...because no case has ever been so righteously pursued, with such a vigorous degree of righteous indignation, that an innocent person was ever thrown in prison, yeah?
This blasé attitude about sweeping-up data of innocent people is precisely how you arrive at it eventually being abused.
The eroding of rights isn't a flagrantly giant leap but tiny concessions that occur until it's too late to reverse what has essentially become the modus operandi.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19186759
Police collects data from security cameras, road cameras, credit card purchases, witnesses, and now from mobile service providers.
I agree that privacy erosion is real, but you argument was not convincing.
Agreed. Also, all methods of gathering evidence from a group of innocent people are not legal. So let's take your examples one at a time:
> Police collects data from security cameras,
If a proprietor wishes to give the police footage. If not, they need a warrant in the U.S. to search them. If the police asked for a general warrant to go collect footage from everyone's security cameras in the same area it would probably have been denied, no?
> road cameras,
> credit card purchases,
Citation needed for local law enforcement getting a general warrant to run a credit card purchase history search "so expansive in time and geography that it had the potential to gather data on tens of thousands of Minnesotans."
Again, citation needed where police can force tens of thousands of witnesses to answer questions and/or submit relevant data to the police.
> and now from mobile service providers.
> I agree that privacy erosion is real, but you argument was not convincing.
I agree it's not very persuasive, but neither is your counterargument. I'd like to have a deeper discussion about what triggers a violation of constitutional rights, and how to design technology that doesn't threaten to erode those protections.
But then if this least generous interpretation you chose represented my train of thought, one would have expected me to clearly argue that both "road cameras" and "mobile service providers" are illegal. Instead I replied with, "Agreed." Did you read down to those parts? If so I'm curious what you thought that could mean in a worldview where police cannot legally investigate crimes.
That makes a lot of sense now that I think about it. If the initial thesis sounds fatuous, inconsistencies that come later wouldn't necessarily stand out.
Traditional methods are just fine. Some technological methods are fine, others are not.
> English needs parenthetical binding.
No I think it is. (Enough to take) care when communicating and rely on our falcuties to rveceor qikucly form flaiures wehn tehy hppean().
No, probably not.
The last aerial photo, with a gas station, the police would certainly be able to get warrants for security cameras for the whole area. Warrants require only reasonable belief that they would lead to evidence of a crime. All cameras pointed at the location that a crime was committed would be reasonably likely to contain footage of the robber.
The earlier photos, with 2-5 blocks of coverage, it's less clear, but still likely that the police would be able to get a warrant. The perps driving the get-away car is evidence and cops only need to show that there is a reason to believe that the camera footage shows a glimpse of the get-away car to get the footage.
If you start by making random accusations against innocent persons in an attempt to generate additional leads, you're not investigating, you're just playing "Clue".
Police resort to unlawful tactics when they have no leads to investigate and political/administrative pressure to close cases. Or when they are rewarded for making large seizures and well-publicized arrests, and are never punished for the sloppy work that led up to them.
The US system is supposed to encourage following the evidence to the suspect, rather than picking a likely suspect and then trying to connect that person to the evidence. "Parallel construction" is a direct attack on the presumption of innocence and personal privacy. It is part of a policing culture that encourages individual police to be lazy and slipshod in their investigations--and that's how you get 2 corpses and injured police at 7815 Harding Street, with some heroin dealers doing an orderly cleanup and evacuation at 7815 Hardy Street, even as the PR flack from the police union and the police chief are busy blaming the victims and doubling down on the botched raid. That's how flashbangs land in a baby's crib. That's how the family dog gets shot, no matter what.
When we do not make police work difficult enough that some investigations fail, one does not need to be diligent, attentive, and dedicated to pursue a career with the police. A person who is violent and sloppy can still get their promotions and pensions. Computer says arrest this guy, so cop goes out to pick him up. The person who is not smarter than the computer cannot recognize the limitations of the system. It becomes a magic box that spits out the right answers--most of the time--without having to do any of the homework.
Your potential criminal pool is potentially anyone who passed within a few hundred meters within a period of hours. Potentially hundreds of people in some cases.
Absent real evidence of note the black man with a record who walked 200 feet away 4 hours before the crime looks like winner.
This makes me want to purchase a librem with a switch to turn off the baseband.
There is nothing wrong with a police being able to collect information of people who were in the scene.
The real issue is what happens to data and how you get it.
1. Police should need to use subpoena to get the data.
2. Police should not be allowed to use the data for any other thing than solving that particular crime.
These kinds of issues should be separated from mass surveillance. The ability to just go there and explore data of citizens or persons who they are interested in but don't suspect from crimes. That's what intelligence agencies do.
Just the opposite. The investigation starts with the crime, not the suspect. Interview the victim and potential witnesses (none of which are required to talk to you), inspect the scene of the crime, collect physical evidence, etc.
