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Comment: Re:I lost the password (Score 1) 560

While it’s true that they will open a physical safe themselves if you refuse, you can indeed be held in contempt if you have the ability to open a safe and refuse to do so when presented with a valid warrant. The “physical safe” analogy is one of the things that’s (unfortunately) applied as an existing-law analogy to crypto.

That's actually only true if they already know for certain it's your safe and you have access to it. Otherwise, admitting that you know how to open the safe (by opening it or providing the combination) is admitting that the contents of it are in fact yours. That's self-incrimination and you can't be forced to do it, though of course with a valid warrant they can still try to break into the safe. They just can't make you admit it's yours, and that's what you're doing if you open it.

In this case, however, the idiot went and bragged to the police that yeah, that stuff is all mine! To extend the safe analogy, that's like saying to the police "Yeah, I know the combination, but I'm not giving it to you!" Now you wouldn't be telling them anything they don't know, so opening the safe is no longer self-incriminating. If he'd kept his mouth shut (first rule of being questioned by the police, keep your fucking mouth shut, they mean it when they say anything you say will be used against you), this case would likely have been decided differently.

Comment: Filming the police is not bad (Score 5, Interesting) 216

While switching trains, I once saw the police arresting someone at the train stop. They were becoming very aggressive and seemed about to become violent with the man they were arresting, despite the fact that he was not threatening them in any way.

I took out my cell phone and began filming. Very shortly after, one of the officers pointed at me and said something (not audible, he was too far away), but all of a sudden, their behavior became very professional, and the arrest proceeded without incident.

If I were in the same situation, I hope someone would do the same. There is no reason police should not be accountable for their behavior while performing their duties. After all, isn't it they who so often say "If there's nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear"? What would be wrong with a video of police officers doing their job properly? If anything, that would protect them if they were later accused of doing something wrong. The only ones with anything to fear from a video recording are those who intend on doing something wrong, and that's the exact time we need them being taped.

Comment: Re:secure by default (Score 4, Insightful) 248

by laughingcoyote (#47176123) Attached to: In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

I certainly don't consider myself a "scandal addict", and most of the manufactured "scandals" (Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Solyndra, IRS/Tea Party, etc., etc.), are indeed just throwing something at the wall and hoping it sticks.

This is not the same. This is collection of massive amounts of data on citizens who are under no suspicion of wrongdoing, let alone enough to get a warrant. That needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed in a similar way as wiretapping, where a warrant based upon individualized evidence of wrongdoing is required and the data collection is done so as to minimize the collection of data not related to the purpose of the warrant.

So, you're right about the majority of the "scandals". But not this one. This one is a serious problem. It's not the fault of any given administration, but it needs to stop with this one. I wish people would drop the idiotic faux-scandals and concentrate on this.

Comment: Re:I knew it would be 5-4 (Score 1) 643

by laughingcoyote (#43911221) Attached to: SCOTUS Says DNA Collection Permissible After Arrest

Much of the Constitution was deliberately written in broad terms, for reasons of futureproofing.

Certainly, not even the smartest attendee of the Constitutional Convention could have ever foreseen DNA tests or GPS tracking or electronic snooping. It wasn't even something they could have conceivably imagined at the time. But the Fourth Amendment is clear on the matter nonetheless:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...

(emphasis added)

DNA is, perhaps, one of the most comprehensive pieces of information contained in one's body, one's "person". It can reveal everything from family lineage (ancestry, siblings, and descendants), to congenital diseases or conditions, to the color of one's eyes. It is not equivalent to a fingerprint, which in itself tells you next to nothing about the owner of that finger other than as an identification. The Fourth Amendment is clearly intended to restrict violations of one's person in that way without justifiable cause, even if the particular method of violation is one the Founders would never have conceived of.

Comment: Re:Texas leads the way, again (Score 2, Insightful) 262

by laughingcoyote (#43848307) Attached to: Texas Poised To Pass Unprecedented Email Privacy Bill

Why are you asking "statute in Texas law"? I thought I was pretty clear it was a Supreme Court ruling. (I did use an unqualified acronym for it, SCOTUS, so if that's the source of the confusion I apologize.)

Anyway, Dover v. Kitsmiller is one of the well-known and recent ones, but never reached the SCOTUS. One that did, though, is Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education. That explicitly barred even the mention of creationism as an "alternative" to evolution, let alone its explicit teaching. That went all the way to the SCOTUS after the school board was ruled against, and the SCOTUS declined to consider a reversal, so that decision became final, and with the Supreme Court refusal to reverse, became caselaw for the entire land.

Since Supreme Court decisions are sovereign over Texas law, that makes it illegal in Texas or anywhere else in the US. That stems, of course, ultimately, from the First Amendment (government may not establish/endorse religion), and the Fourteenth (rights amendments applied to state/local law as well as federal). Those are ultimately the laws at play here. I'm not sure why you think Texas law would have anything to do with it.

I'm also unsure why you think "(my) personal definitions" have force under Texas law, or where you think I claimed that. But the Supreme Court of the United States, and the US Constitution, most certainly do have legal and binding force in Texas.

Comment: Re:Texas leads the way, again (Score 2, Insightful) 262

by laughingcoyote (#43848049) Attached to: Texas Poised To Pass Unprecedented Email Privacy Bill

Even if evolution is "part" of the state standard, teaching of creationism in a science class is forbidden by both law and definition. It was ruled by the SCOTUS, long ago, to be a religious doctrine and not a scientific theory, and it is exactly that, as it is either unfalsifiable (old-earth) or already falsified (young-earth). Any "science" class teaching creationism, is not one.

If you really need a citation for the SCOTUS ruling, I'll dig one up. But yes, I absolutely have "something to stand on" here.

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell