The password was suppressed by the court, but they let the police use it anyway because one of the officers (with no formal computer qualifications) testified he could have broken 2048-bit AES encryption without the password. And worse case he said he would unsolder the chips off the circuit board and put them onto another board and that would fix it. The judge allowed the testimony and believed it.
Make sure you always use a password on your devices though. Biometrics are not protected by the 5th Amendment in the USA as the police can legally force your finger onto a touchpad or hold your face in front of a camera.
Android unfortunately doesn't have anything like this enabled by default, and what it allows you to enable is much more limited.
Lockdown mode has to be enabled manually (it's hidden deep in setting that most people won't notice), and all it does is add an additional soft button when you long-press the power button. That button will disable biometric unlocking and hide notifications, but only until the phone is next unlocked.
Unfortunately, in situations where you might want to use this, long-pressing the button and then having to tap the screen is cumbersome.
To be fair, the third button is the power button, which will turn off the device and is effectively another way of disabling the biometric unlocking. So if you randomly press the top of the screen, you have a 2/3 chance of locking your phone as desired... and a 1/3 chance of calling 911 instead (which may make the situation worse).
That's your particular phone. It does not apply to most Android phones.
The original statement was
> most modern operating systems have built in features to quickly disable them on demand
A custom-made gesture using a third-party launcher is not built-in (to say nothing of whether that's accessible or feasible for the vast majority of Android users).
Most users would be okay with having these features only available through the Apple App Store.
Instead, the result is none of those features on their phone.
I've experienced similar issues with judges. When evidence hinges on something very technical - they generally allow it and place the burden of arguing it on the defense. ...which often allows any other evidence gotten by that means. ...and even if/when it's struck out - the prosecutor uses some parallel construction argument to say they could have gotten the evidence through another means. ...and the judge usually accepts that too.
The prosecutor also then takes things like hearsay, circumstantial evidence, and literal misrepresentations to build a seemingly huge case against the defendant. It's a form of intimidation to accept a plea deal.
I've seen TONS of defendants admit to crimes they didn't commit in plea deals, just because it's such a huge and long uphill battle to fight every single bogus charge.
These aren't straight up innocent or perfect people. They're usually guilty of something minor - like small-time possession / solicitation / parole violation / DUI / etc... But what happens is that when you're guilty of anything, the judge treats you like you're guilty of EVERYTHING, and the prosecutor loads up the charges with anything they can think of to take advantage of that.
Most defense attorneys hate these cases because clients can't pay, so they encourage them to settle for a plea deal - even if it includes admitting to stuff they didn't do. ...and most defendants accept it so they can move on with their lives and avoid prison time.
So yeah, people with money hire $700/hr attorneys, and they absolutely make things go away. Even prosecutors drastically change demeanor when they see a defendant with a high-priced lawyer, because the prosecutor doesn't want to invest a lot of time on any specific case - and doesn't want his office or the police/investigators to be held up to scrutiny with various subpoenas - so charges drop off much more easily, and/or defendants get off with misdemeanor in a good plea deals.
The point of this story is to help shed some naiveté that you might have about the system ultimately being fair - even through the long and expensive appeals process. It isn't. ...and most defendants don't have the time or money to pursue appeals. And moreover, when tech is involved, it is markedly even less fair because the judge doesn't understand the tech, and so will believe whatever BS the prosecutor makes up.
For instance, the police committed about a dozen felonies in my case. In Illinois, in all counties except Cook County, the misconduct has to be reported to the police station where the officer works. THEY WILL JUST LAUGH AT YOU. They are not going to charge their own police officer with misconduct because a "criminal" reported it.
And if you are in jail and try to report anything you can only do it by postal mail. In which case all your letters just go into the circular filing cabinet under their desk.
How many hours of attorney-work should one expect to budget for?
I've tried talking to the ACLU and EFF in the past but received no replies.
I'm very sorry to hear how your life got turned upside down for a victimless felony. Makes me sick we cage people for some fabricated rule invented by some out of touch legislators.
The primary reasons given by detention facilities for blocking newspapers are fire, flooding, gang information and hidden messages in classifieds. The argument is that newspapers are easy to burn, that you can block the toilets with them, that you can find out what gang members are upto and that you can get messages from the outside (all communications are monitored in custody).
These excuses used to be taken as gospel by the courts, but lately there has been a little pushback from the rare judge. Fires have been ruled out - you usually have books, magazines, legal work that you can burn instead. Flooding is ruled out - you can use clothing, towels, sheets, blankets instead, and of course, other paper goods. Messages can be hidden inside magazine ads too, and magazines are usually allowed. Gang information - well, you can get this from the TV and telephone. I don't know a single gang member who wants a newspaper to get gang information. They just call their people on the telephone.
This was a similar suit won against the same jail a few years ago:
One suit I won $1000 for was because I used a Freedom of Information law to try to get the disciplinary record of my arresting officer because the prosecutor told me he was bogus. I tried three times and the police refused to reply, so I sued and asked them to settle immediately. They gave me the records and offered me $500. I asked for $1300 and said I wanted them to bring me Five Guys cheeseburger and fries to the jail. They replied $1000 and "lunch is not part of the deal." So I got the cash at least.
They were giving us 45 minutes less sleep than they should, and an hour less than they should out of our cells during the day. I won that, which was a big logistical nightmare for the jail and sent me to the Hole for the 2nd time with a fake contraband charge.
I sued because they put you in the Hole without giving you a hearing to determine if you are guilty of any infraction. I lost that in the trial court and appeal court. They ruled that pretrial detainees can be punished for any reason without any justification.