You don't have any suspects until the evidence points to someone, and you only get to the point of credit card purchases and location data once you have a specific suspect. Then you should only get that person's credit card purchases or location data, not everybody else's.
None of what you mentioned should have been granted to the police but because of similar apathetic non argument whataboutism tactics like yours it was.
The only one I see there that even holds water as an acceptable invasion of privacy is witnesses but that's only because people still have a right to tell the police to get lost provided they're not a damn fool .
The rest are just as bad if not worse invasions of privacy. None of which have valid arguments for existing themselves. Their current use doesn't really give much more of an argument for allowing this new encroachment. If anything they give a reason to push back even more.
This dismissive attitude towards the slow but steady incremental erosion of privacy and authoritarian creep terrifies me. It's like people have completely forgotten about not-so-distant history, and are not just tolerating, but welcoming the mechanisms of oppression rolling out once again. In the name of catching a dozen or so criminals - just like every other time in the recorded history of oppressive regimes.
This has all happened before. For centuries. The same dismissive arguments have been used to defend the Gestapo and KGB. If there's a crime, why wouldn't you interrogate the family of everyone who was reported to be near the scene? Why wouldn't you force a confession and tick off the case if none of the leads are working out?
It takes only a few minutes of empirical thought to realize that not every crime must be solved, especially when that doctrine creates an incentive to 'solve' crimes with easy targets rather than the real perpetrator. You hit diminishing returns really hard really fast by investing extra resources into solving crimes with statistically negligible incidence rates. The only entity that stands to benefit is the proto authoritarian regime and its ability to target arbitrary population segments and continue expanding.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin knew better.
Not even questioning the witnesses, or stopping people in the area?
Please describe the alternative method for police investigation? Someone is killed in the street, now what?
The rest is assuredly not opt in.
This is the very basic argument: if I don't opt in, you do not have a right to my private affairs, details, papers, movements or discussions with others.
If you want to argue we live in an imperfect world full of grey areas and need to sometimes give up some general privacy for the greater good and safety of the people then do so, and I will likely agree with you on a lot of the justifications to concede that privacy.
Just don't for a second think that those individual concessions instantly justify all others. That like your original position is just far too many logical fallacies to even begin to unpack.
"Hmm, this black person was near..."
(others, too numerous to mention)
We can build algorithms to avoid racial bias, with awareness and effort. How confident are you we can train cops to do the same?
How confident are you that we can build algorithms to do that? You can't just flatten the probability distribution based on race when many of the legitimate factors are correlated with it, any more than you could do so for gender or age or nationality. Unless you want an absurd false positive rate against octogenarian women from Japan.
But given that some racial (or gender or age) disparity is expected, how do you know if the amount of disparity in the algorithm's results is legitimate? It could be too high, or too low, and knowing which one would imply possession of an algorithm that gives the "true" amount, which was the original problem to begin with.
The answer is to require high standards of proof and conclusive evidence, so that it's impossible to choose a random innocent black man off the street and convict him of anything just because you're a racist or some algorithm decided he fit an aggregate profile.
But that's the opposite of the dragnet approach. You need evidence on a specific person, not statistical data from thousands that doesn't give you a better than 5% probability that it was any given one of them. And suppose the actual perpetrator wasn't carrying a phone at the time of the crime, so now you've got a list of "possible suspects" 100% of which are innocent.
Which is exactly the problem. The system spits out a list of 25 names, 20 of them have an alibi and only one of the remaining five had the capacity to commit the crime. So you've got your man, all you have to do is dig up some evidence. Unless the true perpetrator wasn't on the original list to begin with, or fabricated an alibi, in which case you're attempting to convict an innocent person. Which huge databases are ideal for doing because it's very easy to use selection bias to raise the apparent probability of random events.
It's like the reverse pyramid scheme. You choose a stock and send brochures to a million people telling half it will go up and half it will go down. Then it goes up or down and next week you send brochures to the half million people you sent the accurate prediction to last week, telling half of them that a different stock will go up and the other half that it will go down. By the end of ten weeks you have about a thousand people who think you can predict the market when all you've really done is to start with a large pool.
"99.9% accurate" in a city of two million means that 99.95% of the matches are false positives.
You can't start with a list of names and then look for evidence it was them. You have to start with the evidence and see who it points to.
Can we? Those algorithms are built/trained by humans with biases - how can you be sure we can build/train AI to avoid those same biases?
... but it's not categorically, definitely better, just more likely to be so.
In fact the FBI has often hid the scope of Stingray operations from judges for precisely this reason.
Only one person was affected by it. The initial request was for anonymized data and the subsequent request for actual data was made for only one specific person.
It is already known that agent provocateurs are used to incite peaceful mobs. It would be no great difficulty to use a agent provocateur to give a probable cause to pull the lever that dumps the complete list of people in that mob with little effort.
Technology affords law enforcement great powers. But simply handing these powers over without judicial oversight and control can turn very dangerous.
You don't need to lecture me. I'm with you. In fact, I participated in the Restore the 4th protests just after the Snowden leaks.
What I'm saying is let's not cry wolf here. Yes surveillance technology can be used to set up a system of oppression. So can many other state apparatuses. If the state had such desire it could skip the middle man of surveillance and skip straight to martial law. That is why we have a system of courts and warrants and checks and balances etc.
A warrant for data highly limited in terms of scope in time and place isn't a threat to civil liberties. A blank check for a Nation State Actor to get any data it wants, anytime, without giving any cause is a threat to civil liberties. We make ourselves look bad when we confuse the two.
The problem is that those are worth nothing if judges and courts do not understand (or don't want to) the full consequences of carelessly signing those warrants.
In Germany we have some local courts which are "famous" for being very near to the police and will often rule against your personal freedom or accept half-cooked "evidence" from copyright holders (rather their shady lawyers) for purposes of spamigation and alike.
You can't trust in the court system to rule in favor of freedom here.
The crime itself is a violation of civil liberties.
I'm not in any way suspicious, just because I have been around the area where a crime has happened. As we know those blocks can be quite large so you will have lots of "suspects" whose only connection to the crime is being around a crime scene.
Then you question all of them and hope that something sticks with one of them. That is unprofessional and will lead to lots of problems once your neighbours get to know that you are suspicious of $crime because you were near $location.
Yes, wrongful arrest and conviction happen all the times. And I definitely don't want it to happen to me because my phone was near a crime scene.
However, I don't believe that the risk of wrongful accusation is a good argument against surveillance.
That's because while surveillance can make you a suspect, it can just as easily clear you. Imagine that there are two suspects for a crime, you and someone else. Turns out they detected the other guy cell phone close to the crime scene, arrested him, and found him guilty. Surveillance saved you from a wrongful accusation, even if you aren't aware of it.
There is a bias here, a bit like with vaccines. A vaccine is much more likely to save you from a deadly infection than to kill you because of some nasty side effect. But you only see the side effects, you can't see the sickness that didn't happen.
Note that I am not saying mass surveillance is a good thing (vaccines certainly are). Just that the "wrongful accusation" argument is more in favor of mass surveillance than going against it.
Do you mean a miss?
Misses are unavoidable. If the perpetrator didn't have their phone on them, this is not going to help a bit. However invasive your investigative powers are, there will always remain a chance of misses. The question is how much privacy and freedom of innocents you want to sacrifice for a small further decrease of miss chance.
That'll be great news for the suspect in question if it's the black guy the cops picked up using "traditional" policing methods because he looks like he was in the wrong neighborhood.
Oh and then there's the peer-pressure gaslighting of anyone pushing back on the "nothing to hide" mantra or pantopticon surveillance state. Ask them to live in glass houses or give over their banking details, suddenly they have less "nothing to hide."
Lock up anything you value because no one else will. Also a good book: Three Felonies a Day
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, mass surveillance is allowed to exist because of the application of force (torture and murder). It's a dystopia founded in violence and oppression. We like to think things are like the book, because it paints us as victims.
However, the truth is that, at best, we're complicit. This reality is explored in the far more prescient Brave New World.
This surveillance is allowed not because people are afraid to protest, but because they don't care (or rather, they care more about other [meaningless] things).
People get the basics that there are breakdowns in the system of safeguards and a non-zero chance that they'll be the victim of a crime or injustice facilitated by ubiquitous observation. But relative to the benefits, the odds they'll be the one locked in the dungeon suffering are so low that they'll readily shoulder that risk for the observed, immediate, and obvious benefits.
The People aren't getting honest and consistent news about such things. The Snowden revelations were met with what relatively amounted to crickets.
Should people be more aware? Yes. Absolutely. However, the mainstream media driven system is designed to make that close to impossible for most people. Editorial: I don't think that's an accident.
1. Histrionic comparison to a dystopian novel.
2. Calling people who disagree with you "naive fools".
3. Evoking this category of "nothing to hide" strawmen.
This information can only be attained by a warrant, and doesn't change the fact that you are tried before a judge, by a jury of your peers. Furthermore, Police are funded by local governments with locally elected officials, so they are eventually bound by the public. If you are to any degree right, you haven't explained how this data could be used to undermine, circumvent, or influence these factors and bring about a 'surveillance state'. At this point you're just fear mongering.
Sure. But getting tried is extremely expensive, in money and time. And it tends to fuck up your life in numerous ways.
Me, I just don't carry a cellphone that's always turned on.
The procedure creates a means that can be exploited for fishing expeditions. The details of exploitability have been well enumerated in previously given literary examples.
Every infrastructural/institutional mechanism we implement or allow to be implemented is an undeniable weapon.
Just as some people may be nervous when others do something perfectly legal (walking around with a firearm), others get understandably nervous when others clamor in support of instituting new mechanisms to allow our civil institutions to circumvent due process.
"Someone was here at a time" is not a justification in and of itself for the casual dismissal of what normatively should be a right: the right to be free of being surveilled.
Does the jurisprudence provide for such a protection? No.
Would it have an Earth shattering impact on the business world if such a legislation was passed?
Should we pass it?
in my opinion, yes, absolutely.
We've spent decades experimenting and finding out what happens when no one takes a firm stance against these seemingly innocuous forms of data gathering. People build systems with little pieces of innocuous information which in isolation are harmless, but in aggregate allow a terrifying capability to predict and otherwise manipulate or outright harm an individual.
Data aggregation protection must happen. We cannot allow the weaponization of data, even sanctioned, against our descendants, or we are as culpable in the erosion of liberty for them as those who came before us.
No more. Enough is enough.
While you may consider the literary sources he pulled from to be "BS", we've had more than enough precedent implemented in the last 30 years that these literary "cautionary" tales are instead of being used as a warning to not encroach on civil rights, are instead being viewed as instruction manuals for how to do so.
I.e. Semantic/linguistic engineering, appeals to nationalism, declaration of 'war' against nebulous but never seeming to disappear enemies, silencing or suppression of journalism/access to information, and engineering of artificial socioeconomic classes.
If you haven't read the books, and are just tired of seeing people talk about them, then I recommend you read them and take them to heart.
If you have read them, and yet still consider them irrelevant, then I can only question your motives/ position and whether it is fundamentally dependent on slowly eroding others right to be free of surveillance, because in no way whatsoever does the implementation details of the government in the United States proof its' citizens against these forces which are very actively employed by parties foreign and domestic.
I don't like to assume malice, but I find it absolutely mind boggling that anyone paying enough attention could not recognize this in good faith. It's just too painfully obvious.
So, if you truly aren't gaslighting, please enlighten me as to how you're trying to do anything but undermine actually valid concerns through rhetorically underhanded means? Because I'm honestly not seeing it.
Obviously I have no source for this except for personal experience but fwiw about %90 of the people I talk to here in the Bay Area believe the benefits of serveillance outweigh the harms and communicate such by saying they have "nothing to hide". I know my sample could be biased somehow but I've organized groups of activists before and done recruiting for such activities all around the bay (from ghetto to mansion). I have definitely noticed a trend. People here and on the internet seem more perceptive but that's definitely biased by my limited visited websites. I think it's impossible to have a constructive conversation about serveillance without talking about the "nothing to hide" people since, after all, in order to change policy you have to get people to agree on policy change.
...and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Do people honestly think this is disproportionate for investigating a home invasion? It seems like they have been quite privacy conscious in my opinion.
What would have been a better way to investigate this crime?
Do people honestly think this is disproportionate
for investigating a home invasion?
There's a lot of unclarity about which free and paid Google services and products are and aren't tracked. Who knows if their DNS resolver or their wifi-visibility-to-phone-location service or google-maps-used-without-logging-in would have come up in such a search warrant?
This. I think it's the only responsible thing for the police to do. Since they know the data probably exists they have to look, but does this data need to exist?
What we need is some limitations on what is collected and how long it is stored.
What I do have a problem with is what this line from the article suggests:
>An Associated Press investigation last year revealed that even with these settings disabled, Google continued to collect and store users' location data.
Maybe I’m missing something from the TOS, but it seems to me that the opt-out process doesn’t do what it describes; so what is it for?
The scale of the search is grossly disproportionate, to be sure. The population of the city in question was 60,797+ almost ten years ago.
So, we have a wide-net around the house, a period of about six hours requested, and if that main road is a major artery for driving, then we can safely assume (if it's day-time time-frame) that at least a small-to-medium-size portion of the population would've been simply driving by.
Now, for the St. Paul Food Market, they wanted 33 hours' worth of data and that is off of two main drags (it looks like). Given Google's overestimation of its ability to place a device at a location (noted in the article) and the potential of the predominance of the population to have driven in that area (let's say business day versus weekend); then, yeah, that does seem grossly disproportionate for investigating a robbery of a home invasion, and/or markets; especially considering that the markets weren't hit multiple times over that time-frame - they just wanted to see patterns of travel for everyone in the area over that period of time.
>What would have been a better way to investigate this crime?
The original police-work methods they were using, which they admitted in their court-filings as having actually led to the suspects? The confidential informant being chief amond those, yeah?
Touting this method as being a more useful mechanism for investigation, when that was countermanded by the evidence of the events - as told in the article, is disingenuous - at best.
 - https://img.apmcdn.org/170e8a92a0f2ddb41b4a415707a8e4db547af...
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eden_Prairie,_Minnesota
I'm honestly shocked that people think that the police are overstepping the mark by requesting anonymised phone data from around the scene of a home invasion murder.
Over the last few years I've watched the privacy debate on HN evolve from completely legitimate criticism of mass surveillance programs with insufficient transparency and oversight, to criticising a detective getting a warrant from a judge, that is specifically written to request anonymised data! While investigating a murder in his community!
