Sunday, November 28, 2010

Extending the philosophy of the Lower Merion School District? All school children are criminals, therefore all teachers are corrections officers.

VA: School officials can search cellphone for evidence of “sexting” or “cyberbullying”

November 27, 2010 by Dissent


The Virginia AG issues an opinion authorizing school officials to search student belongings and cellphones on reasonable suspicion of a violation of law or a school regulation for “sexting” or “cyberbullying.” VA A.G. Op. 10-150 (November 24, 2010)*:

Accordingly, searches of a student’s belongings–including an examination of the messages found on a cell phone or laptop–are justified if, when the search is made, the teacher or principal has “reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.

Read more about the case on

So if you suspect a student of breaking the law, shouldn’t that be precisely the time that their Fourth Amendment protection kicks in? It’s bad enough to invade privacy for possible violation of school rules, but if you suspect them of breaking the law, the Fourth Amendment should apply, no?

Oh right… we’re trying to teach our kids that they have no constitutional protections in school so that they’re prepared to simply tolerate abuses of their constitutional protections when they try to take a domestic flight or return to their own country. Yeah, that must be it.

Would this serve as a model for Cloud Computing security or is it just wishful thinking?

Ca: Privacy boss: Don’t sweat e-health outsourcing

By Dissent, November 27, 2010

Chip Martin reports:

Ontario’s privacy watchdog says its rules protecting patient records are so tight, patients needn’t worry about them being vulnerable if London hospitals go ahead with a deal with a U.S. software giant. ”You can outsource services, but you cannot outsource accountability (for privacy),” Ann Cavoukian told The Free Press.

Saying Ontario has “perhaps the best (health information) privacy law on the planet,” Cavoukian said the privacy-protection buck stops with the health-care system — so she’s not worried if the hospitals outsource electronic patient-record work to Cerner Corp.

“We don’t take these things lightly,” said Cavoukian, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Read more in the London Free Press.

Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional

November 27, 2010 by Dissent

Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University and the author of “The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age,” discusses why he thinks the screening procedures used by TSA are constitutional. He writes, in part:

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

As currently used in U.S. airports, the new full-body scanners fail all of Alito’s tests.

Read the whole article in the Washington Post.

(Related) Local

Colorado Lawyer Files Injunction Against Janet Napolitano and TSA

November 27, 2010 by Dissent

Chris of InformationLiberation reports that Colorado lawyer, Gary Fielder, has filed for a permanent restraining order in federal district court against Janet Napolitano, John Pistole, the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA:

Attorney Fielder made headlines earlier this year when he refused to go through a naked body scanner installed at a Colorado courthouse. He has now filed a Complaint for Injunctive Relief to stop the naked body scanners and enhanced pat downs at our nation’s airports.

In his complaint, he details his personal story of how he and his daughters were treated during an “enhanced pat down” by the TSA on a recent trip to San Diego, describing the TSA agents’ behavior as “disgusting, unconscionable, sexual in nature, unnecessary and a complete violation of his and his children’s constitutional rights.”

InformationLiberation has uploaded the full complaint to their site, here.

Carousel image from screenshot of Alex Jones’s February 8, 2010 interview with Gary Fielder about his experiences with TSA scanning. You can watch the interview on YouTube.

You would think this would have been easy to confirm...

Kuwait Not Banning DSLR Cameras After All

"The Kuwait Times, the newspaper that started the false rumor of Kuwait banning DSLR cameras, has posted an update saying that after investigation, it turned out they didn't verify their information. They have now issued a retraction. Quoting: 'The newspaper regrets failing to verify the information. The article wrongly stated that a ban on DSLR cameras was implemented by the Ministries of Information, Social Affairs and Finance. This information is false. In a follow up investigation, it was proved that no such ban has been issued. We regret this error and deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused.'"

To be expected – because that phone your bought, you don't actually own. Microsoft owns it, you are just renting it.

Microsoft Is Bricking Windows Phone 7 Devices That Use ChevronWP7 Unlocking Software

… The ChevronWP7 software tricks the operating system into registering itself as a Windows Phone 7 developer device rather than with Microsoft directly. Microsoft charges $99 per year to load developer applications. Hackers have been using ChevronWP7 software to bypass the Windows Phone Marketplace completely.

Those who jailbreak the devices with ChevronWP7 had the ability to download the source XAP files from an ATOM XML feed.

Below is a statement made by a Microsoft spokesperson:

“We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.”

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