I sued because county sheriffs in Illinois aren't bound by any limits on punishment. I'll explain. Crimes are regulated by statutes which tell you exactly what you should not do, in detail, and the punishment expected if you commit them. These statutes are written by democratically-elected lawmakers. In county jails the sheriffs make up all the "crimes" and the punishment. Anything they say is a crime. And they can assign any punishment. Therefore if you "cause a disturbance" (one stated crime which is so vague it can mean anything) they can punish you by sending you to the Hole. But they could also just get out a knife and chop your hand off. Or they could just shoot you dead on the spot. There is nothing to protect you right now. I sued to limit this, but the courts said the constitutional protections on proportional punishments (punishment must fit the crime) under the Illinois and federal constitutions do not apply to pretrial detainees in Illinois.
I tried to get workers comp for the people in the kitchen who had lost their fingers in the meatball-making machine, but the statute requires that you must be a "person performing a service for the Sheriff" to get workers comp and the Attorney General basically ruled that detainees do not fit the legal definition of a "person".
I could go on all night LOL
Retaliation for reaffirming rights. What a lovely justice system...
Speedy trial doesn't apply in almost any situation you can think of. It's almost impossible to beat a case on speedy trial grounds. All my speedy trial motions have been denied so far, most recently because of COVID. I'm still working this angle though.
Where can I read about this distinction?
This seems kind of crazy to me. If passwords being private are okay, why should the powers that be allowed to treat biometrics any differently, at least in the context of unlocking devices? Otherwise, what's to prevent them from intimidating, threatening or torturing you until you give up your passwords as well?
To me, that's just a blatant abuse of power either way and it feels like there should be another amendment to your constitution concerning data privacy.
Is it not the wisest decision ever? Sure.
However, since it's already being done, we might as well create laws around protecting this use case.
For example, from what i know, people in the USA use their SSNs both as identifiers and sometimes as something like a pseudo-password, which seems like a really bad approach, but at the same time should be regarded as the objective and sub-optimal reality, with which we need to cope until a better solution is implemented (if ever).
Saying that the method is bad and shouldn't be considered when it's already in widespread usage is something that we just can't do.
The police most often use this kind of power in DUI cases where they extract your blood forceably. In the terms and conditions of your driver's licences in the USA most of them say that you agree to allow the police to do this.
A very interesting tidbit I learned here on HN a couple years back — the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that you have to declare out loud an intent to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights, if you haven’t been formally arrested yet. Literal “silence” may be acceptable after being Mirandized, but not necessarily before.
“Question: Does the Fifth Amendment's Self-Incrimination Clause protects a defendant's refusal to answer questions asked by law enforcement before he has been arrested or read his Miranda rights?”
No, by 5-4 vote.
The right against self-incrimination originally arose because of a quirk in English law relative to continental European law, and middle-age French law in particular. See, in France judicial execution was only permissible if the accused confessed. You couldn't use evidence as justification to execute someone; the defendant had to confess. This was considered humane and progressive--evidence might be false, but surely nobody would confess to a capital crime they didn't commit.
But this logic led down a terrible path. You could have the most brutal murderer in your hands, whom everybody knows without a doubt was guilty, but unless they confessed you could never execute them. (Life in prison just wasn't a thing because the state didn't have such an apparatus, at least not for common criminals.) So in a cruel twist of logic, there developed the system of torture for extracting confessions. Torture couldn't commence without eye witnesses, but this type of evidence wasn't taken in a proper trial (certainly not like we have today, or even as the English had at the time), AFAIU. So ultimately what you had in France and some other European countries was the most brutal criminal system imaginable, all because they were too absolutist and ideological in their understanding of how evidence can or should be used to mete out justice in light of the risk of error.
By contrast, what developed in England was a much different framework. In England any probative evidence could be used as proof of a crime, even a capital crime, so long as it convinced a jury, and so long as the defendant could likewise introduce any probative evidence that could exculpate himself. The English thought the French system of torture and extracted confessions abhorrent (just as the French, ironically, thought it unthinkable the English could execute someone based on circumstantial evidence alone), though that abhorrence was slow to become comprehensively enshrined directly in the constitutional law, thus the notorious instances and regimes of torture and extracted confessions in England. But those instances don't detract from the overall weight and theoretical foundation of the law.
Anyhow, my point is that in the spirit of English Common Law, the foundational rule is that any probative evidence should be admissible. Silence can certainly count as probative. And the core constitutional principle isn't that self-incrimination, per se, is bad, but that reliance on it can incentivize inhumane treatment of people. Furthermore, Miranda Rights are like a secondary or tertiary safeguard in service of preserving the core principles. All of which is to say that, while I'm not sure I would have decided the same way as those conservative judges, and to the extent we presume their sincerity, I can certainly appreciate the reluctance to exclude probative evidence based on an overly rigid and absolutist conception of how the government can make its case. Because history has proven that you can easily end up with the precise, extreme consequences--an unfathomably inhumane system--you're trying to avoid. The societal need to prosecute criminals will never go away, so there's always a balancing act at play. The lesson the English system took to heart is that, all things being equal, the more relevant facts you permit, the better.
EDIT: Much of the above was said more succinctly by the 15th century Chief Justice John Fortescue in De Laudibus Legum Angliae:
> For this reason, the Laws of France, in capital cases, do not think it enough to convict the accused by evidence, lest the innocent should thereby be condemned; they choose rather to put the accused themselves to the Rack, till they confess their guilt, than rely entirely on the deposition of witnesses.... By which over cautious, and inhuman stretch of policy, the suspected, as well as the really guilty, are, in that kingdom, tortured so many ways, as is too tedious and bad for description.
And then we consider the concept of reduced sentences for a plea. A plea bargain can allow one to consider pleading guilty for a crime which was not committed, but is too costly or improbable to defend. So we do get people confessing things they didn't do.
Also we get the even further stage in that officers are allowed to lie about a reduced sentence being offered for a plea. And when it comes to trial the offer is no where to be found, but the confession remains.
You're citing English common law, but this is one of the places where the US Constitution explicitly rejects English common law. Several clauses of the Constitution - including both the Fifth and Sixth amendment - were composed specifically to make these rejections explicit.
For comparison, until the early 19th century, under English law, people on trial for felony offenses were prohibited from having counsel represent them at trial. The Sixth Amendment guaranteed this right explicitly, in order to invalidate any English common law precedent that would have otherwise come into effect.
Or another way of putting it, the U.S. Constitution codified American Common Law, which had already evolved to guarantee a right to counsel in felony cases even before the revolution. English Common Law was already heading in that direction, AFAIU (https://www.jstor.org/stable/1923146), but hadn't yet affirmed it categorically--there were still exceptions and caveats in English law at the time of the American Revolution.
In hacker terms, the Common Law is a process, not a product.
But, yeah, things are far more complex than that little slice of history, which is why I said I didn't necessarily agree with the outcome of that particular case. But it's important to distinguish what you're trying to achieve from how you're trying to achieve it. The Bill of Rights has become articles of faith, which is problematic because there are definitely ways to apply and extend it that actually subvert the underlying principles and purposes.
Courts can be shockingly corrupt.
> The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a “lawyer dog,” ..
That's bad, dawg.
The full quote - "This is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dawg, ’cause this is not what’s up." - can be argued to be equivocal. It's a common construction to express a hypothetical, e.g. "well if that's how you feel we should cancel the wedding" etc.
The precedent should really be the other way around. You should treat any reference to wanting a lawyer as legitimate unless unambiguously established to not be.
> In my view, the defendant’s ambiguous and equivocal reference to a “lawyer dog” does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview and does not violate Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981).
"Equivocal" probably refers to Demesme saying "if y'all think I did it", but nonetheless it's hard for me to read the concurrence as anything other than a bad faith interpretation of his request for counsel.
I was curious who voted which way. I was not surprised one bit.
Is there an app that can be given permission to intercept the unlock code and upon receiving the panic/under duress code, discretely put the phone into a "parental controls" configuration that sandboxes all your data and only presents the storage you want the law enforcement children to see? Some cops use a USB device that pulls all the data from the phone. Is there a way to sandbox that data so they only get the data from approved apps and the forensics USB device does not know any better? i.e. not denied data, but rather can only see what you want it to see. Or should this be a feature request to the alternate phone operating systems developers?
Maybe this duress code should also activate a timer. If the all-clear code is not entered in a user-defined period of time, the phone wipes all user data in the background resetting it to a brand new phone. Or maybe wipe the data for specified applications to not appear to destroy evidence? Maybe also send network notifications(s) to specific in case of mission compromise destinations?
[Edit] Feature request update. This duress system should also log all the data that was added or planted after the duress code was entered, to log people planting evidence. Upload encrypted manifest,timestamps and checksums to remote site in the event law enforcement tamper with evidence.
There'be been a few "I'm being arrested" apps, which typically trigger by holding hard buttons (volume, home, and/or power), though I'm not aware of specifics. Most of these seem to date to the OWS protests of ... how did that happen ... a decade ago:
Freedom of the Press Foundation offers this advice doc:
(Initial misattribution corrected to iOS, not Siri.)
To clarify, it’s not a Siri feature but an iOS Shortcut (which you’ll need to download or recreate) invoked with Siri. The actions and key phrase are customisable.
When off the encryption of the device will be most effective and resilient to attack because nothing will be unencrypted until you enter your passcode at boot.
As a side note, this would not necessarily be only used for law enforcement authorities. It could be that an armed phone thief requires you to unlock your phone. Sending a duress message, maybe even camera footage, GPS coordinates could be quite useful in the event you vanish. Teaching your kids to use this feature on their phones could also be very beneficial.
This exact scenario happened to me. They made me do a factory reset right in front of them, before handing the phone over. I didn't have any opportunity to do anything other than what they asked, and I probably would have been killed if I tried.
I don't see how I would have been able to make use of such a feature in that scenario or any similar scenario (e.g. getting arrested at a protest). It's a nice idea, but I think its usefulness might be limited to things like airport security lines.
Fortunately, they didn't realize that Find My iPhone persists through factory resets (nice!).
Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to use the web interface, and ended up accidentally wiping my phone, including the Find My iPhone tracing stuff, so I never managed to trace it anywhere.
Wouldn't a thief that knows enough to ask you to do a factory reset also know to ask you to disable Find My iPhone ?
I mean you're even prompted to do so during the "erase all content & settings" process, right ?
No idea, I guess not! This was several years ago, I think Find My iPhone was relatively new.
> I mean you're even prompted to do so during the "erase all content & settings" process, right ?
I don't remember being prompted.
They might also not have been that smart. In addition to my phone and cash, they took my debit card (I was able to convince them to let me keep my various other cards like driver's license, train pass, etc.) and asked for my PIN, but I just called the company and canceled the card within the hour. They didn't take any of my credit cards, my (admittedly cheap) headphones, or (fortunately) think to check my backpack with my $1000+ work laptop in it.
I figured they were looking for a quick buck, and it was easier/faster/safer to just grab the cash and the phone than to be thorough and risk someone wandering or driving by. I am also very lucky, I know people who've been robbed in that same area and got beaten up pretty badly, even while trying to comply.
Wow...are you comfortable sharing more details? Thanks.
If courts want this data, they can issue a subpoena and follow due process. Law enforcement can pound sand all day long if they are trying to circumvent due process.
Using this feature with armed phone thieves would not be a legal risk unless you are filming them in their home. Even then I would be happy to accept any legal risk when interacting with outlaws.
Us programmers tend to thing the law is black and white and a legal disclaimer solves all issues, but it’s not. The law can be (and is) a gray area determined by the courts on an individual basis. Judges don’t look fondly on technicalities for skirting the law. After all, they are humans, too. Not computers.
I should also add this is only a legal risk if you are using this against the courts AND select the options to wipe data. AFAIK you can disavow knowledge to cops all day long in most first world countries with little risk. Again, not a lawyer but it seems this is true based on cases I have followed. And this feature would not just be to protect from police. It could be to protect from phone thieves getting sensitive financial information which arguably should not be on the phone. It could also be used to alert people if people and/or their kids are being robbed. Actually the more I think about it, this feature could save the lives of some police officers. Some people may in poor judgement have data that could carry a longer sentence than killing a police officer. I recall a case where a professional thief killed all the guards because the punishment for the information they were stealing was more detrimental legally than homicide, but this is a bit of a rare tangent.
I also have to factor in that some locations there is a very thin gray line between law enforcement and outlaws. Maybe pushing the system to follow due process and maybe even prevent cops from planting data on the phone could be useful. That could be a logging feature of the sandbox. What data was added after duress was activated
My experience is that the courts will define/apply it however they feel like, usually to your detriment.
I'm British and a felony conviction would impact my immigration status and also I'm innocent. So I refused. I actually thought I'd be in jail for a few weeks. Then 8 years later.
Total speculation, since obviously I don't know the details of this specific case, but I would guess pled down to 2nd degree murder and received a sentence of time served.
 edit: decided this was doxing
 edit: decided this was doxing
Try getting your own forensic guy to see what changes were made. You need money for this. The court is supposed to supply you one, but often they do not, so you cannot show that the data was planted.
It's good to know it exists.
The sad thing is, however, that even just knowing a name/identity is enough for motivated entities to "pull the thread" and go fishing on the internet for whatever they want.
If you do get searched, give them the phone and let them search it.
>For example, by including a specially formatted but otherwise innocuous file in an app on a device that is then scanned by Cellebrite, it’s possible to execute code that modifies not just the Cellebrite report being created in that scan, but also all previous and future generated Cellebrite reports from all previously scanned devices and all future scanned devices in any arbitrary way (inserting or removing text, email, photos, contacts, files, or any other data), with no detectable timestamp changes or checksum failures. This could even be done at random, and would seriously call the data integrity of Cellebrite’s reports into question.
>In completely unrelated news, upcoming versions of Signal will be periodically fetching files to place in app storage.
I strongly advise against pissing off Signal by claiming you can hack them.
If a judge authorises a notice, under RIPA, you can be served a 2 year sentence for failing to disclose your phone's passcode.
This particular case is different because the police did not get a warrant and instead just asked the guy to disclose (without a warrant), which he refused to do, then they tried to use that against the guy in court, which is a violation of the US constitution.
"You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
In Scotland it's different:
"You are not obliged to say anything but anything you do say will be noted down and may be used in evidence. Do you understand?"
What it is referring to is a situation where you rely on some evidence that you could have fabricated, the prosecution is entitled to point out that you had the opportunity to fabricate it.
For example, you claim you were at your friend's house at the time of the crime, but you didn't mention this to the police at the time of the arrest so that they can go and interview your friend to corroborate your alibi.
A jury may take from this that your alibi is not very convincing, because you may have arranged this alibi with your friend between arrest and trial.
In neither England nor the US can someone be convicted based on silence alone. Silence isn't evidence. It is simply the lack of evidence.
> the prosecution is entitled to point out that you had the opportunity to fabricate it.
In the US, the prosecution is NOT entitled to point out that you didn't say this at the scene of the crime.
This is part of what we mean in the US when we say right to remain silent.
So the people in the UK have the right against self-incrimination, but the state systematically violates it.
The rights listed in the Bill of Rights are unalienable, natural, and apply regardless of your citizenship status.
Of course this is weird from another country’s perspective, but it is the mentality that many Americans take because to us, it is right.
The ideology is that human beings ought to have some intrinsic rights. The Bill of Rights is an attempt to codify those rights in the context of how _the US government_ can interact with people (regardless of their citizenship).
The idea that a UK citizen has these rights by default because they're in the US Bill of Rights, and can then have these rights deprived of them _by their own government_ is the part of this that is hilariously American. Of course, if it was the US government taking the action then that would be a different story altogether, but the US isn't involved at any point
The side effect here is that technically, according to US lore, the situation you describe with the UK is correct. And it’s kindof how US citizens think.
You have the right to protest your government. You have the right to say whatever you want. You have the right to defend yourself. You may not agree, but that’s what US lore says, and it feeds a lot of our international behavior.
It's quite clear this isn't the actual policy of the US, though, given the existence of Guantanamo Bay.
The sentiment of the average citizen is much more inline with the ideals of the nation than the Nation itself is
It is clearly not consistent to criticize Americans for violating inalienable human rights while claiming that inalienable human rights are a concept that does not exist for non-Americans.
Particularly since they have come into conflict with the US over trying to prosecute human rights violations in the mideast.
Or are you saying that it’s bad that they have to be spelled out in the Constitution? Many of the original founders agreed with this and were concerned that the Bill of Rights would create a negative space consisting of every unlisted right, in which the government could reduce rights with impunity. (It turns out that essentially happened due to the unfortunate wording of the inter-state commerce clause.)
If you mean it’s weird that the Constitution is federal, yes, that’s due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the formation of the United States. Each state also has its own constitution where variations of these rights, and others, is repeated.
Or, more specifically, I attempt to paraphrase:
If the US doesn't respect inalienable rights, then non-citizens should have them?
I don't see any connection, and you seem to also be saying you believe in inalienable rights which are alienable.
Yes, in practice if not in principle or statute. American citizens and their citizen children have been murdered by drones without a jury trial or public hearing, or much of any due process which may be examined by the public openly. We take the US at their word when we say inalienable rights exist, but their behavior suggests that the US doesn’t respect inalienable rights or view them as an impediment to implementing unconstitutional US policy or performing acts contravening said inalienable rights.
> If the US doesn't respect inalienable rights, then non-citizens should have them?
Extradition to US has been blocked on a case-by-case basis by foreign courts due to observable effects of American courts not even meeting their own regulatory bar of speedy, fair, public trials, trials where you may confront your accuser in open court, with a jury of your peers. Parallel construction makes a mockery of the investigatory chain of evidence. Fruit of the poison tree doctrine is DOA. Secret grand juries are lied to in order to force unjustifiable, indefensible charges. Secret evidence and secret trials. Are secret convictions and secret imprisonment next? Indefinite detention without charge already gets US government 90% of the way there.
> I don't see any connection, and you seem to also be saying you believe in inalienable rights which are alienable.
I believe in inalienable rights, in that the concept is an unequivocal social good, but rights are not only what are claimed, but that which can be exercised freely and without undue restraint; I also believe that the government doesn’t act as if it has a good faith belief in ensuring that inalienable rights exist to begin with, nor does the US seem intent on defending them in all cases. In practice, inalienable rights don’t exist. This should change in my view.
You can use a word to mean multiple things, but you have to be clear and consistent in using one meaning at a time and differentiating the context.
>In practice, inalienable rights don’t exist. This should change in my view.
Inalienable rights are an abstract idea that can't exist.
Rights that were never violated could not be conceived of as rights, like "hot" wouldn't have any meaning if there wasn't "cold".
You left out the first part, where I said “in practice.” As in, it should never occur that our human rights are able to be circumvented, curtailed, or allowed to be violated. That our rights are violated in practice, in reality, is bad and should not happen, and proves that we must act as if inalienable rights are not some platonic ideal, but a lived reality, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
To the degree we are alienated from our innate human rights, it is because we as a society allow it, accommodate it, justify it, and excuse it. It is up to us all, individually and collectively, to do better. We can do better, and must, or we lack the courage of our convictions, and thus prove that the ideal remains an idea only, and not real, not a lived experience in and of reality. Arguing about the “existence” of abstract concepts is not my point. We embody these ideals with our thoughts, beliefs, and especially actions - what we do or do not do in accordance with our stated principles of inalienable rights.
We only have the rights we claim to have, rights we claim as ours by expressing them, even when others disagree, and defying any and all who would deny them to us. Inalienable rights are not up for debate to those who claim them. To have inalienable rights is to talk the talk and walk the walk.
To say inalienable rights exist is not a truth claim about the nature of reality; it is drawing a line in the sand and picking this hill to die on.
> Rights that were never violated could not be conceived of as rights, like "hot" wouldn't have any meaning if there wasn't "cold".
I agree wholeheartedly. Ironically, we discovered human rights by violating those of ourselves and of others, until the consequences of and backlash against such opprobrium became juice not worth the squeeze, deciding not to, and accepting nothing less than our continued newfound freedom.
Yes, that's what I was addressing. I am saying that "in practice" doesn't work as a modifier, because being "inalienable" is an abstract quality which does not pertain to real things or events.
Like "happy" applied to sand, or "green" applied to thoughts.
Snopes apparently debunked it, however, I was always inclined to believe it happened and was deliberate irony.
I hope your comment is in the same vein.
I'm not surprised you can't see what my comment is getting at
Locke himself was English, so it's a real shame to see the state of human rights in the UK in 2021.
Cameras? Malfunctioning, those buggers. Your lawyer? You waived that right, you said you were innocent and didn't need one. Phone? Well the officer explained very nicely the situation and you decided to do your best to help. Not sure why you're alleging misdeed now, when you handed your unlocked phone over without prompting...
But if you ever find yourself in a situation where a police officer is pointing a gun at you, none of this discussion matters. I've had that happen to me (when an AirBNB owner failed to mention that they have a silent alarm system which calls the police). It is not pleasant, and there are no clever things to do or say. You will do whatever the cop wants, because you do not want to be shot.
People don't like hearing this. They like to think of themselves as being smart, as having self-respect and dignity, as being able to 'speak truth to power' or at least stand their ground. That, unfortunately, is not the reality.
Should you encounter, at some point in your life, a situation where a police officer is pointing a gun at you, you will do whatever the fuck they are telling you to do. That's the grim reality.
It is an utterly dehumanizing, degrading interaction. There are no witty things to say or do. You will do whatever you are told, because a person is pointing a deadly weapon at you and telling you to do them.
It was a terrible situation for everyone.
No prowler was caught.
For instance, in my case the police said they could break 2048-bit AES encryption and so they were allowed to keep the data after the password was suppressed.
I will add even when they do not have guns drawn, the interaction can go from discussion to whole hog, hands on big and quick!
However, like netsec, it is a matter of lots of small steps. Asserting "I do not consent to this search" aloud may not stop the search, but it can be used it court, where it may not matter, or it might. The point is, you have to protect yourself. Maybe someone caught recording of you saying that which shows up later, and changes the outcome in a retrial.
I don't think it would be fair nor that I think it would work.
If people are afraid to do anything, they will cover their asses than do their jobs.
I think, ultimately, the problem is multifaceted. I believe we start with decreasing the role of police and punishment in our society.
I'm not sure if that's grim, though; don't most people want it to be exactly that way? We grant the police extraordinary power and some amount of immunity on purpose.
But then I live in a place where gun control is a thing and has 6 times less homicides than the USA after adjusting for population, so there's that.
The popo are mostly unarmed and I'd rather things kept that way.
I really don't understand how the US justice system works the way it does.
I have an experience where a trooper lied to the court twice and I have evidence to back it up. Nobody cares. I tried a the ACLU (bigger fish to fry), a complaint with the department (they counseled him and made the excuse that they have a lot of new guys at this station), I wrote my state representatives multiple times (no reply, except for one, which was a form letter not even applicable to my scenario), we tried the DA's office (they participated in multiple rights violations), we tried the DoJ for civil rights violations (no updates for about 6 months), we submitted complaints against a magistrate and a judge with the board of conduct (no updates and over 6 months), we submitted complaints against the ADAs who participated in incompetent or misconduct to the Bar (was told they only investigate prosecutors if the court formally determines there was prosecutorial misconduct), talked to an civil rights lawyer (was told it was a violation, but the courts don't care unless large monetary damages were involved), and talked to an investigative journalist (ran a story similar to this but said to keep him posted if I find anything explosive).
There's literally nobody to turn to. Almost every person involved in the system made mistakes or misconduct during the process (cop, 2/3 magistrates - 3rd was arrested for an unrelated matter, the judge, 2 ADAs, etc). I have absolutely zero faith in the system.
Judges generally aren't involved I'm the removal of an officer. That typically happens via IAD, and even then the union tells them to resign so the IAD investigation ends and they can just go to a different department.
My wife an I both witnessed him say he was amending the charge because he made a mistake. He then went into the court and told the magistrate he was amending the charge to "cut us a break". The magistrate then issued a continuance (instead of dismissing if he knew the true reason). The incorrect charge carried pretrial restriction only found under that charge and the trooper knew that the charge was incorrect for about 6 weeks. State law only allows amendments if the rights of the defendant were not violated (there were 2 other rights violated later, and multiple procedural mistakes too). Subjecting someone to pretrial restrictions under a charge that is known to be wrong is unusual punishment and also a violation of the state constitution. So it would require dismissing the case. We found proof supporting this in the trooper's later testimony where he stated that he knew it was incorrect for those 6 weeks, yet held it against us anyways. The IAD investigation found that he did tell us the correct thing and then told the court something wrong 10 minutes later. The report said it was a "misunderstanding", without any details or explanation.
Later he claimed that a picture he introduced in court was in the investigative file "since the beginning", yet it was not furnished to us when we subpoenaed the file. Another IAD investigation found that the picture wasn't placed in the file until a later time. The magistrate did not throw out the picture because he thought we had access the whole time and we didn't have access to that IAD finding until after the trial (not sure if I trust this or they were covering). Furthermore, the picture was exculpatory evidence under the incorrect charge and should have been furnished to us regardless of the subpoena. So much for Brady...
He made 2-3 other factually incorrect statements that I did not have hard evidence of (just our word against his). These included things like changing his story in a contradictory way. We did have a recording of his testimony and a phone call with him (both consistent with law).
The complaint process also treated us adversarially, which is a violation of feral policy (hence complaint to DoJ). The state police claim they can knowingly hold incorrect charges against people.
This has never stoped them from lying, since they already know who will be believed.
Are you talking only about evidence literally gathered with a gun pointed to your head? If, so, well, my comment wasn't that literal. As a rule, if you have any chance of becoming a suspect, the police here will refuse to interrogate you without your lawyer around, because listening to you can jeopardize their work.
There are two classes of damages police can enact on you in the US, both of which makes interacting with them in any capacity dangerous.
The first class is that they can completely ruin or end your life. This includes anything from killing you, leaving you with lifelong injuries or stress disorders, felony charges, etc. Anything that permanently scars your enjoyment of life.
The second class is non permanent, but extremely inconvenient damages. These are very common, take little effort or thought on their part, and ranges from impounding a car, charging you with a misdemeanor, harassing you, taking large sums of cash from your person, disturbing your house or belongings, trespassing you, holding important belongings or documents as evidence, etc.
Either of these classes of damages can be the result of an interaction with police, stemming from saying the "wrong thing", "acting nervous", "acting suspicious", being in the vicinity of a possible crime, being accused of witnessing an event, being too close while they are conducting police business, "making them feel uncomfortable or unsafe", being the victim of a crime, etc.
Each time you speak to police, you risk a chain of events occurring that result in one of these two classes of damages. It's just not worth it. They aren't worth talking to, given some of the possible outcomes.
Basically if you don't interact with police at all you can't have bad (or good) interactions. Since there are lots of things (race, wealth as indicated by clothing or vehicle, someone having a bad day, ticket/arrest quotas, etc) that can make interactions worse and few that can make them better it's often easier to just avoid contact.
Personal example: I'm doing laundry at a laundromat following the tragic death of a washing machine not long ago. On a recent Sunday night the attendant appears to have quit sometime in the afternoon or early evening (note on the counter "back in 2 hours" but clearly gone much longer than that). I cleaned up the place a bit while my stuff was in the dryer, but since I was the last person there and it was after their last load (and no answer on any of the numbers on the call list behind the counter), I called the local police to see if they could have patrols keep an eye open overnight. I felt fine doing that as a late middle age white guy in whitebread suburbia, but if I was a 20something minority? I suspect the wisest move would be to simply finish my laundry and leave just like I would any other visit to the business.
I didn't know there was such a place?
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention...
The USA has 4.96 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. 93rd in the world out of 230 countries or territories, below the global average of 6.2 and well below the average in the Americas of 16.3. It's also below the African average of 12.5.
CAF and Puerto Rico are the major territories with a figure closest to 4 times the US, and Puerto Rico is 20th on the list. Higher than Puerto Rico are 18 territories in the Americas, and 2 in Africa.
Of the 10th most populous countries in the world, the US is 5th and lower than Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, and Mexico. However, it _does_ have the highest rate of the 3, 4, and 5 most populous countries (Brazil is the 6th most populous, and with a murder rate of 27.38, more than 5 times the US rate).
Of its neighbours, Canada's figure is 1.7 (lowest in the Americas), while Mexico is at 29.07, 13th highest in the world.
In the Americas, only 4 countries or territories have lower rates than the US: Chile, Martinique, Aruba and Canada. On the other hand, 45 other countries or territories have a higher murder rate.
My own country is at almost 6 times the US rate, too, btw.
That schizophrenia between demands for law and order, and the reality of law and order, is why we lock so many people up and have fairly tough policing.
One option is to accept that hey, the government can't really stop all this crime, so let's not investigate or prosecute that much. This is the approach taken by the latest crop of liberal DAs. And it's been a disaster for local communities.
That's also when you start seeing stores with their own armed guards, and armed gated communities as the wealthy privatize security for themselves -- and the poor are subject to a lot of violence. I remember visiting the Phillipines and seeing men with shotguns outside basically normal stores and in shopping malls.
But hey, you don't have government jails filled with people and the police are a lot less visible. So, there is an upside, it's not necessarily a bad approach as long as we are willing to tolerate private security engaging in private violence against criminals.
But what you can't do is pretend that we should have Swiss levels of incarceration while at the same time having a much larger criminal class and a completely different society.
Fun Fact: In Switzerland, if you leave your windows open during the winter, people will call the cops on you (for wasting energy). It's a much more rules-following society that would drive most Americans nuts.
This phrase omits the key issue: Crime, physical abuse, and political suppression by the legal system (including law enforcement officers), unrelated to reducing crime. When police arrest or shoot, DAs prosecute, and courts jail innocent people, it doesn't reduce crime. And criminalizing harmless activity, such as using marijuana, increases crime (including by creating a black market) and does nothing for public safety.
If we're going to be 'tough on crime', why aren't we tough on people in power or on ethnicities with power. How is that related to reducing crime?
> One option is to accept that hey, the government can't really stop all this crime, so let's not investigate or prosecute that much. This is the approach taken by the latest crop of liberal DAs.
That's not the approach, only the false characterization by political enemies. The approach is that the behavior I described above has nothing to do with reducing crime; it is criminal and should stop (this seems so obvious that it doesn't bear explanation). And that mass incarceration hasn't worked - the war on drugs was ineffective (and arguably a means of political oppression of minorities) - damages communities socially and economically (when large segments lose parents and felons are unable to work productively), and of course is harmful to its victims. let's find out what works and implement it.
Some things that work to reduce drug crime are sites where people can obtain and use drugs safely, decriminalization of drugs (especially harmless ones such as marijuana), and treatment of drug addiction as illness (which is what is already done to drugs for wealthy people). Also, providing services to young people, including activities, quality schooling, mental healthcare and counseling, as well as means for a hopeful future, do a lot to reduce crime.
> And it's been a disaster for local communities.
Do you have evidence of that? Crime is generally at generational lows, though shootings have been up during the pandemic. Can you show a correlation between these new approaches and increased crime?
Critically, people in those communities don't agree: They've long asked for these approaches and vote in large numbers for these DAs. It's people outside those communities that, bizarrely, try to overrule them and impose these things on them. That looks like political oppression to me; what other business do these outsiders have?
Could you provide some examples of anything on the ballot that influenced police behavior?
Sure, a lot of people just vote party line. But a lot of local elections are non-partisan.
Have you ever belonged to a club or nonprofit or something? Often they are begging people to run for office unopposed. If nobody wants to, you can't force them. People who do want to, eventually get tired or die and then it can be kind of a crisis to find a replacement.
It's similar in small local political races. If you don't vote every year, you might not have noticed?
Sometimes the incumbent goes unchallenged, and sometimes there is a challenger that is obviously not serious, but at the same time, the incumbent has a lot of murky dealings and connections that make it hard to have enthusiasm.
I only vote if there is a choice, but the "choice" is usually the incumbent in a de facto one-party government.
Yes, I have. Actually I'm part of the founding team of a nonprofit engaged in developing software to make parliamentarians' voting behavior transparent for their constituency.
Voter apathy is a depressing fact I'm confronted with almost every day. The sad truth is that many people ... simply don't care. The reason we founded votelog is to make people understand what their representatives are up to and make better decisions.
> If you don't vote every year, you might not have noticed?
I try to vote as often as I have the chance to and cherish everyone participating in an informed way in our democracies. Unfortunately for many people, voting is not a duty to be fulfilled but a right to be enjoyed. Just having the right is enough for them.
I guess I'm a bit jaded because I still haven't found out how to make them care to actually fulfill the duty.
Fine, but isn't it true that candidates are needed before voter apathy is relevant?
I struggle to understand why.
I have some idea that this because things nowadays happen so far away - as in; I hear news and happenings from the capital - but people usually don't have the means to influence these happenings, they learn to just not participate. Maybe?
If he beats you up after you are compliant, then we are talking about abuse. Forces you to confess, abuse. Any unnecessary roughness while you are in custody (e.g. The Ride), also abuse. But if he legitimately suspects you are committing a crime and asserts his control to stop it, then he is merely doing exactly what we (society) have paid him to do. It only becomes a problem if he abuses that power after control has already been gained.
That's hardly something that everyone believes without qualification. I'm not saying you're right or wrong, just that I perceive a social context where it is normal to consider it a potential misuse of power depending on various factors.
For instance, suppose you were stopped and had a gun pointed at you because you resembled someone involved in an armed robbery, but it appeared they had little more to go on than race and gender.
You'd agree it's a fact that some people have perceived a situation like that, as victims, right? And if it was as they perceived, and a pattern, wouldn't it then be correct to consider it an institutional misuse of police power?
One thing to consider is that pointing a gun at a person is not harmless. It carries a risk of inadvertently discharging the weapon. How many times have you heard the admonition to not point a gun without the intention to shoot?
Accidents happen, and sometimes make the news, especially when the officer says they thought they had their taser. Pointing a gun is also a threat that suggests the victim might be shot with impunity. Statistically, there are probably people who have heart attacks or strokes due to the stress. Even if most officers are professional and trustworthy, there's no way to know in such a situation before the outcome.
I know that this discussion is about US law, but I want to add this here to put in perspective how skewed law enforcement regulation is in the US.
Much of what's perfectly acceptable in the US would be considered abuse of power in Europe. Such as pointing a gun at someone just because that someone could possibly be in the process of committing a felony.
The people who are not having police encounters with any regularity, who aren't drawn on when they do get pulled over, who perhaps have property or other reasons to be invested in the status quo, often want things this way.
The people on the wrong side of the gun feel differently. Giving cops lethal power does not create safety. It shifts around what the danger is and who is in danger.
And then, stringent training can be mandated for drivers too! Just make simulators of the quality used for pilot training and require people to pass difficult tests where they react to unexpected events while driving.
Making something illegal for law abiding citizens is the point!
When someone (either in authority or anyone) sees a person with X, and it's legal, then they don't know if it's a criminal or not without further investigation.
When they see a person with X, and it's illegal, then they do know it's a criminal. This is an enormous advantage to enforcement, if that is the goal.
Obviously you can, and many people do, make arguments based on crime statistics that outlawing guns works, but I prefer a logical approach.
A phrase I've seen on HN is "thought terminating cliché". Would that be a better way to express my opinion, by calling it that?
Currently both anti-social and pro-social individuals possess firearms. If possession of firearms is criminalized, those who tend toward pro-sociality will give them up disproportionately. Such a policy would therefore tilt the balance of power toward those with anti-social inclinations. This is a bad outcome.
And I don't take a position on whether the authorities are grouped with the "anti-social" crowd. Some people would say they are.
Purely for the sake of discussion, I presumed the conceit that there is a "justice system" which is "pro-social".
In that context, it seems clear to me that criminalizing things is a very useful tool.
If you reject the premise, you might be perfectly correct, yet I would still expect people to be addressing those who believe there is a "justice system".
Surely all sensible anarchists can imagine believing in "law and order", and assume that a random person probably does?
Even if one doesn't believe there is a justice system, one might believe there could be. I automatically assume anyone who wants to discuss topics like crime and justice believes in the concepts.
The judgement "obtuse" comes with the sense I have that the context is otherwise violated.
We're up to something like 1/3 of the population having some kind of criminal record, though, so the balance could tip in the coming years. The culture wars we are experiencing right now may be a manifestation of that.
That is definitely not a tautology. It is common that the majority of people views the status quo as undesirable.
The status quo is likely to always be some sort of local maxima/minima.
So most people may prefer it to most available small changes, but most people may prefer a large change if there was a way to get there in a coordinated way.
No, that's still not true.
I can't believe it if I can't imagine it, and if you think it's possible, you should share how.
I think this is a dispute over semantics. It's not very productive to argue whether something is true or false when people define terms differently. Better to explain how you define them.
As for most people wanting it that way, I think it is because most people have not actually encountered it. They want it in the abstract, likely not so much when it happens to them. Kind of the classic...the people who want wars typically don't want their children in those wars.
It's basically the same advice Dr. Phil gave, and just about the only advice of his that ever resonated with me. Some people get it, some people don't, and when the cop is putting his boot on your face you aren't going to back talk. People fantasize online about all the things they will do in such a situation, but only people who have a good bit of experience with cops are going to be comfortable enough to talk smack to them.
And frankly, for most of us, "don't ever talk to the police, never, never, never" will actually lead to worse outcomes on average. The trick is to recognize when you should follow that advice, and when you should not. Sometimes it's obvious.
You might think that the courts would sort this out, since the cop obviously won't have any solid evidence, but it turns out that they don't have solid evidence in a great many cases and still manage to get convictions. The truth matters less than the system, and the system is designed to put people in jail.
In the US there are almost no significant repercussions for any actions taken by a police officer whether correct or not. See also "qualified immunity," where things can happen like officers literally stealing from a crime scene and the victim having no recourse because there's not a previous decided case with exactly that scenario within the same jurisdiction.
> There are many countries where police officers are actually scared of using their weapon.
I'm curious 1) the countries, and 2) why the officers are afraid.
Quite possibly. But the cold truth is that the only people who matter at all are the ones who show up to vote. And yes, "most people" is literally defined as everyone with enough economic power that they aren't forced into a life of crime. That's by far the majority.