> The original police-work methods they were using, which they admitted in their court-filings as having actually led to the suspects? The confidential informant being chief amond those, yeah?
The level of proof required in a criminal case is incredibly high, what's more police have a responsibility to find all assailants as well as test the veracity of witness reports and follow all reasonable lines of enquiry.
"Witness is lying", "Someone stole my car" etc etc. All these will be presented as defences. They don't even need to be probable, because the prosecution needs to clear a very high bar of proof. This is why police collect as much evidence as they can and don't just stop when they think they know who did it.
Ultimately the detective has a responsibility to the wife who's husband is dead - and to society in general - to make sure people face justice when they offend, and they can't half arse it.
(Disclosure: I am a detective)
Exactly. I'm extremely pro-privacy (and don't hold a particularly high opinion of police either), but I see nothing wrong here. They made sure to get warrants, made sure the data obtained via the first warrant was anonymized, and then obtained a much more narrowly scoped warrant once they identified a single phone in the dataset that closely corresponded to the facts of the murder. This should be a textbook example of properly protecting privacy while investigating and closing a crime case.
This reminds me of some of the handwringing over police submitting cold case DNA samples to ancestry companies and catching their perpetrator via a match with one of their relatives. That should be something to celebrate, not be concerned about.
I think you're trying to tout that the ends justify the means by obfuscating the facts. There was no murder. The man died of a heart attack. While the home invasion was undoubtly the cause, to arrive at the conclusion that it was murder is disingenuous. Manslaughter, possibly, if you could prove that the heart attack wouldn't have occurred without the home invasion but that's extremely difficult.
>Over the last few years I've watched the privacy debate on HN evolve from completely legitimate criticism of mass surveillance programs with insufficient transparency and oversight, to criticising a detective getting a warrant from a judge, that is specifically written to request anonymised data!
Because the latter can directly lead to former. What happens to this data, when it's "no longer needed" because the police believe that they have a suspect? Do you honestly believe that it's deleted? This is in the United States, after all.
>While investigating a murder in his community!
Just because you repeat a lie, it doesn't mean it is the truth.
>...what's more police have a responsibility to find all assailants as well as test the veracity of witness reports and follow all reasonable lines of enquiry.
>Ultimately the detective has a responsibility to the wife who's husband is dead - and to society in general - to make sure people face justice when they offend, and they can't half arse it.
Negating the continual lie you're propogating, this line of justice-boner thinking is exactly how the "Investigation Center" (for lack of a better moniker at the moment) in Chicago came to be. Whatever it takes to make sure that justice is served, yeah? After all, from the inference that I get from your statement, the police owe it to the community that justice is served and it's their responsibility to make sure that it happens, no matter what, yeah?
Furthermore, I don't think that you quite understand that anonymised data doesn't implicitly mean that an end-user is anonymous. The two principles are quite distinct and far-removed.
(Disclaimer: I lean heavily towards anti-authoritarianism.)
 - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-poli...
This isn’t the detective obfuscating facts, this is you being unfamiliar with felony murder doctrine.
Someone isn't aware of the merger doctrine, I see. To point: Where's the felony murder charge[0,1]?
 - https://www.newrichmond-news.com/news/crime-and-courts/45488...
 - https://kstp.com/news/lennie-dwayne-brooks-randy-lorenzo-bro...
The CA legislature recently attempted to narrow their felony murder law , but I don't think MN has done the same (and even the CA attempt may have failed due to a conflict with the CA Constitution ).
Could you explain on how the merger doctrine is involved?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Pretty sure "grab that pile of anonymous bits" isnt a proper description ;)
Because they lived through a time when blanket warrants were common and decided that they were not to be allowed in this new political framework?
err, "general warrant" is what I meant to say...
The old coots dont have to know how to define it. The modern police do and I want the phone records for those several thousand people doesnt cut it
The country with the greatest personal liberty, currently probably the US, is consistently a place that people would choose to live if they had a choice. This is a hint that moving away from personal liberty will end up with a society that is (1) free of crime and (2) not a desirable place to move to.
I'm not really going to expand the argument; I hope it is self-evident why having your activities reviewed by a person who might choose to arrest you is going to make your life worse. Statistically and at the macro scale that is a bigger threat to you than a home invasion (even if you think you aren't committing any crimes - I hope you've read all the laws that apply to you, don't ever get into a grey area and the police never make a mistake!).
You haven't been around the world very much, have you? I wouldn't say that many people in the Nordic countries, for example, would choose to move to the US. If they do, liberty is certainly not among the reasons why.
Even if you want to make the argument that the US is coming 2nd to the EU or 3rd to someone else; it doesn't really alter the core point here. People prefer liberty; they aren't going to move to, say, China despite the fact that China is developing a more sophisticated surveillance network that will be used to fight crime.
