Category: Law

US government wants to mandate motor vehicle connectivity

connectivity

The federal government is inching closer to mandating cars have the ability to communicate with each other, in a move regulators say could reduce crashes while still protecting motorists’ personal information..

Called vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), the technology would use radio frequencies to communicate potential dangers to drivers, and the Transportation Department has begun the rule-making process of possibly making it required equipment in cars, though it could take years for a new law to take effect…

“By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in a statement.

NHTSA also said vehicle communication could be used to assist in blind-spot detection, forward-collision alarms and warnings not to pass, though many of these technologies are available in today’s cars using other technologies, like radar.

Mindful of recent “hacking” incidents involving major retailers, websites and identity theft, NHTSA said the data transmitted would only be used for safety purposes, and notes the systems being considered would contain “several layers” of security and privacy protection.

On one hand, I’ve been following this development from car manufacturers who wish to use tech like this for accident prevention. Mercedes is a leader on this side of the research.

On the other, is there anyone left in America who trusts the government enough to buy into this technology. Even if security from hackers might be guaranteed, does anyone think the Feds would pass up backdoor access to keep an eye on us?

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CNN ignoranuses think Captain Ron Johnson is flashing gang signs

I just can’t even deal with this crap anymore, and I encourage everyone else to not be able to deal with this crap anymore either.

Today in Ferguson, Mo., news, The Washington POST takes on the assertion that Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson has been photographed flashing gang signs with members of the community. [...]

Capt. Johnson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity that was formed in 1911 at Indiana University in Bloomington, and the hand sign you see in the pictures…is a Kappa greeting.

Black police captain “flashes hand sign,” and it’s immediately presumed that he is a Secret Gang Thug indicating his sympathies in a very public way that only the cleverest of white racist bastards will catch on to. Just as when a black president and his wife bump fists, the standard greeting of the American “bro” movement becomes a terrorist fist bump, and when a black child walks home with Skittles and iced tea the press summons people to describe what sort of drug paraphernalia might be constructed with Skittles and an iced tea.

A frat sign. Well, that is a gang sign of sorts, I suppose. And if you are the sort of person who immediately suspected that Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson is a secret gang member seeking to reassure his secret gang members that their secret plan to do … something … is alive and well, we do not need to be hearing from you right now. You need to go sit in a corner, any corner will do, and let the grown-ups talk without being interrupted by your constant little hissy fits.

You can’t make this crap up. In a nation with a modicum of education you would hope to find a journalist, an editor, who will know enough about the realities of policing, of Black society, to look further than a tweet from some stupid iReporter before publishing this crap.

It wasn’t until the POST pushed the Stupid Button on CNN’s digital office door that the post was removed. Of course, FAUX NEWS will probably run with it for a week.

Governor Susana opposes decriminalizing marijuana – and she really hates folks turning out to vote on it!

NM weed

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she opposes efforts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to reduce marijuana possession penalties.

Martinez said at an event in Bernalillo that marijuana possession is illegal under federal law and she believes that’s the way it should remain. She called current penalties appropriate.

The Santa Fe city clerk said Monday that petitioners seeking to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana garnered enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot…And Albuquerque city councilors voted Monday to ask voters whether they supported reduced penalties, although Mayor Richard Berry could veto the measure. [Count on it!]

Martinez called the efforts political moves to get young voters to the polls

Governor Susana’s statement – rooted in RNC ideology – the larger concern is that allowing marijuana initiatives to be placed on a ballot will result in a higher voter turnout primarily among younger people who might otherwise not vote – which has proven to reduce the prospects for Republican candidates being elected.

Thanks, Mike

“To Serve and Protect” Missouri-style


Click for another view of what peaceful demonstrators faced

Anyone familiar with the history of race and policing in the United States had to suspect from the beginning that the shooting of Michael Brown was not just a tragedy, but a crime. Yet presumption of innocence prevails and sober minds know both the need to wait for an investigation and the reality that we may never really know what happened that fateful Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri. But watching events unfold Wednesday night in the St. Louis suburb, there can be no doubt that what happened on August 13 was an outrage.

The local authorities clearly have no idea what they’re doing, and higher powers from the state or federal government need to intervene before things get even worse.

The arrest of two reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, with whom many of us in Washington, DC, are acquainted was neither the beginning nor the most important part of the outrage, but it drives home in a visceral way the extent to which the situation is being monumentally mishandled.

Police officers, for some unfathomable reason, were pointing guns at unarmed civilians at twilight.

Crowd control is a normal complement to any modern protest. And as I remember well from the late-Giuliani days in New York, crowd control sometimes gets heavy-handed when relationships between the police and the community are strained. But you do crowd control with horses, batons, and shields, not rifles. You point guns at dangerous, violent criminals, not people out for a march…

That sounds about right. There were an awful lot of somebodies who didn’t know better out on the streets of Ferguson last night wielding an awful lot of deadly equipment. Quite a few people have been injured over the past few days by rubber bullets and rough handling (although in a Wednesday press conference, a police spokesperson insisted that no one had been injured during the protests).

