Saturday, January 15, 2011

Would this mean the “Rodney King” video was illegal?

Court Rejects Claim of a First Amendment Right to Audio-Record Police Officers

January 14, 2011 by Dissent

Eugene Volokh mentions a ruling in ACLU v. Alvarez (N.D. Jan. 10, 2011) that will probably disappoint many of this blog’s readers. Here’s a snippet of the opinion:

To assist in deterring and detecting police misconduct, the ACLU has developed a program to “audio record police officers, without the consent of the officers, when (a) the officers are performing their public duties, (b) the officers are in public places, (c) the officers are speaking at a volume audible to the unassisted human ear, and (d) the manner of recording is otherwise lawful.”


The ACLU intends to audio record police officers speaking with one another or police officers speaking with civilians. The ACLU’s program only implicates conversations with police officers. The ACLU does not intend to seek the consent of either police officers or civilians interacting with police officers. Police officers and civilians may be willing speakers with one another, but the ACLU does not allege this willingness of the speakers extends to the ACLU, an independent third party audio recording conversations without the consent of the participants. The ACLU has not met its burden of showing standing to assert a First Amendment right or injury….

Amendment would be futile. The ACLU has not alleged a constitutional right or injury under the First Amendment. Rather, the ACLU proposes an unprecedented expansion of the First Amendment….

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy. Note that this ruling is not about the right of an individual to audio record their interactions with the police, but about the rights of a non-involved third party to record the interactions of others. [So, Rodney King could have recorded himself but no one else could? Bob]

[From the article:

“there is nothing in the Constitution which guarantees the right to record a public event”

We need a new word – I suggest we call this an “e-Coup”

Tweeting Tyrants Out of Tunisia: Global Internet at Its Best

Even yesterday, it would have been too much to say that blogger, tweeters, Facebook users, Anonymous and Wikileaks had “brought down” the Tunisian government, but with today’s news that the country’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country, it becomes a more plausible claim to make.

… Here’s a guide to the part of this battle fought in cyberspace over the last month.

What other ill-considered technologies will eventually be seen as failures? (My bet? Airport scanners)

Homeland Security Junks Its Sensor-Laden Border Fence

It only took nearly a year of hiatus and $1 billion in sunk costs, but the Department of Homeland Security has finally gotten rid of the networked suite of sensors that made up its virtual border fence. But some of its technology may live on as zombie border protection.

The virtual fence “cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border-security technology solution,” Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded in a statement today heralding the program’s termination.

Boeing’s SBInet was supposed to be the ultimate in anti-illegal immigrant technology: miles of surveillance-radar towers (colloquially, “Cameras on a Pole”) hooked up to ground-based sensors that detected the heat of someone’s footprints or the metal of a border-crossing vehicle. Sound impractical? That’s what the Government Accountability Office found in October, when it lamented SBInet’s “well-chronicled history of not delivering promised capabilities and benefits on time and within budget.” (.pdf)

Yet the Customs and Border Protection office boasted in a fact sheet that it would ultimately cover 6,000 miles of the U.S.’ northern and southern frontiers. But only 53 miles of border in Arizona ever actually got outfitted with SBInet.

Wow! Detroit schools must have had lots of sex crimes to force them to come up with this!

New security system to protect Detroit students from sex offenders raises privacy concerns

January 14, 2011 by Dissent

First the roll-out of yet another “for the children’s safety” measure, as described by ABC News in Detroit:

The Detroit Public School system is launching a new security system designed to keep sex offenders out of the city’s schools.

The system works by running instant background checks against sex offender registries and then issuing ID badges that identify which area of a school a person is allowed to enter. Anyone who doesn’t pass the background check will not be allowed access to the school. Officials say the system will not check any other criminal databases. [“Ax murderers welcome?” Probably not, see below. Bob]

The system can scan driver licenses and ID cards. It can also run checks using a visitor’s name and date of birth.

The ID badges that are issued by the system include the person’s name and picture. They are temporary and expire after a day. Contractors, regular volunteers and frequent visitors can be issued long-term badges.

Followed quickly by the concerns, as reported by Zenobia Jeffries of the Michigan Citizen:

As of Jan. 3, all visitors — including parents — to DPS will have to scan their driver’s license or state-issued identification to obtain a visitor’s pass with a photo I.D. to enter the school.

Although the system is slated for all schools in the district, it is only up and running currently at a few schools, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School (King).

Security officers and staff at King refused to comment to this reporter on how the system works or what database visitors’ identification is run through.

“All questions have to go to the district,” said Officer Brewer, campus security of DPS Department of Public Safety.

