If a Best Buy technician is a paid FBI informant, are his computer searches legal? – The Washington Post

The case raises issues about privacy and the government use of informants. If a customer turns over their computer for repair, do they forfeit their expectation of privacy, and their Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches? And if an informant is paid, does it compromise their credibility or effectively convert them into an agent of the government?

Best Buy spokesman Jeff Shelman … “Any circumstances in which an employee received payment from the FBI is the result of extremely poor individual judgment, is not something we tolerate and is certainly not a part of our normal business behavior.”

Source: If a Best Buy technician is a paid FBI informant, are his computer searches legal? – The Washington Post

The UK’s Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court • The Register

Enshrining parallel construction in English law

Section 56 of the act as passed sets out a number of matters that are now prohibited from being brought up in court. The exact wording of section 56(1) is as follows:

Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings etc.
(1) No evidence may be adduced, question asked, assertion or disclosure made or other thing done in, for the purposes of or in connection with any legal proceedings or Inquiries Act proceedings which (in any manner)—

(a) discloses, in circumstances from which its origin in interception-related conduct may be inferred—

(i) any content of an intercepted communication, or

(ii) any secondary data obtained from a communication, or

(b) tends to suggest that any interception-related conduct has or may have occurred or may be going to occur.

This is subject to Schedule 3 (exceptions).

Section 56(1)(b) creates a legally guaranteed ability – nay, duty – to lie about even the potential for State hacking to take place, and to tell juries a wholly fictitious story about the true origins of hacked material used against defendants in order to secure criminal convictions. This is incredibly dangerous.

There is no point in having punishments for lawbreakers if it is illegal to talk about their law-breaking behaviour.

Source: The UK’s Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court • The Register

Feds Walk Into A Building. Demand Everyone’s Fingerprints To Open Phones – Forbes

Legal experts were shocked at the government’s request. “They want the ability to get a warrant on the assumption that they will learn more after they have a warrant,” said Marina Medvin of Medvin Law. “Essentially, they are seeking to have the ability to convince people to comply by providing their fingerprints to law enforcement under the color of law – because of the fact that they already have a warrant. They want to leverage this warrant to induce compliance by people they decide are suspects later on. This would be an unbelievably audacious abuse of power if it were permitted.”

The justifications didn’t wash with Medvin or Lynch. Of the Fourth Amendment argument, Medvin said the police don’t have the right to search a person or a place in hopes of justifying the search later as reasonable. “That’s not how the 4th Amendment works,” Medvin added. “You need to have a reasonable basis before you begin the search – that reasonable basis is what allows you to search in the first place.”

Source: Feds Walk Into A Building. Demand Everyone’s Fingerprints To Open Phones – Forbes

Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All.

The charges against Goodman are a clear attack on journalism and freedom of the press.

When asked to explain the grounds for arresting a working journalist, Erickson told the Grand Forks Herald that he did not, in fact, consider Goodman a journalist. “She’s a protester, basically,” Erickson told the newspaper. “Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions.” And in The Bismarck Tribune he later added, “I think she put together a piece to influence the world on her agenda, basically. That’s fine, but it doesn’t immunize her from the laws of her state.”

It’s worth pausing here for a moment to contemplate the full and chilling absurdity of this statement: According to Erickson, a woman who appeared at a protest carrying a microphone emblazoned with the name Democracy Now! and trailing a video crew; who can be heard in the resulting video report identifying herself to a security guard as a reporter; and who then broadcast the video on the daily news program she has hosted for 20 years is not actually a journalist. She is not a journalist, because she harbors a strong perspective, and that perspective clashes with his own.

Source: Amy Goodman Is Facing Prison for Reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline. That Should Scare Us All.

Police Body-Worn Cameras Are Making Departments More Powerful – The Atlantic

They’re not transparent. They’re not independent. They’re not even turned on when they should be.

In case after case, police departments say officers did not have their body cameras activated when it counted.

If there’s not significant discipline for officers who fail to follow local policies—as the officers failed in D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte—then it doesn’t matter what’s in the policy.

many states have introduced or passed new laws that restrict public access to footage while preserving police access.

Source: Police Body-Worn Cameras Are Making Departments More Powerful – The Atlantic

Terms of service agreements are destroying the concept of ownership for digital goods — Quartz

When you purchase a book from a bookstore your rights to that particular stack of paper are pretty intuitive. … Those intuitions about ownership fall apart when we talk about our digital things. … That’s because your rights to those digital things are filtered through a maze of intellectual property law and limited by the fine print that you agree to when you buy them.

Using contracts to make an end-run around property law predates the web.

You may own your car but the software required to drive it is more like a song you listen to while driving, it’s only licensed to you.

By proxy, the companies creating these products are deciding what we are and are not allowed to do.

Source: Terms of service agreements are destroying the concept of ownership for digital goods — Quartz

Elizabeth Warren wants the FBI to treat big bank CEOs the way they treat Hillary Clinton — Quartz

Warren also wants the Department of Justice’s inspector general to investigate why no charges were forthcoming, and for Comey to testify about why the agency (which Comey has led since 2013) chose not to charge any of those people with crimes related to the crisis.

It seems unlikely that the FBI will comply with Warren’s request; it’s not even clear what kind of investigation was performed. But a rejection would underscore that for all the allegations of Clinton’s coziness to the financial sector, she still faces tougher scrutiny for sending e-mails than bankers have faced for bringing down the global economy.

And time is running out: Prosecutors have just ten years to prosecute many financial crimes.

Source: Elizabeth Warren wants the FBI to treat big bank CEOs the way they treat Hillary Clinton — Quartz

Is Obama’s Drone War Moral? – The Atlantic

The ethics of defensive killing

If the government can’t make a full accounting to its people why it is killing on their behalf, it cannot kill morally.

Source: Is Obama’s Drone War Moral? – The Atlantic

 

Is it morally justified for a government to carry out a policy of targeted killings against proposed threats where we don’t know what the policy is, we don’t know who the targets are, we don’t know what the criteria for the targets are, what evidence they have to carry it out, and what their standards are?

– Sari Kisilevsky, philosopher of law and ethics at Queens College, CUNY

The Fight for the “Right to Repair” | Innovation | Smithsonian

Manufacturers have made it increasingly difficult for individuals or independent repair people to fix electronics. A growing movement is fighting back

The idea of planned obsolescence is nothing new. But the use of “repair prevention” as a method of making products obsolete is growing

Related to all this is the growing problem of e-waste. The inability to repair a product shortens its lifespan and adds to the number of electronics winding up in landfills.

Right to repair advocates blame the manufacturers. Apple, for example, was found to have funded lobbying efforts to kill the Fair Repair bill in New York.

Source: The Fight for the “Right to Repair” | Innovation | Smithsonian