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Google: FBI's Plan To Expand Hacking Power a "Monumental" Constitutional Threat 51

schwit1 writes with news about Google's reservations to a Justice Department proposal on warrants for electronic data. "Any change in accessing computer data should go through Congress, the search giant said. The search giant submitted public comments earlier this week opposing a Justice Department proposal that would grant judges more leeway in how they can approve search warrants for electronic data. The push to change an arcane federal rule "raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide," wrote Richard Salgado, Google's director for law enforcement and information security. The provision, known as Rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, generally permits judges to grant search warrants only within the bounds of their judicial district. Last year, the Justice Department petitioned a judicial advisory committee to amend the rule to allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions or in cases where authorities are unsure where a computer is located. Google, in its comments, blasted the desired rule change as overly vague, saying the proposal could authorize remote searches on the data of millions of Americans simultaneously—particularly those who share a network or router—and cautioned it rested on shaky legal footing."
United Kingdom

MI5 Chief Seeks New Powers After Paris Magazine Attack 319

An anonymous reader writes with news that the head of MI5 is asking for more snooping powers following the attack at Charlie Hebdo. "The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has called for new powers to help fight Islamist extremism, warning of a dangerous imbalance between increasing numbers of terrorist plots against the UK and a drop in the capabilities of intelligence services to snoop on communications. Parker described the Paris attack as "a terrible reminder of the intentions of those who wish us harm" and said he had spoken to his French counterparts to offer help. Speaking to an invited audience at MI5 headquarters, he said the threat level to Britain had worsened and Islamist extremist groups in Syria and Iraq were directly trying to orchestrate attacks on the UK. An attack on the UK was "highly likely" and MI5 could not give a guarantee it would be able to stop it, he said."

Doppler Radar Used By Police To Determine Home Occupancy 139

schwit1 sends an article by Orin Kerr about a court case where a judge has had to weigh Fourth Amendment protections against law enforcement's ability to use a Doppler radar device to tell whether people are present within a home. Kerr writes: If the government has the burden of proving reasonable suspicion, should the court treat the absence of information in the record on this point as not changing its otherwise-reached view that there is reasonable suspicion (as it does), or should that be treated as a potentially serious deficiency in getting to reasonable suspicion that the government has to overcome? I’m not sure of the answer. We don’t normally encounter this question because we normally understand the uses and limits of investigatory tools. If the officer looked through the window and didn’t see any other people, for example, we could intuitively factor that into the reasonable suspicion inquiry without having to think about burdens of proof. I’m less sure what we’re supposed to do when the government use a suspicion-testing technological device with unknown capabilities." The judge in the court case wrote, "New technologies bring with them not only new opportunities for law enforcement to catch criminals but also new risks for abuse and new ways to invade constitutional rights (PDF). ... Unlawful searches can give rise not only to civil claims but may require the suppression of evidence in criminal proceedings. We have little doubt that the radar device deployed here will soon generate many questions for this court and others along both of these axes."

Canadian Police Recommend Ending Anonymity On the Internet 231

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that last week the Ontario Provincial Police, one of Canada's largest police forces, recommended legally ending anonymity on the Internet. Noting the need for drivers licenses to drive or marriage licenses to get married, the police suggested that an Internet license that would reveal all users is needed to address online crime. The Canadian Supreme Court strongly endorsed a right to anonymity earlier this year."

Britain's GCHQ Attacked Anonymous Supporters With DDoS 133

An anonymous reader writes "NBC News reports that, during a 2012 NSA conference called SIGDEV, GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group bragged about using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against members of Anonymous during an operation called Rolling Thunder in 2011 (there is evidence that says it was a SYN flood, so technically it was a simple DoS attack). Regular citizens would face 10 years in prison and enormous fines for committing a DoS / DDoS attack. The same applies if they encouraged or assisted in one. But if you work in the government, it seems like you're an exception to the rule."

Report Claims a Third of FOIA Requests To the NYPD Go Unanswered 65

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, who shared a Pulitzer last year as part of the Associated Press team covering the NYPD's surveillance activity, have summed it up perfectly: The NYPD doesn't answer document requests. "For the most part, they don't respond," Apuzzo told the Huffington Post. 'Even the NSA responds.' It's not just reporters who've noticed. New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio gave the police department a failing grade in an April report based on its dismal response rate to Freedom of Information requests. By de Blasio's analysis, nearly a third of requests submitted to NYPD go unanswered."

Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet 986

An anonymous reader was the first to write with news that Groklaw is shutting down: "There is now no shield from forced exposure. Nothing in that parenthetical thought list is terrorism-related, but no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything the least bit like that to anyone in an email, particularly from the U.S. out or to the U.S. in, but really anywhere. You don't expect a stranger to read your private communications to a friend. And once you know they can, what is there to say? Constricted and distracted. That's it exactly. That's how I feel. So. There we are. The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can't do Groklaw without your input. I was never exaggerating about that when we won awards. It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate." Why it's a big deal.

FISC Chief Judge: We Can't Effectively Oversee the NSA 185

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Washington Post: 'The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government's vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans. The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government's surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect Americans' privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government's assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.' President Obama said in June, 'We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They've got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and they're empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make sure that these programs aren't being abused.' Not so much, Mr. President."
United States

Rise of the Warrior Cop: How America's Police Forces Became Militarized 835

FuzzNugget writes "An awakening piece in the Wall Street Journal paints a grim picture of how America's police departments went from community officers walking the beat to full-on, militarized SWAT operations breaking down the doors of non-violent offenders. From the article: 'In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred [raids] a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005, there were approximately 50,000 raids.' It goes on to detail examples of aggressive, SWAT-style raids on non-violent offenders and how many have ended in unnecessary deaths. Last year, after a Utah man's home was raided for having 16 small marijuana plants, nearly 300 bullets in total were fired (most of them by the police) in the ensuing gunfight, the homeowner believing he was a victim of a home invasion by criminals. The U.S. military veteran later hanged himself in his jail cell while the prosecution sought the death sentence for the murder of one officer he believed to be an criminal assailant. In 2006, a man in Virginia was shot and killed after an undercover detective overheard the man discussing bets on college football games with buddies in a bar. The 38-year-old optometrist had no criminal record and no history of violence. The reports range from incredulous to outrageous; from the raid on the Gibson guitar factory for violation of conservational law, to the infiltration of a bar where underage youth were believed to be drinking, to the Tibetan monks who were apprehended by police in full SWAT gear for overstaying their visas on a peace mission. Then there's the one about the woman who was subject to a raid for failing to pay her student loan bills. It's a small wonder why few respect police anymore. SWAT-style raids aren't just for defense against similarly-armed criminals anymore; it's now a standard ops intimidation tactic. How much bloodshed will it take for America to realize such a disproportionate response is unwarranted and disastrous?"

Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio 487

An anonymous reader writes "There is media (but not public?) outcry over the Pasadena, CA police switch from analog radio that can be picked up by scanners to encrypted digital radio that cannot. 'On Friday, Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said the department was unsure whether it could accommodate the media with digital scanners. Riddle said the greatest concern remains officer safety. "People who do bank robberies use scanners, and Radio Shack sells these things cheap," Riddle said. "We just had a robbery today on Hill Avenue and Washington Boulevard," Riddle said. "The last thing I want to do is to have the helicopter or the officers set up on the street and the criminals have a scanner and know where our officers are." Just prior to the switch over, city staffers said they would look into granting access to police radio chatter, most likely by loaning media outlets a scanner capable of picking up the secure signal.'"

How Does the CIA Keep Its IT Staff Honest? 238

Tootech points out this story for anyone who's been curious about getting that top-secret clearance and the promise of a cushy pension from the CIA, as a reward for decades of blood-curdling, heart-pounding, knuckle-whitening IT service: "Be prepared to go through a lot of scrutiny if you want to work in the Central Intelligence Agency's IT department, says chief information officer Al Tarasiuk. And it doesn't stop after you get your top secret clearance. 'Once you're in, there are frequent reinvestigations, but it's just part of process here,' says Tarasiuk, who also gets polygraphed regularly, though he won't be more specific. For those senior IT managers who are the 'privileged users,' meaning system administrators, 'there is certainly more scrutiny on you,' Tarasiuk says. 'It's interesting: there's so much scrutiny that a normal person might not want to put up with that. But it's part of the mission.'"

Florida School District Begins Fingerprinting Students 294

First time accepted submitter Boogaroo writes "The Washington County school district in Florida has placed fingerprint scanners at the entrance to Chipley High School. They've also made a decision to run an alternate trial by placing the scanners on buses since most kids in the district ride buses every day. Since the beginning the fingerprinting, attendance is up, but not everyone is in agreement that the costs and risks are worth the attendance boost." Aren't there simpler and less-creepy ways to count kids, like looking at empty desks?

Hotels are tired of getting ripped off. I checked into a hotel and they had towels from my house. -- Mark Guido