budget desperation — with janitors, police forces and even entire city halls farmed out in one town or another — the contract in Santa Clarita has touched a deep nerve and begun a round of second-guessing."

Interesting, but nothing really new?

September 26, 2010

New on - Google Instant and Legal Search

Via - Google Instant and Legal Search: Steve Matthews enumerates some of the issues that merit attention with respect to Google's recent implementation of this default setting search query application.

One for my Statistics class. (Also Economics..) Should get some 'discussion' started!

September 26, 2010

New Report Traces Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Gun Trafficking

"A new report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns reveals a strong connection between weak gun laws and interstate gun trafficking. The report, which examines comprehensive crime gun trace data provided by ATF to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, finds that the states with the weakest gun laws are the top suppliers of the guns recovered in out-of-state crimes and are also the source of a greater proportion of likely trafficked guns.

  • Trace the Guns - The Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Gun Trafficking - Mayors Against Illegal Guns, September 2010.

  • - Interactive Maps of Interstate Gun Trafficking: [This is interesting! Bob] "Every year, tens of thousands of guns make their way into the hands of criminals. This website examines where guns recovered in crimes were originally sold by gun dealers, using 2009 data collected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It also demonstrates how state gun laws help curb illegal gun trafficking."

leet speak” for the office? Perhaps my students will understand me now? (Probably more cute than useful at this point, but it's young...)

Unsuck It: Office Jargon Dictionary Online

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