Wednesday night’s outing ended for many protestors in a cloud of tear gas. In my experience, these “nonviolent” crowd-control tactics are a good deal more painful than people who’ve never been at the receiving end appreciate. There’s no real reason they should be inflicted on demonstrators who weren’t hurting anyone or even damaging property. We are lucky, to be honest, that nobody’s been killed yet. But somebody who does know better needs to take charge. And soon.

…It is clear at this point that local officials in the town of Ferguson and St. Louis County don’t know what they are doing. Of course people will not be calm while police officers charged with protecting them trample their rights.


What did you learn, today, little girl?

The first person in a demonstration that I saw shot by police was a young woman in her mid-20’s. She was carrying her baby in her arms. She took a bullet in her left arm. That was July 19, 1964 in Harlem, New York. She was shot by a cop who was part of a group trying to prevent anyone from getting to the funeral parlor where the body of James Powell lay – killed by Lt. Thomas Gilligan of the NYPD.

In the aftermath of Powell’s death the people of New York City counted 1 dead, 118 injured, and 465 arrested. Overwhelmingly Black, the uprising counted many Hispanic folks – mostly Puerto Rican, many white demonstrators. Government response was the same as it ever was. There were investigations, Congressional hearings, lots of bullshit discussion – and nothing changed.

Our politicians, our government is as worthless as ever. Courtesy of the technology revolution of the last decade or so more people get to see what happens outside their comfort zone. Perhaps that will prompt more than campaign rhetoric.

You haven’t the freedom to know who is spying on you for the NSA

The U.S. doesn’t have to disclose the telecommunications companies helping it collect phone call records or turn over a secret surveillance court’s orders, a federal judge ruled, saying the information would reveal methods used in terrorism investigations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties advocacy group, sued under the Freedom of Information Act for access to information on the government phone record collection program. The group argued the government confirmed the participation of telecommunications companies in the National Security Agency’s surveillance program after the existence of the program was leaked.

NSA surveillance programs, disclosed by former security contractor Edward Snowden, are being challenged in a number of lawsuits. EFF’s lawsuit, which preceded the Snowden leaks, was filed on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The collection of information relevant to a federal investigation, when authorized by a secret court, is allowed under a statute in the act. The EFF freedom of information lawsuit sought secret court orders from 2005, 2006 and 2008 to learn more about what the government was collecting and the legal justification for it…

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, today said declassification of general information about the call-record collection program didn’t justify forcing the government to reveal the companies’ names to EFF. Disclosing orders of the Washington-based Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court could provide a road map for targets to evade surveillance, she said in her ruling…

The judge accepts every lie, every blanket rationale our government uses to defend spying on all of us. That doesn’t take courage. That takes obedience. That takes complicity.

Telecommunication companies were granted immunity by Congress in 2008 from privacy lawsuits over surveillance programs.

Understand the arrogant creeps who demanded this law be passed. Inhale the bipartisan stink of spineless Democrats and paranoid Republicans who passed this law.

The whole so-called Patriot Act is structured to conceal collaborators in the loss of our constitutional freedoms. We not haven’t the right to know who is complicit – there can be no whistleblowers. If your personal banker tells you the Feds have snooped through your bank account, he is breaking the law. If some cop who went to high school with you tells you over a beer the Feds want to know who plays baseball with your kids, he is breaking the law. Cripes, I imagine your dentist can be asked to put a gps tracker in your new crown – and he would be breaking the law if he refused.

Obama’s vision of constitutional freedoms are as distorted by fear and arrogance as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Tiny differences of degree and interpretation are meaningless compared to what we have lost.

Baptist Church leader arrested for soliciting sex with dogs

Jerald “Jerry” Hill, the President and CEO of the Windermere Baptist Conference Center, was arrested Tuesday after posting an ad on Craigslist looking to find animals to have sex with. Not, like, a human who was an animal in bed or something but actual animals like a dog and one other kind of animal which, disturbingly, police have declined to identify. He is facing charges of “attempted unlawful sex with an animal and attempted animal abuse.”

Hill was arrested after the Boone County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department Cyber Crimes Task Force got a tip about someone on Craigslist looking for animals to have sex with. Investigators posed as someone willing to pimp out their beloved pet and took Hill into custody when he went to meet them.

The Windermere Baptist Conference Center is now looking for Hill’s replacement, as they do not intend to keep Hill on after this.

I’ll bet the dude can find a bible verse that says it’s righteous behavior.

Yes, that’s a little smarmy; but, what else can you say? This ain’t any preacher fresh out of school just discovering his particular twist. He’s been around for a spell.

Long enough for someone close by to notice his furry fixation. Hypocrisy can only hide so much :)

Thanks, Mike

CIA admits hacking Senate computers – a criminal violation of Constitution

An internal CIA investigation confirmed allegations that agency personnel improperly intruded into a protected database used by Senate Intelligence Committee staff to compile a scathing report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program, prompting bipartisan outrage and at least two calls for spy chief John Brennan to resign…

The rare display of bipartisan fury followed a three-hour private briefing by Inspector General David Buckley. His investigation revealed that five CIA employees, two lawyers and three information technology specialists improperly accessed or “caused access” to a database that only committee staff were permitted to use…

In other conclusions, Buckley found that CIA security officers conducted keyword searches of the emails of staffers of the committee’s Democratic majority _ and reviewed some of them _ and that the three CIA information technology specialists showed “a lack of candor” in interviews with Buckley’s office.

The inspector general’s summary did not say who may have ordered the intrusion or when senior CIA officials learned of it.

He didn’t confirm or deny White House knowledge of the crime.

Following the briefing, some senators struggled to maintain their composure over what they saw as a violation of the constitutional separation of powers between an executive branch agency and its congressional overseers…

The findings confirmed charges by the committee chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that the CIA intruded into the database that by agreement was to be used by her staffers compiling the report on the harsh interrogation methods used by the agency on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons under the George W. Bush administration.

The findings also contradicted Brennan’s denials of Feinstein’s allegations, prompting two panel members, Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., to demand that the spy chief resign

Otherwise – Just fire the bum!!

RTFA for beaucoup details. Lots of anger expressed by members of Congress who normally haven’t the backbone to challenge any example of intelligence community corruption. It’s amazing how upset government creeps can become when they’re treated like the rest of us ordinary citizens.

Like many of his peers, like the present and former residents of the White House, Brennan lied to Congress and to the American people. Will Congress or Obama have the integrity to demand criminal charges be forthcoming from the DOJ and Attorney-General Holder? Hmmm. How likely does that seem to you?

Microsoft confronts the DOJ and Congress over global privacy


Some folks think this is up-to-date

American law enforcement officials cannot get evidence located in other countries without the help of foreign governments. But can an American company be ordered by a court to turn over information stored on computer servers located in another country? The Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York will consider that question this week in a narcotics case in which federal prosecutors want access to a Microsoft email account stored in Ireland.

The case raises difficult questions about the reach of domestic law and the Internet’s global nature. It also points to significant gaps in American laws, which do not address how data stored abroad should be treated. Congress passed the Stored Communications Act, the law at issue in this case, in 1986, when few people could have foreseen cloud computing or imagined that businesses would operate data centers around the world that store messages and documents of Americans and foreigners alike.

I certainly hope you don’t think the lazy bastards we elected would keep up-to-date with changing technology and legal responsibility. Some of these clowns still haven’t figured out civil rights or having a commitment to the whole electorate.

Microsoft is asking the court to quash a warrant issued by a federal magistrate judge in December, contending that it cannot be compelled to turn over information located in its Irish data center because American law does not apply there. It argues that to obtain information stored in Ireland, the Justice Department needs to go through the legal-assistance treaty between that country and the United States. Other companies, including Verizon, AT&T and Apple, and public-interest groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed briefs supporting Microsoft’s position.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is fighting Microsoft, argues that going through foreign governments would be far too cumbersome and would allow criminals to evade American law by storing information about illegal activities on foreign servers.

Not much more detail needed. The crux of the case is privacy protection which can affect all of us.

You can’t be a proper gun nut unless you protect stalkers – even gay stalkers!

The NRA has sent an email to congress, denouncing Senate Bill S.1290 proposed by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, because it could apply to same-sex couples – even unmarried couples.

…The bill would amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to revise the definition of “intimate partner” to include a “dating partner and any other person similarly situated to a spouse.” It would also revise the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to include the “use or attempted use of physical force or a deadly weapon by a current or former intimate partner.” The bill is intended to close loopholes in the current law that allows stalkers and domestic abusers “in a current or former dating relationship who never lived together or had a child together” to purchase guns.

The bill has been gaining support in the Senate, perhaps too much support, because yesterday the NRA has decided to weigh in. They’re opposed. No surprise there. It’s the “why” they are opposed that is unusual. They fear the new language might keep gay men who were once in a stormy relationship from buying guns…

The NRA argues banning a gay man from buying a gun because of a past assault conviction on his partner would be totally unreasonable. (I would think that viewpoint probably depends on whether you’re the partner being beaten or the partner doing the beating.) The NRA email characterized S.1290 as a “bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions.”

Don’t feel too special that the NRA has decided to take a stand for gays and guns. In the same email, the NRA argued that stalkers should not be included in new federal restrictions, because stalking crimes “do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior.”

This is another one of those moments when you have to wonder what planet the NRA lives on?

The reality is that it doesn’t matter whether you live in a state that thinks it’s in the 19th Century or the 20th Century – or, perish the thought, even the 21st Century – violence against former partners, violence from stalkers fixated on a former partner, heterosexual or otherwise, is common.

And violence in America is often characterized by gun violence. Trying to kill your former spouse or partner with a gun is as American as you can get. Hardly makes a headline unless you take out a whole office full of people in the process.