Private industry eavesdropping
The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone — for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.
Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.
Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.
And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist — or a competing company.
I’ve been wondering about this. I wonder how much the media does this as well. There has been very little coverage about cell phone privacy since Gingrich was recorded illegally several years ago. PGP encryption coverage has been curiously non-existent as well.
According to this Instapundit post, large majorities in many modern countries support the legal use of torture in extraordinary circumstances. There is even the line that it should be “legal, safe and rare”.
I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I am willing to say that it is a trade-off. While we gain information we lose some degree of moral high-ground and reputation (which has other long run costs), and there will inevitably be lots and lots of mistakes as with any government endeavor.
But what does one do in the ticking time-bomb situation, or what you reasonably think is one? You’ve got bloody hands either through action or inaction.
Jose Padilla is being charged with actual crimes, and not as an enemy combatant. This is a good thing I think. American citizenship does and should draw a clear line on who gets charged with what.
Now Janice Rogers Brown perhaps?
Curiously this was not buried during the weekend.
Via Instapundit, some thoughts on profiling and lawsuits
As I recall, though, the detainees were charged with various crimes — such as immigration law violations, etc. — not simply with “being Muslim.” And, in fact, these guys were apparently guilty: “Elmaghraby and Iqbal were deported to their home countries after serving time for charges unrelated to terrorism — Elmaghraby for a counterfeiting charge and Iqbal for fraud.”
Prosecutors enjoy nearly unlimited discretion on whom to prosecute, and if federal prosecutors chose to prosecute people they feared might have terror connections for unrelated crimes I don’t see how that can make out a constitutional violation. Perhaps, though, I misunderstand the claim, as the story isn’t very clear.
And my favorite Irish band from Wisconsin, the Kissers have an interesting tour blog.
Family of Red Sox fan sues gun maker
In May, the city of Boston settled a lawsuit by Snelgrove’s family for $5 million. As part of the settlement, the city cooperated in the suit against the gun maker and will receive half of any damage award, up to $2 million.
Is it me, or switching sides like that a monumental conflict of interests?
From the article Police: Witnesses mum in rap mogul’s shooting
“It’s disturbing that someone can let off six shots in a packed club and can escape without being arrested,” said Elliott Wilson, editor in chief of the rap magazine XXL. “The hip-hop community doesn’t trust the police to confide info to them, and in turn the police have done little to make us feel like they give a damn about our safety. It’s a vicious cycle.”
He said this out loud. As if giving information on someone who had shot a member of the “hip-hop community” was some sort of deep favor to the police. Sigh.
It’s probably meaningful that I come across this article on Urban surveillance networks and this article on profiling on the same day. Both of them are worth reading.
Consider the following statement.
An overwhelming majority of Americans think that racial profiling is wrong. A lesser number think that racial profiling is not worth doing under ordinary circumstances, a smaller number think it’s not worth doing under any circumstance.
The above is an accurate description of public sentiment when 100% of the factor is race. Gender and age are usually thrown in as well. The above still holds true.
But what happens when race is one factor of 50 and the profiling is being done by a computer? Assume a surveillance server can determine, height, weight, approximate age, race, gender, posture, gait, clothes, et al. Does it become acceptable at that point?
This line of thought reminds of the last Supreme Court affirmative action decision where it was said that it was wrong for people to discriminate, but fine for computers to do so.