In the US you have the potential to make more money but you damn sure arent more free.
Even Mexico has more freedoms
weed is legal nationwide so is prostitution
is that enough ?
What's their prison population again?
More importantly, what does that change about the argument that arresting criminals is hardly the only thing to consider? Here's the same argument with enhanced contrast: If you threw Earth into the sun, all crimes would stop. If that's all we care about, everything else is just kicking the can down the road. But that would be a "crime" in and of itself, right? IMO the same could be said about mass surveillance, it's stripping humans of their rights to preserve their rights, burning the village to save it.
Generally I can't help but notice that it's really not the size of the crime that seems to matter, but whether it's aligned with centers of power or not. We're aiming at a world where a tyrant can't be assassinated, and the defenseless can be murdered without consequence, with a bit of playing for time and lip service to principles here and there.
> It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
Don’t you see how deeply ironic that statement is? There are countries where even trivial things like criticising the government are illegal, and yet somehow the United States manages to imprison more of its own population than anyone else.
Put another way, you are more likely to have your liberty completely revoked if you live in the United States than if you live anywhere else in the world, both by population and per capita.
Calling all these people simply "criminals" is a bit too straightforward term when the system has been set up to mainly jail black men for crimes that have no clear victim. That's a serious issue for a country that claims to be all about liberty.
Neither, that's simply besides the point.
Yes we need to change laws that disproportionately put non-violent offenders in jail, but that's beside the point when talking about mass surveillance. Both are bad, and both should have separate discussions.
The point made upstream was that optimizing for jailing criminals and ignoring all else is not a good metric, while also making the terrible mistake of calling the US pretty free, which was "refuted" by with, well, a single metric, incarceration rate -- I asked what that changes about the original point, and said incarceration rate is not the one and only metric by which to measure liberty. If you wish to contest either of those points, actually do it.
Ask ted nugent how a secret service visit feels ?
or go local... simply go outside and start criticizing the local govt agents ( police )
I promise you will get a couple doses of freedom and likely be given the chance to donate to their cause
Literally all of the EU have a massively lower rate and in none of the countries it is remotely illegal to criticize the government.
In Germany for example, you have multiple programs on TV dedicated to make political satire of current politics. On basically tax funded TV.
And you won't have your name published for criticizing the white house  like in the country some people apparently unironically think of as the place with the most personal freedom.
Yes, and? I didn't say that's the case in every country with a lower rate, I said there's countries that have a lower rate, but can hardly be called free. To judge something as complex as this by a single metric doesn't even pass the smell test.
As an hypothetical, suppose there is data on two people, who were in the same house at 11:00 pm. Then, at 12:00 pm, one of those people moved over to a neighboring house for 1:00 hour, after which they went back.
It looks a lot like two people who live together, where someone snuck out to spend the night with someone else. This is sensitive data, and not really anonymous.
In what conceivable way does that count as an "anonymised list?"
Suppose Google happens to sell geodata for everyone in your area of town to a third-party. Are you reassured if they tell you, "It's ok, we removed your phone numbers first."
They were following up on an apparently minor assault and pulled tbe Oyster card details for everyone on a specific train.
Considering this is a city with ubiquitous CCTV, smart phones are just another data source.
London is quickly becoming one of the most dystopian cities in the world. I recently read a story  how London police are now face-scanning pedestrians and you are not allowed to cover up you face. If you protest this scanning, you're issued a £90 fine. You're basically treated like cattle.
I'm exaggerating but that sort of paternalistic authoritarianism seems to be more and more common among the politicians who's job it is to do things such as check the power of law enforcement.
When I got off the tube at my stop way out in zone 4 they had a surveillance van covered in cameras and other gear with a big LED display on the side with the words “WE ARE WATCHING”. It could be a strange place.
A judge would sign off given just the list of coordinates, and legally, they'd be correct in doing so.
That is true, but these areas usually do not involve the private homes of people.
Police can ask to look around, but if the owner of the home declines, then police have to come back with a search warrant and afaik that warrant needs to be specific to that property.
This is the digital equivalent of that but applied on a whole geographical area, basically a "digital bulk search warrant".
Because I doubt these warrants will surface to the judge how many people will be affected, in a very invasive way.
When you factor in much of our modern lives are saved on servers of Google or Apple, then this is actually a much worse invasion of privacy than just having a couple of unis take a quick look through your home physically.
This is the equivalent of them sitting down in front of your phone/computer and being able to spend hours upon hours on browsing through your private data.
Regardless of the privacy issues, I don't anticipate this approach will stay useful in the long run.
So this approach will just ensnare random innocents, who happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Edit: Upon reflection, it's worse. Being aware of this approach, professional criminals could capture IMEIs in the target area for a while, write some SIMs, and carry some cloned phones during the operation. Then destroy all of those SIMs. So the police will target the people whose phones were cloned.
The guesses were that on average every german phone is identified multiple times per year during this procedure. According to the Berlin statistics from 2017 there were nearly 450 requests resulting is 60 Million returned phones. Just compare that to Berlin's population...
But it should also be noted that the US had its fair share of influence in eroding the actual application of privacy laws in Germany, by pressuring Germany to modify its G-10 law to appease the NSA .
People need to remember that the German BND (German intelligence agency), traces its roots straight back to the Gehlen Organization , which was established in alliance with the CIA after the end of WWII.
It's this old shared-history that allows the BND and NSA to work as closely as they do, to this day, bypassing privacy protections of the German Grundgesetz trough designed loopholes and secret agreements.
Case in point: According to German law it was completely legal for the NSA to listen in on Angela Merkel's phone calls .
 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/20140... (Page 3)
You seem to be implying that needing to go get blank checks with no meaningful questions asked makes something not a blank check. But that's exactly how checks work. They're pieces of paper after all. This situation is more like blank checks than if they had 24/7 access to the entire database.
"tapeworm word" in English.
Basically, they are compound words.
Vorlesung = lecture
- Lesung = a reading (like a book reading)/lesson
- add "Vor" ("before" as in "in front of [a group]") and it becomes Lecture
Verzeichnis = directory
- Zeichnis = symbol, signal, reference, sign
- add "Ver" (hard to really explain what it does) and it becomes directory, index, register, list
Agglutinative languages just jam everything after the word in small morphemes. (And some, just to be sure, has a few variants of each of those, to match vowel kinds and such.)
> Material from the U.S. Department of Justice was presented, said Bruley, including suggested language for use in these types of warrants.
I found this bit to be concerning as well. Create software that is more valuable with more warrants? "Train" officers on how to carefully write warrants to sneak them past overworked and less-technologically-sophisticated judges. Judicial deception as business development.
IANAL TINLA etc
Almost all of the time.
I read somewhere how the police once solved a crime by analysing a cigarette butt left behind in a stolen car, but within a few years it was quite common for them to find that a stolen car had its ashtray filled with cigarette butts apparently taken from a public ashtray: even joyriders were clever enough to thus outwit forensics. So it would seem weird to me if armed robbers or professional burglars were carrying switched on phones, and most crimes are committed by people who commit multiple crimes, as I understand it, people who have plenty of experience of how the police and the courts operate.
In online discussions there are always people who claim that criminals are idiots, but I don't think that's accurate. I reckon that when it comes to crime, most criminals are in effect a lot more intelligent than I am with my elite university degree and so on. But in general, the older I get, the more aware I become of my own limitations and the less likely I am to dismiss anyone else as an idiot.
Career criminals (mob, drug cartels, etc) yes.
But people who commit random premeditated crimes are more often than not (judging from trial) in "Fargo" movie territory, and most smaller criminals (e.g. gang members, methheads, etc) are dumber than cotton.
A lot of criminals (again, around here at least) are that stupid. The detectives have solved many cases just by searching for the suspects name on Facebook. Some examples were: seeing the stolen items right in their profile pic, drugs with the suspect standing there while holding a gun, a video of a friend recording someone breaking into a car, hell, they had to get CPS involved because a parent had a video of them hitting (it was hitting, not disciplining) their own child. All of that just on Facebook. The hardest they had to work to get those pictures was add them as a friend under a fake profile.
Now career criminals are a completely different beast. The law enforcement here (luckily) doesn't have many or any "advanced" criminals around here. There are definitely plenty of low hanging fruit here to keep law enforcement busy, and being in small town USA, once they know who you are, they KNOW who you are and who you hang out with.
The detectives always said that if most of these people left their phone at home, didn't take any pictures, and didn't tell their friends about what they did, that crime may not get much priority (or any) depending on what the crime was.
I don't have raw data to back that up, but it does happen here. I do agree with you about the career criminals though, but there are still A LOT of stupid people out there or maybe it's something in the water here.
> Matching entry / exit point – we know specifically they look for that, so don’t match the last use and first use of phones, overlap it.
All the time.
Google has the exact GPS coordinates sent by the device itself, WiFi networks around it, and other location data.
I bet in 7/10 cases they do.
If you e.g. see a car speed off after a robbery, you'd just need to rewind to see where the car came from and who (or from which houses) it picked up before the robbery. I guess they'd just need to add cameras in underpasses for total surveillance.
> With the new accelerometer and gyroscope, Apple Watch Series 4 can detect that you’ve fallen. When an incident like this occurs, a hard fall alert is delivered, and you can easily initiate a call to emergency services or dismiss the alert. If you’re unresponsive after 60 seconds, the emergency call will be placed automatically and a message with your location will be sent to your emergency contacts.
Conclusion: You are a suspect.
I can't stand our culture's constant fear of people.
Even with a lack of probable cause and massive data surveillance, good old fashion police work is what mattered.
"We have a reported flasher in this area, lets dump the cell phone record locations to find them. Oh looks, there are people with warrants that live in the area."
"Most human beings can't interpret large strings of numbers
and GPS coordinates without a map to illustrate them, and
judges are no exception," said Nathan Freed Wessler, an
attorney for the national American Civil Liberties Union.
If judges do not do that routinely then perhaps they should be required to do so
Hell, they don't even wait for a search warrant, they'll sell it to anyone who pays. 
You are carrying a tracking device that is constantly broadcasting your location to anyone that will listen, for Pete's sake. What, you expect that the recipients of your location will not turn it over, in response to a valid search warrant?
The Apps on ios might track you, and that's why I will not use Google maps again.
Your provider indeed tracks you, but at least for now, the accuracy is way below GPS. It is an issue and we should all be worried about slippery slope that it puts us all on.
It shouldn't send anything at all if Apple was privacy minded. A warrant for all anonymous data from that location combined with a provider data from that cell and the user isn't anonymous anymore.
You can turn location services off at the device-level, which stops everything from collecting your location data.
You can disallow apps, individually, from having access to your location data, as well; but that requires granual settings that most people aren't aware of and/or can't be arsed to go check every time that they install an app.
If I recall, correctly, apps using the Facebook SDK will still retrieve and push the last known location (yay for pointers...) but that's a problem with the app (and Facebook) moreso than it is with Apple.
So, this was just a long-winded and pointless way to say, you can prevent the data from being sent but, agreed, Apple could do slightly better in this area; however, I think it's a trade-off betwixt absolutely strict-privacy (e.g.: explicit deny until approved) and usability for them.
Edit: Or they were just hot on it after the training and then their interest petered out.
It might be wise to turn off location if you belong to any minority group.
So, is the court pretending that Google isn't conducting a search that involves every cell phone Google has ever known about, or are they saying that's "Google's database" particularly describes the place to be searched?
The combined data set/cluster of cell phones present at the time during crime scenes would be interesting for the police.
This technique makes sense for cops. For a lot of killings there's a lit of potential suspects so this weeds out all but a few.
Sure but a superior judge can overrule the previous judge.
This will be made even easier as more car manufacturers start installing GPS, wifi and 4G as standard features so they can double dip by collecting data on the people who pay them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a car.
We have a 2018 Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 (as well as previously a 2015 RAV4). Every time you start the Rogue, it flashes a message saying that "Vehicle Data Transmission is ON" (or "OFF"), and that certain features (live traffic updates, etc.) may not work if data transmission is off. It is clearly stated that data is transmitted to "Nissan and its business partners."
And these days the trend is for devices to have non-owner-controllable software updates, so there's no guarantee that purchasing a car without this antifeature will keep you safe.
With the Rogue you at least can (apparently) make a choice on keeping your privacy or selling out in exchange for a better navigation system (still kind of sad that this needs to be done after spending >$30k on it...), but with the Toyotas there's no choice... they have some "HD Radio" technology (not related to audio quality) which is used for traffic and weather data, and there's no way to find out or control what it sends.
"Significant Locations are encrypted and cannot be read by Apple."
But it's certanly used to track missing persons and kidnappings for a long while now.
iOS keeps as much location data local to the device as possible, and anonymizes the rest. In many cases there's nothing for them to give up.
Also, you could even use Google apps and just disable background location for those. Because unlike Android, iOS actually respects that choice.
"Location services may collect and share data with companies like Google and Apple, who in turn may share it with law enforcement agencies. "
“But while Apple's location data processing is anonymous, two hard-to-find settings— "Location History" and "Web and App Activity" — allow Google to keep track of everything their users search, and everywhere they go. It affects all Android users, and iPhone or iPad users with apps like Google Maps installed on their device.
The difference between cell tower triangulation, and being followed by a guy in a trenchcoat is not.
In fact, there's a number of categorical differences between the first two, and the third.
1. The first two are automated.
2. The first two are recorded in a computer-searchable database.
3. The first two, by nature, are capable of scaling to encompass every cell-phone owner.
You're not going to get the 'set a spook to follow people' approach to accomplish any one of these.
I don't it's a claim to be well-informed or even better informed as compared to others. I dare say everyone in the HN is reasonably well informed on a variety of subjects. I think it is a critique of the limitations in reasoning. A person can be well informed and still succumb to flawed reasoning. No matter how well informed one is one can still have blind spots. E.g. an allegiance to a particular device or OS in the hope of being safe from surveillance.
I also disable my wifi as well for the same reason - Google is able to track your location based on that, and they absolutely do so. I've seen it documented elsewhere. Only if you really need wifi enabled should you use it.
Also, call me crazy but I'm pretty sure there is a legal requirement that mandates that warrants be very specific about who/what they apply to and what they expect to find in order to be justifiable.
So then the question becomes...is Quartz wrong or is Google simply lying about what they have on me? And FWIW, I checked prior to the Quartz article being written so it would have been before any actions were taken by Google to modify its practices.