Speculation is circulating that the information is run through law enforcement, including Homeland Security.

Allegedly, two parents visiting King were arrested the week of Jan. 3, one for outstanding child support and the other for outstanding tickets. These arrests have not been confirmed.

Repeated attempts to get detailed information about the new system such as the name of the system, supplier, data bases into which the information flows and costs from DPS Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) Robert Bobb and his communications spokesperson Steve Wasko have gone unanswered.

Read more on Michigan Citizen. Both the ACLU of Michigan and the Michigan Citizen have filed FOIA requests to obtain more information.

A press release posted to the Detroit Public Schools web site says:

The system, which is being rolled out gradually to 33 sites, will instantly scan visitors’ driver licenses and state ID cards and cross-check the information with sex-offender registries throughout the United States and Canada. School security personnel can also conduct checks using visitors’ names and date of birth. It will eventually be set up at every DPS school.

Stay tuned… and thanks to the reader who pointed me to this story.

For my Computer Security students. I see this an inevitable, and one of the major security policy issues they will face.

Should Employees Buy Their Own Computers?

"Data security vs. productivity. We have all heard the arguments. Most of us use some of our personal equipment for work, but is it a good idea? 'You are at work. Your computer is five years old, runs Windows XP. Your company phone has a tiny screen and doesn't know what the internet is. Idling at home is a snazzy, super-fast laptop, and your own smartphone is barred from accessing work e-mail. There's a reason for that: IT provisioning is an expensive business. Companies can struggle to keep up with the constant rate of technological change. The devices employees have at home and in their pockets are often far more powerful than those provided for them. So what if you let your staff use their own equipment?' Companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Kraft, Citrix, and global law firm SNR Denton seem to think it's a decent idea."

I am struck by how little data is in this archive. It is probably the size of the average teenager's Facebook dossier.

JFK Library Launches Largest Presidential Online Archive

"The JFK Library launched what it is calling the largest presidential online archive, offering the public 117TB of data related to John F. Kennedy's presidency. The four-year project digitized a plethora of analog material including 200,000 pages of documents; 300 reels of audio tape containing more than 1,245 individual recordings of telephone calls, speeches and meetings; 300 museum artifacts; 72 reels of film; and 1,500 photos. 'As young people increasingly rely on the Internet as their primary source for information, it is our hope that the library's online archive will allow a new generation to learn about this important chapter in American history,' said Carolyn Kennedy, the wife of the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., [Quite a substantial error... Must be some young journalist who thinks history begins with Bill Clinton. Bob]who was on hand at the opening of the archive."

Now this is interesting! WalMart relies on hard negotiation. Amazon seems to think the next step is “Take it or leave it.”

Amazon, Not Developers, Will Set New App Store's Prices

"Looks like Amazon is changing the rules of the game for developers with their new Android App store. I'm curious how Amazon will determine the value of your app and if having control of your prices really matters."

The core of the linked article: "Here's how it works: When developers submit apps to Amazon's app store, they will be able to set a suggested retail price ('MSRP'). It can be free, it can be $50, whatever. Then Amazon -- not the developer -- will set the retail price. It can be full price, it can be a sale price, or it can be free. Developers will get to take home the standard 70% of the app's retail price (what the app sells for) or 20% of the MSRP (what the developer thinks it should sell for), whichever is greater."

I start each day by reading articles collected in my RSS reader. Now I can search more efficiently for new feeds...

5 RSS Feed Search Engines You Should Try Out For Fresh Content

RSS (Rich Site Summary) as we know is the most common way to publish content that’s regularly updated on the web. Using your feed reader, you can have all the fresh pickings without needing to visit each site individually.

… That’s why you can think of feed search engines as one of the easiest ways to search for the latest feeds en masse. A feed search engine also links to the RSS feed link and a preview of the content if you choose to subscribe without browsing through the site.

Humor For those who believe texting while driving is not a distraction – a short video. (Narration by the ever-sympathetic mall security team)

Texting Girl Falls In Mall Fountain

Global Warming! Global Warming! Want to bet?

Bastardi's Wager

"AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has a challenge for climate scientists. He wants one or more of their rank to accept a bet about temperature trends in the coming decade. Bastardi is making specific predictions. 'The scientific approach is: you see the other argument, you put forward predictions about where things are going to go, and you test them,' he says. 'That is what I have done. I have said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.' Bastardi's challenge to his critics — who are legion — is to make their own predictions. And then wait. Climate science, he adds, 'is just a big weather forecast.' Bastardi's challenge is reminiscent of the famous Simon-Ehrlich Wager, where the two men made specific predictions about resource scarcity in the '80s."

No comments: