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Police can’t demand you reveal your phone passcode then tell a jury you refused (eff.org)
592 points by oedmarap 47 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 581 comments



This happened to me. The police wanted my password and refused my right to silence, wouldn't let me call a lawyer. I wouldn't talk. Then they threatened my wife and I gave up my password to stop them from hurting her.

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.


Also, if you do use biometrics and ever find yourself in a sticky situation most modern operating systems have built in features to quickly disable them on demand. iOS, for example, allows you to quickly disable Face/Touch ID by holding the side+any volume button for two seconds and then quickly tap the side button again when the shutdown slide appears.


Probably won't have time. I had a loaded gun pointed at my head and told not to touch my phone. Had every reason to believe they would have fired.


You have to tell this story.


Nobody else is going to ask the parent what was that?


Why did the police point a gun at your head?


United States


With iPhones you can say, "Hey Siri, whose phone is this?" That will disable biometric unlock.


I just tried this with my iphone 11, just out of curiosity... Siri ratted me out and my face still unlocked it.


I'm running iOS 15.0.2 on an iPhone 12 Pro. The response I got was, "I believe this iPhone belongs to Bob," where "Bob" is my first name. Then Face ID was disabled, and the only way I could unlock my phone was with my passcode.


Also running iOS 15.0.2. This did not disable biometric unlock. Don’t mess with Siri, just hold down the power button and either volume button simultaneously for a few seconds.


Be sure not to look at your phone when you test it! If it sees your face and unlocks before the command is processed, it doesn't work.


iPhone 7 plus runing 15.0.2, my biometrics unlock was disabled until I put in the password.


Be sure not to look at your phone when you test it!


> iOS, for example, allows you to quickly disable Face/Touch ID by holding the side+any volume button for two seconds and then quickly tap the side button again when the shutdown slide appears

Android unfortunately doesn't have anything like this enabled by default, and what it allows you to enable is much more limited.

Lockdown mode[0] 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).

https://screenrant.com/android-lockdown-mode-purpose-enable-...


My android (meizu) disables fingerprint unlock after entering SOS mode by pressing power button 5 times. It was enabled by default. I dont'know if this applies to all androids. It works for iphone. This method is easier to do without looking at the screen.


> My android (meizu) disables fingerprint unlock after entering SOS mode by pressing power button 5 times. It was enabled by default. I dont'know if this applies to all androids.

That's your particular phone. It does not apply to most Android phones.


Not really. I have a gesture programmed in Nova Launcher to disable biometrics with a pinch. The system allows you to do many more things than iOS, just not put of the box.


> Not really. I have a gesture programmed in Nova Launcher to disable biometrics with a pinch

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).


All that matters is the result.

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 believe lockdown mode is available in the power menu by default in Android 12.


If you are ever expecting to be in a situation where a) you have incriminating evidence on you phone, and b) have reason to believe the police will likely try and get access to it at some unpredictable time in the future, I think you'd just be wise to not use biometrics at all.



> he said he would unsolder the chips off the circuit board and put them onto another board ... The judge allowed the testimony and believed it.

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.


This. Everything above. I was offered plea for immediate release on my very first court date. Turned it down. Spent 8 years locked up fighting it. It's complicated, but it actually got dismissed after 5 years but as I was walking out of the jail I got arrested again by some out-of-jurisdiction police on a fake arrest warrant that the prosecutors created and had entered into the Sheriff's computer system. So back to jail for another 3 years to fight again. Trying telling anyone the arrest warrant was fake! LOL. I wrote letters all over the place to try and get some action on that. I had the state government come one time to the jail with the sheriff's record people.. "The computer says you were arrested, so you were arrested." "OK, who does it say arrested me?" "It says the prosecutor arrested you." "Have you ever heard of a prosecutor making an arrest before?" "No, but the computer says it so it has to be true." FML. Basically no-one would accept that it is possible for a fake warrant to be made. I EVEN HAVE THE COURT ROOM TRANSCRIPTS WHERE THE JUDGE SAYS THERE IS NO ARREST WARRANT.. and still no-one would believe me. The system is fucked. If I had $250,000 for some real lawyers I would be fine.



That is fantastic. You made my day. Funny it was based in Illinois too!


Yeah, I think I wouldn't have remembered the story except for you mentioning Illinois!


What you are describing is corruption. It’s actually a crime. But government will never hold government prosecutors or judges to account for corruption that favors government interests.


Who do you report it to?

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.


Your story underscores my belief that government is past the point of reporting in the hope of repair or reform. When the system is broken beyond rescue, at what point is it right to revolt?


This is the way the system works. You can call it corruption - but words don't matter. Most judges and most prosecutors function like this.


The public holds the District Attorney accountable, and in many places recently, they have voted out corrupt ones.


Cook County, mate. Kim Foxx marketed herself as a reformer but nothing is changing for people trapped in its judiciary system. And despite a few recent changes the party still controls its candidates well enough that it only needs to present two manageable options in the primary.


I don't know about Kim Foxx, but others in the new wave of DAs have certainly made vast changes.


> $700/hr attorneys

How many hours of attorney-work should one expect to budget for?


On a criminal case? Potentially hundreds. Personally I've put in several thousand hours in legal research towards my case. The deeper you research the more you find. I'm eight years in and only recently did I find some binding case law to support some of my arguments about the police misconduct.


Are you a prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer?


They might be, but they also might be someone who has been through the "justice" system in the past. You pick up so much. Seeing the gallows is a great way to focus a man's mind. I guarantee I know more about the criminal law in Illinois than a majority of defense attorneys or prosecutors.


Did you appeal? Or reach out to the ACLU or EFF? I'll admit I'm somewhat skeptical of your account, but if true I would expect a post demonstrating so would be on the front page of this site quite quickly.


Where I live you can only appeal once you're found guilty at a trial. The case is over 8 years old now and I still haven't had trial. I would hope the appeal court would reverse, but I've had about a dozen cases wrongly denied by the appellate courts recently. The appellate courts are pretty much as biased as the trial courts, especially at the state level. The federal courts are a little bit smarter.

I've tried talking to the ACLU and EFF in the past but received no replies.


Wait, you are part to or accused in about 12 cases?!


No, only two criminal cases. The other 12 cases were civil involving detainee rights.


If the court records are public, maybe people would be interested in reading about it?


Now I'm wondering what he does for a living. Maybe he's an activist or something/.


I made money while I was in jail by suing the jail for all their rights violations. But my day job has been web development since the 90s.


Would you mind going into detail about the right violations lawsuit please? I'm very interested in how you had success and what were the specific violations.

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.


I think I filed about 60 cases in total. So, off the top of my head... one that is still ongoing is that newspapers are banned inside the Cook County Jail for "security" reasons. You actually have a Constitutional right to access newspapers under the 1st Amendment, but that doesn't stop an agency from blocking this right and then making you sue them.

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: http://archive.today/2021.10.23-004355/https://www.prisonleg...

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


Thank you for taking the time.

Retaliation for reaffirming rights. What a lovely justice system...


Sounds like you did great things for some really disadvantaged people. Until reading your comment, I had never connected the right to read newspapers with the freedom to print them.


Would you mind?


How do you make a living as an activist?



Sounds like a nightmare, but also unsurprising based on my limited experiences. I hope you are outside the statue of limitations or speedy trial window by now.


Statute of limitations only applies to charging someone, not after they've been charged.

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.


I wasn't sure if they formally charged you. My state says they have 5 years to complete the trial (or maybe initiate after charging).

Good luck!


Thank you!


> 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.

Where can I read about this distinction?



> 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.

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.


They say the difference is that you have to use your mind to give up your passwords. The 5th Amend. only protects them extracting things from your mind.


Using biometrics as password is kind of crazy. Biometrics are login. They say who you are, not some secret you know.


And yet it happens, because it's easy.

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.


Good to know. I'm am getting rid of biometrics asap


Yeah, it's a pain-in-the-ass to always have to enter a code to open your phone, but I'd rather suffer that than have the cops hold my face in front of the phone to open it up.


You can keep your eyes closed or not look at the phone. I believe iOS needs your attention to allow biometrics. And a few times it fails, it will require the password.


I guess the police would just force your eyes open. They would be allowed to drug you in this situation too.

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.


Im guessing you were not allowed to produce your own expert witness then? Or couldn’t afford it?


Right. Could not afford it. And the court is supposed to appoint one for you. The reality was that my lawyer and I were caught off-guard because the police shouldn't have been able to testify like that. My lawyer objected, but the judge overruled.


> this case turns on one of the most fundamental protections in our constitutional system: an accused person’s ability to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights without having his silence used against him.

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.

https://harronlaw.com/blog/miranda-rights-texas/

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/12-246

“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.


There's a certain irony in people thinking this was a bad decision. Let me explain:

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.


> but surely nobody would confess to a crime they didn't commit.

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.


Making a murder showed a kid admitting to murder so he could go home and watch wrestlemania.


> Anyhow, my point is that in the spirit of English Common Law, the foundational rule is that any probative evidence should be admissible.

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.


> where the US Constitution explicitly rejects English common law

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.


Wild that it never occurred to anyone that the problem might be the state-sanctioned murder, rather than the process used to justify it. A punitive justice culture truly does result in a poverty of imagination.


That probably never occurred to anyone because these same systems were implemented for non capital crimes.


Then there’s the absurd case where a defendant was found to have not invoked his 5th amendment rights by saying “I want a lawyer dawg”. The court, with laughably straight faces, decided that he might have been asking for a dog lawyer.

Courts can be shockingly corrupt.


I was skeptical, but a quick web search verified that this 100% happened - recently even, in 2017.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/11/02...

> The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a “lawyer dog,” ..

That's bad, dawg.


From reading the actual concurrence [0] I would say that, yes, it does appear from the way he quotes "lawyer dog" near the end, that the judge thought the suspect was making a flippant remark referring to a theoretical dog that is a lawyer, however, (as the quotes from the lawyers later in the WP article point out) it would seem the actual key point was that he prefaced his request for a lawyer with an 'if' clause, and the precedent is that the request must not be "ambiguous or equivocal".

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.

[0] https://www.lasc.org/opinions/2017/17KK0954.sjc.addconc.pdf


In the WaPo article, it's the DA who is saying that the request could be interpreted as subjective, not the Supreme Court justice. The relevant line in the concurrence:

> 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.


Yeah, I wasn't trying to suggest that the quotes were from the judge, just that they imply the issue that was actually being argued over in the case.


What case is that, and what court?



Tell me an appeals court was unimpressed, dawg.


I have bad news, dawg. Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear the case, effectively upholding it.


> No, by 5-4 vote.

I was curious who voted which way. I was not surprised one bit.


Share?


Sortof off topic question. I've never owned a smart phone but might get one soon assuming I can find a decent one that will run grapheneOS.

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.


<strike>Siri</strike> <em>iOS</em> has an "I'm being pulled over" keyphrase which begins recording.

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:

https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/help-im-getting-arrested/

Freedom of the Press Foundation offers this advice doc: https://freedom.press/training/mobile-security-for-activists...

(Initial misattribution corrected to iOS, not Siri.)


> Siri has an "I'm being pulled over" keyphrase which begins recording.

To clarify, it’s not a Siri feature but an iOS Shortcut (which you’ll need to download or recreate) invoked with Siri[1]. The actions and key phrase are customisable.

[1]: https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/17/21293996/siri-iphone-shor...


Thanks, corrected above.


The correct thing to do if you want your phone not to be searched is to shut it off. The tools used to search phones generally work with unpatched vulnerabilities and you don’t want to do anything that looks like tampering with evidence.

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.


Couldn't turning your phone off be seen as tampering with evidence?


If you haven't altered, destroyed, or concealed the physical phone in any way, then why would turning it off be considered tampering with evidence? Also, I believe there would be a burden to prove that some material stored on the phone would constitute "evidence." Pretty hard for the cops to do that if they can't get into the phone.


If the police are aware of this “feature”, that’s an easy contempt and destruction of evidence charge among others. I’d recommend just not doing it.


Agreed. That's why I believe it might be super handy if every or at least many phones had this in place so that you don't really stand out. At least every phone using an alternate OS. If all the mainstream operating systems had this I would expect an arms race between the OS devs and the forensics device devs.

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.


> It could be that an armed phone thief requires you to unlock your phone.

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.


This. People on this thread seem to think you'll have time to do something clever with your phone. If someone puts a loaded gun to you, like they did to us, then you're inclined to do as they say.


>Fortunately, they didn't realize that Find My iPhone persists through factory resets (nice!).

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 ?


> 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 ?

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.


> I probably would have been killed if I tried

Wow...are you comfortable sharing more details? Thanks.


You might not stand out but it would still be contempt of court. Not turning over evidence with a constitutional defense is easier to defend in court than malicious fake-compliance.


Possibly true in court at least, but I think the end user should have the option to make this decision. Maybe give them a disclaimer that says In bold red text .. "Depending on your jurisdiction you may have legal problems using this feature! Research this and consult an attorney before enabling. You have been warned". In the US this would only apply in courts. AFAIK this would not be the case when interacting with the executive branch such as law enforcement but I am no lawyer.

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.


Even if the feature warned users, Apple and Google would not be off the hook. It’s entirely possible a prosecutor will go after them for implementing a feature designed to evade police and destroy evidence.

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 would actually prefer that Apple and Google do not implement this. Even if they accept the risk, it would create an arms race between the phone developers and forensics developers assuming they don't put a back door in this feature. I would prefer this only be implemented by the alternate phone OS developers or by someone maintaining an open source add-on.

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


Define "due process".

My experience is that the courts will define/apply it however they feel like, usually to your detriment.


wouldn't the judge need to have ordered the search for it to be contempt?


Unlikely, in my courtroom experience. I would highly recommend making sure the police can't get to your data. It is unlikely you will be charged with anything. And what you get charged with if they get to your data might be 1000X worse than any minor obstruction of justice charge, depending on what sort of crime you are committing.


What crime were you charged with?


Per his other comments, he spent 8+ years in Cook County so it would almost certainly have to be first degree murder.


No. Nonviolet, victimless felony. The maximum sentence was actually 3 years in prison. So I've done almost three times the maximum sentence because I refused to plead out.

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.


I feel bad for you. The justice system in the US sucks. How did you get out ? Were you declared innocent or what ?


Paid $15,000. I have a huge ankle monitor like 4000 others in the city. I'm technically confined to my bedroom at all times now instead of a jail cell, thus I can hang out on HN.


I can't reconcile the amount of time in jail with apparently being offered a plea deal with no custody


The criminal justice system in Chicago is a total mess. None of it makes sense on any real level.

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.


It seems like it's this guy[0][1]. He was caught in a To Catch A Predator style sting and then they also found CP on his devices. Having read this article I'm interested in his claims of innocence, I'm not seeing a defence here.

[0] edit: decided this was doxing

[1] edit: decided this was doxing


Plausible deniability.


Are you joking? This is the exact opposite of plausible deniability. This feature requires premeditated user action to hide evidence in an attempt to mislead law enforcement. It is illegal.


No. I meant that “plausible deniability” is a thing, that if implemented properly will protect against these charges.


What happens when it becomes popular and police departments catch on? “plausible deniability” escalation is a two way street as others in this thread attest.


Then anybody trying to stop them from continuing this will be demonized for "trying to take away law enforcements tools needed to do their job properly" and say that this person supports terrorism and all the usual tricks to manipulate public perception.


...until the cops learn about that and add a countermeasure, then send you to jail for using it.


The idea about planting data is important. The police did all sorts of weird shit to my digital devices. Would not have known about it except that a forensic guy was taking photos in the room and accidentally caught the police in the background making changes.

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.


I don't know - but 1password absolutely does have this! Useful if you're in a scenario where you don't have the American version of human rights. You can hide stuff for a period of time


They call it "Travel Mode" (https://support.1password.com/travel-mode/).

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.


IMO, just reset the phone to factory before you head to the airport, and leave it that way as long as you are in a jurisdiction that makes you think your phone is in danger of being searched. Restore from a backup when you get home.

If you do get searched, give them the phone and let them search it.


check out the Guardian Project's PanicKit. I'm not sure if it's still in active development but it looks like what you just described.


I wonder if there'd then be a worse penalty if police were to discover you were doing this, were the wipe timer not to trigger, and if that'd be worth the risk. Definitely an interesting idea, though


There's a strong possibility that Signal is already breaking Cellebrite https://signal.org/blog/cellebrite-vulnerabilities/

>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.


I think an easier approach is not to do anything incriminating on your phone.


I for one, think we should not normalize a gestapo state and should absolutely push back on all forms of intrusion. Police have been caught planting drugs on suspects and it's really foolish to think they cannot plant digital evidence too.


"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."


Look, we live in a society where drywall dust can get you jailed for 90 days because the cops think it's drugs.

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/powdered-drywall-mistaken-fo...



Or - hear me out here - we could protect our reasonable expectation of privacy and not bend over.


If no one is testing the rights we're supposed to have, then it's unclear that we actually have them. Auditing should seem eminently sensible to all the engineers here.


It's generally advised to not talk to the police because anything can potentially be incriminating. Given that, your advice effectively becomes "don't have/use a phone in the first place," and I don't fault someone who doesn't want to settle for that.


True, but I accept the possibility that what is legal today may not be legal tomorrow and ignorance of the law is no excuse as they would say. I like having options.


Meanwhile, in the UK: https://www.hcsolicitors.co.uk/news/giving-the-police-your-p...

If a judge authorises a notice, under RIPA, you can be served a 2 year sentence for failing to disclose your phone's passcode.


In the US that would be a (search?) warrant which also comes from the judge during a police investigation and authorizes the police to get your phone's passcode under threat of prison time.

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.


Only some states have ruled that the state can force you to reveal your password. Others have ruled that the 5th amendment protects you and your passwords.


No, a search warrant does not mean you need to hand over passwords.


How does this work with physical things, like a safe locked with a passcode, or a closet locked with a key?


They'll just break it open if you won't do it for them?


I think the difference is from where the request comes - from the police during interrogation, or from the judge during trial.


The difference is also that the UK doesn't have a Fifth Amendment, and their right to remain silent is subtly but importantly different.


Indeed, in England and Wales:

"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?"[1]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_silence#Scotland


The English right is much misunderstood.

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.


You and the parent comment are referring to the same situation.

> 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.


The intent of the Bill of Rights is that all humans have those rights, and the document restrains the federal government concerning them.

So the people in the UK have the right against self-incrimination, but the state systematically violates it.


This is such a hilariously weird take on how rights work. I don't want to tar all Americans with the same brush, but I think only someone from the US could possibly have come up with this


Ideologically, this is exactly how the US Bill of Rights works.

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.


It really isn't exactly how it works though - correct me where I'm going wrong here, because I've just read all these responses and feel I must be going insane.

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


It works that way to say that these rights are _above_ the US government. The government isn’t “granting” them, and it can’t take them away. The bill of rights is descriptive, not prescriptive.

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.


> The rights listed in the Bill of Rights are unalienable, natural, and apply regardless of your citizenship status.

It's quite clear this isn't the actual policy of the US, though, given the existence of Guantanamo Bay.


I agree, I think it’s increasing important to separate the “people of the US” from the “US Government.”

The sentiment of the average citizen is much more inline with the ideals of the nation than the Nation itself is


The only requirement of an abstract definition is that it be comprehensible and internally consistent.

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.


The International Criminal Court seems like strong evidence that inalienable rights are not "weird from another country's perspective".

Particularly since they have come into conflict with the US over trying to prosecute human rights violations in the mideast.


I’m trying but I don’t understand your comment. Are you saying inalienable rights are an American idea? The US imported that idea.

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.


If the US government can selectively apply Constitutional protections to citizens and noncitizens worldwide, others should be able to claim those same rights if in a jurisdiction arguably subject to US control, presence, or influence. Not sure whether a UK citizen in the UK would qualify in that case, but I don’t find the idea absurd on its face.


You're saying that inalienable rights might exist, depending on US policy?

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.


> You're saying that inalienable rights might exist, depending on US policy?

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.


>rights are not only what are claimed, but that which can be exercised freely and without undue restraint

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".


> Inalienable rights are an abstract idea that can't exist.

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.


>You left out the first part, where I said “in practice.”

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.


I address this when I say that rights are that which is claimed, by force if necessary. That’s what keeps the entire nation intact, folks and institutions, and legal systems are just an extension of the threat of force, and the system has now bent back on itself like an ouroboros. Rights are never given. They are taken from those who would deny them us. It’s an affirmative claim about your belief system in society to say you believe in inalienable rights. It’s patriotic to believe in this common goal, in my opinion.


Remember "the French don't have a word for entrepreneur"?

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.


You really think of human rights as an exclusively American idea?

I'm not surprised you can't see what my comment is getting at


Well the idea originates with John Locke and other European Enlightenment thinkers...

Locke himself was English, so it's a real shame to see the state of human rights in the UK in 2021.


The English have done alright for philosophers, but I'm not sure human rights have ever been a particularly strong suit in the UK. Sadly it's not looking like improving any time soon


Not quite - the police have to ask a judge for authorisation, but it's not during a trial, so there is no opportunity for anyone to oppose it. It's just that there is a formal record so if the system is abused, there is evidence of the fact, extent and who is responsible.


From a legal constraint point of view yes, but from a physical laws of the universe, a cop can do whatever he pleases in that room, alone, with you, and say anything he likes about what transpired.

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...


So after serving the 2 year sentence, can they ask you again for the pass code?


You can't be convicted again for refusing to provide it, if that's what you mean


This isn't double jeopordy. If you rob a bank and serve the time for that crime, you don't get a free pass to rob more banks later because you've already served once. You get sentenced per crime.


Yes.


Here's the thing: you can have all sorts of detached, academic discussions on a forum like HN or on a blogpost about what the best thing to do is, or the most pragmatic thing, or the worst thing when dealing with a police encounter.

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.


Had a similar situation. Neighbor called cops because he saw a prowler outside his house at 2am. I woke up hearing commotion and went outside to my backyard. Nice young cop was in my yard (no fence between properties) and pointed his drawn gun right at me. My hands went up and I stopped moving. Probably even stopped breathing.

It was a terrible situation for everyone.

No prowler was caught.


A police officer compels you to turn over a password at gunpoint. You do so in an act of self preservation. Will any evidence acquired as a result be admissable in court?


It depends. The password would be suppressed because it was coerced from you, but the police can now say they would have obtained your data anyway through another method, and then the court will let them use the data.

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.


2048-bit AES encryption? Considering AES usually is 128bit and sometimes 256bit, that's a tall order. In fact, can you even call it AES with a straight face if you are dealing with 2048bit keys? AFAIK the AES standard only covers 128/192/256 bit keys.


This is my fault for not checking before I typed. It is AES with a 256-bit key. It was Microsoft Bitlocker.


Isn't the key issue what your password was, though? If your password was "123", then they probably could have cracked it regardless of how strong the encryption was.


The password was secure. The prosecutor did have a forensic guy come in who was very honest and talked about the techniques he uses at the FBI for cracking passwords, e.g. dictionary attacks. The problem was that the police were also allowed to testify and their non-expert testimony was allowed in the trial court even though they are not experts in the subject.


Well if the officer lies and says you gave it willingly, I imagine yes!


If you are rich enough to pay a top defense lawyer, probably the whole case gets thrown out on that technicality.


Just as our forefathers intended I'm sure


Right on the money. Have been there, done that.

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!


You're right. A corrupt cop is unstoppable, especially one with a corrupt municipality supporting their behavior.

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.


This is why, in a just society, the penalties for corruption and abuse of power for LEOs should be extreme. Same goes for elected officials I suppose, but abuse of the state's threat of violence is antithetical to a free society.


This is why, in a just society, the penalties for corruption and abuse of power for LEOs should be extreme. Same goes for elected officials I suppose, but abuse of the state's threat of violence is antithetical to a free society.

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.


Sure, just passing federal legislation wouldn't fix this for the US. This country has a police culture problem that needs to be addressed, which, like any cultural problem, has no single quick fix. I don't know the way to fix things.


100% with you. I don't like it, and I'm not condoning a "let it slide attitude". I protest, I vote for reform, I get peppersprayed, I worry when cops drive behind me that my face popped up on some alt-right hit list for going to protests...


> 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.

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.


No we don't.

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.


Honestly, I live in a country with 4 times more homicides than the US after adjusting for population. Our laws state very clearly that the police does not get much extra immunity either (although, corruption gets in the way there), and our courts have no trouble at all to discard any piece of information the police acquires while they have a gun pointed at somebody's head.

I really don't understand how the US justice system works the way it does.


The police in the US can point a gun at you and get you to comply, but if you think the courts are going to accept evidence collected while that gun is unholstered, then you definitely don't understand the justice system here. That's probably the single easiest win for a defense attorney in court.


In many of these cases its your word against the cop's word. Guess whose side the justice system takes...


Yes, a police officer is considered an officer of the court [1]. His exposure to consequences for lying is higher than the average citizen under oath. Given two conflicting statements that cannot be resolved with evidence, it isn't a surprise that the judge is going to defer to the cop.

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/officer_of_the_court


It should be surprising that they defer to the cop. That's basically assuming that one is guilty without proving it. At a minimum, it should objectively provide reasonable doubt.

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.


Are you talking about a judge, or a jury? An officer of the court is compelled to tell the truth, under oath or not. A jury is not required to give an officer of the court any more weight than they give to anyone else.


The trooper lied to "the court", twice. It was a bench trial. Both lies took place in front of the magistrate with no jury present. I have documentation that shows the statement were factually incorrect and that for one of those statements he said the opposite a few minutes beforehand and the evidence supports the out-of-court statement.


Following this conversation, it reminds me of the film 'The Chicago Seven' regarding the problems within the court, and the judge's inherent bias for the officers.


Well, the downside of calling them judges is that sometimes they make a call we don't agree with. Maybe legitimately, maybe not. But it isn't necessarily evidence of a systemic problem, even if it is entirely unjust for you.


What does that have to do with a cop lying in court and continuing to be a cop after that? Judges won't be able to make just decisions if lying cops are allowed to continue to be cops. Allowing garbage-in-garbage-out seems like a systemic issue to me.

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.


Do you mind just explaining in simple terms what actually happened? I'm not really following. Do you have a hidden audio recording of him outside court or something?


The situation would require a book, but here's the simplest I can do, yet it will miss many of the more detailed legal points and citations.

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.


> consequences for lying is higher than the average citizen

This has never stoped them from lying, since they already know who will be believed.


Why do US people always put so much emphasis on never talking to the police?

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.


> Why do US people always put so much emphasis on never talking to the police?

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.


Why do US people always put so much emphasis on never talking to the police?

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 live in a country with 4 times more homicides than the US after adjusting for population

I didn't know there was such a place?


Can't tell if this is genuine bewilderment, or just more of the usual "USA is full of dangerous murderers" meme to dunk on the country as a whole, but just in case:

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.


Yeah, if you want a soundbyte explanation of why the US is a carceral state (which it really is), then it's because we have the expectations for law and order of a small Swiss village, but the criminality of a Brazilian port city (exagerrated for humorous effect, but not really).

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.


> tough policing

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?


The US intentional homicide rate per capita is ~5/100k. Many countries are much higher. Venezuela in comparison has a 7x higher murder rate. El Salvador leads the world at 10x the US murder rate.


I guess I wasn't clear enough with my comment. I was talking about US citizens. We have exactly the police we vote for, every single election. Yes, there are loud people online who wish it wasn't so, but when people get into the privacy of the ballot box they reliably vote for "law & order".


I don’t remember voting on laws related to police immunity or them carrying weapons or anything allowing them to act as if they have a permission to kill.

Could you provide some examples of anything on the ballot that influenced police behavior?


That is entirely dependent on your local voting system, not every place in the US has citizen initiatives on the ballot AFAIK. But it's a representative democracy anyway, so you vote for polices by who gets your vote.

Sure, a lot of people just vote party line. But a lot of local elections are non-partisan.


A lot of elections only have one candidate.


Because the voters have accepted the representatives that chose them.


The people do not choose to have one option. The candidates decide to run or not!

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.


> Have you ever belonged to a club or nonprofit or something?

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.


>Voter apathy is a depressing fact

Fine, but isn't it true that candidates are needed before voter apathy is relevant?


I absolutely agree. To me, these are two sides of the same coin; candidates are recruited from the pool of voters and since the voters are not interested anymore, there are fewer and fewer candidates.

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?


No one is complaining against "law & order". The whole thread is about police misuse of power. You really don't see the difference?


I'm not sure what you think this line of discussion was about, but having a cop point a gun at you because he thinks you are possibly in the process of committing a felony is not a misuse of police power.

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.


>having a cop point a gun at you because he thinks you are possibly in the process of committing a felony is not a misuse of police power

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.


Having a cop point a gun at you because he thinks you are possibly in the process of committing a felony is reason enough for suspension in many European countries like Germany and Switzerland, for example.

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.


> [D]on't most people want it to be exactly that way?

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.


American society created this situation because of its obtuse laws, which give anyone the power to carry guns. In this scenario, police is also forced to have guns and to assume that anyone can have a gun. It is a spiral to hell.


I agree 100%. As someone who owns guns, I don't want to have them taken away. But I don't want criminals to have them. Personally I would give up mine if everyone else did, including the police, but that isn't going to happen. And at this point there are so many guns in the US that I'm not sure what a realistic solution is. Even if we could get past the politics, mass confiscation would probably be ineffective (to make it work would require the use of significantly more force than US citizens will accept and far more police than we have, or near universal compliance).


I have no idea how things really work in e.g. Switzerland or Israel, but one can imagine a stylized regime where every healthy adult undergoes military training, serves for a period of time, learns to use a rifle which they keep, and all other guns are heavily restricted or outlawed, especially handguns. And the rest of the military can be dispensed with.

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.


The hard thing about making guns illegal is that criminals will still have them...


This cliché bugs me, because it is repeated so much, and it is generic - you can say "if you make X illegal, only criminals will have X" about anything and it's just as obtuse.

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.


It isn't obtuse. Maybe you could try making your argument in a less inflammatory way, and those with a different view from yours could see if there's a way to understand one another?


You seem to be objecting to both the tone and the actual meaning of the word. Since I stand by the meaning, perhaps there is a better way to express it. But if you still disagree with the meaning, perhaps you could elaborate.

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?


You are interpreting the phrase specifically in a way as to make it a tautology, rather than responding to the "strongest plausible interpretation" as required by the site guidelines.

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.


I didn't mean to express that the outcome was good or bad.

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.


I do not disagree with you, and I don't see that you disagree with me. The majority of people prefer the status quo. That strikes me as a tautology.

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.


> The majority of people prefer the status quo. That strikes me as a tautology.

That is definitely not a tautology. It is common that the majority of people views the status quo as undesirable.


Maybe there are two different concepts of "prefer".

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.


> The status quo is likely to always be some sort of local maxima/minima.

No, that's still not true.


If people can make small changes independently to get to a better state, what accounts for them not doing so?

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.


I disagree with you that it is a majority (perhaps a slim one but I doubt it), or that that would be meaningful. The reality we are discussing is, indeed, a grim one.


This whole 250 comment thread is basically people discussing what they'd do or what you should do when finding yourself in a police encounter. My counterpoint is that none of that discussion actually applies.

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.


I agree with you, everyone wants the cops to be be all powerful, because everyone assumes they will never be on the business end of that gun.

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.


The danger is that the policeman in question may not be all that interested in the truth of the situation, only in catching a "bad guy". So even if you are innocent they may assume you are guilty and look for anything at all that would get a conviction.

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.


This is a very USian take. There are many countries in the world where people aren't scared to death when police come knock on their door. There are many countries where police officers are actually scared of using their weapon. In these countries it helps to know the law and how to deal with these situations.


Yep. Where I live it's very rare for cops to use their guns, and when it happens, you hear about it in the news. And if it wasn't just a warning shot to the air, you're going to hear about it again when they try to find out whether the gun use was justified.


I'm guessing that where you live, guns have been effectively outlawed. Imagine arming your citizens to the teeth, what affect do you think that would have on your police?


"Impunity"

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.

https://reason.com/2020/05/19/qualified-immunity-supreme-cou...


I'm not frightened at all when the police come knock on my door. Why do you think that's normal in the US?

> 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.


If every time you fire your weapon you are brought before a review board that treats firearm discharge as a serious matter and may lose your job if you acted in a panic or without reasonable justification then it's going to make you think twice about blasting that perp that maybe twitched his arm when you told him to hand over his driver's license and registration.


If you define "most people" as the people with the most economic power, then yes, because the police are their enforcers. Then you have middle-class types who have been inundated with pro-police information for their entire lives, and who usually aren't on the business end of the gun. Most of them are on board too, obviously. But you're still missing some very large demographics there.


> But you're still missing some very large demographics there.

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.


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