Apparently a SWAT team raided the home of an innocent guy, accusing him of downloading child porn:
Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of “pedophile!” and “pornographer!” stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn’t need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.
That new wireless router. He’d gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.
“We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night,” the man’s lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, “Doldrum.”
“No, I didn’t,” he insisted. “Somebody else could have but I didn’t do anything like that.”
“You’re a creep … just admit it,” they said.
It seems that law enforcement folks now admit that they screwed up, but the “lesson” they’re getting out of it seems completely backwards. They’re saying the lesson is that you should protect your WiFi router. That may be a good idea for some people, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons for offering an open WiFi connection. Furthermore, as noted, some people don’t know how to set up their WiFi security.
But the bigger questions are:
- Why is law enforcement sending in a SWAT team for child porn downloads? You could potentially see it in cases of production, but with downloads, can’t they just do a standard arrest?
- Why didn’t they do a simple check beforehand to see if the router was open before bursting into the home with assault weapons and unproven assertions?
- How come none of the “cautionary lessons” involve law enforcement folks realizing that they overreacted?
What’s really disturbing is that the thrust of the original article is all about how this is a cautionary tale for wireless router owners, rather than a cautionary tale about overaggressive law enforcement.
A leading Rhode Island lawmaker who criticized the Legislature by invoking images of pot-smoking immigrants is facing drug charges in Connecticut.
Police in East Haven, Conn., say East Greenwich Republican Robert Watson, the House Minority Leader, was stopped at a police checkpoint Friday and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence.
According to a police report, authorities found a bag of suspected marijuana and a pipe in Watson’s pocket. Watson was released on $500 bond.
Watson issued a statement Monday acknowledging that police discovered “trace evidence” of marijuana but said he wasn’t driving under the influence.
Watson drew fire in February when he said lawmakers had their priorities right “if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana.”
n other words, if you’re pulled over by the Michigan State Police for anything — an improper turn, a partially obscured license plate, or an officer’s whim — they can search your cell phone using a device called theCelleBrite UFED. That means text messages, photos, videos, contacts, who you’ve called, what apps you’ve downloaded, GPS data that reveals where you’ve been, even deleted data.
Fortunately, the American Civil Liberties Union was able to invoke the Freedom of Information Act to learn all about the details of the program. Oh, wait:
ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680.
(Newsroom America) — A Transportation Security Administration screening agent who worked at the Philadelphia International Airport has been arrested and charged with distributing more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook.
Authorities arrested Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, 46, of Philadelphia, a screener who routinely searched airline passengers. Federal officials allege he uploaded pornographic images of young girls to several Facebook accounts and that he posed in one such image wearing his blue TSA uniform.
Neither the indictment nor the news release from the TSA mentioned that Gordon’s job was to search airline passengers, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The charges against Gordon come as the TSA is already under fire for its pat down procedures. Just last week a YouTube video showed a female TSA agent’s invasive pat down of a 6-year-old girl at an airport in New Orleans. Her parents said she was “groped,” but TSA officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, have defended the procedure.
The indictment against Gordon alleges he used as many as six separate Facebook accounts and multiple names “to upload and store images of sexual exploitation of minor children.”
Federal officials acted on a tip by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office. Federal agents began investigating Gordon March 10, the Inquirer said.
The paper also said Gordon’s job was on the line last year as well for unrelated reasons, an online newsletter of the American Federation of Government Employees said.
Even with ACTA supposedly in a “final” state, it appears that the negotiators just can’t resist keeping up their level of stifling secrecy. Glyn Moody points us to the news that the EU’s main backer of ACTA, Commissioner Karel De Gucht, has refused to turn over some “preparatory documents” concerning ACTA that were requested by European Parliament Member Francoise Castex. As the article notes, the European Commission is required to turn over such documents, as per the Vienna Convention, but De Gucht apparently has a different interpretation of all of that, saying that as long as he answers questions by MEPs, he has no obligation to turn over the documents.
It’s really quite stunning how tone deaf ACTA supporters are on these issues. People have been asking for a modicum of transparency on this highly questionable agreement, and the response has been to be even more secretive. Of course, all this does is highlight that they know they’re pushing an industry agenda, and they’re ashamed of it. If you actually were putting together a proposal that benefited everyday citizens, they wouldn’t be hiding all the details.
But it’s long been clear that this is Obama’s understanding of "a nation of laws": the most powerful political and financial elites who commit the most egregious crimes are to be shielded from the consequences of their lawbreaking — see his vote in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, his protection of Bush war criminals, and the way in which Wall Street executives were permitted to plunder with impunity — while the most powerless figures (such as a 23-year-old Army Private and a slew of other low-level whistleblowers) who expose the corruption and criminality of those elites are to be mercilessly punished. And, of course, our nation’s lowest persona non grata group — accused Muslim Terrorists — are simply to be encaged for life without any charges. Merciless, due-process-free punishment is for the powerless; full-scale immunity is for the powerful. "Nation of laws" indeed.
A cache of classified military documents obtained by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks presents new details of their whereabouts on Sept. 11, 2001, and their movements afterward. The documents also offer some tantalizing glimpses into the whereabouts and operations of Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The documents, provided to European and U.S. news outlets, including The Washington Post, are intelligence assessments of nearly every one of the 779 individuals who have been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002. In them, analysts have created detailed portraits of detainees based on raw intelligence, including material gleaned from interrogations.
Detainees are assessed “high,” “medium” or “low” in terms of their intelligence value, the threat they pose while in detention and the continued threat they might pose to the United States if released.
The documents tend to take a bleak view of the detainees, even those who have been ordered released by the federal courts because of a lack of evidence to justify their continued detention. And the assessments are often based, in part, on reporting by informants at the military detention center, sources that some judges have found wanting.