That said, defense attorneys really need to be on the lookout for cases like this, where only vague references to confidential sources of information are disclosed. If they know the tell-tale signs, they can ask the judge to issue orders during discovery that will put the prosecutor in the position of either being held in contempt of court or disclosing to the defense the specific illegal tactics the police used.
Duh. It is a good thing that law enforcement can examine texts and phone calls, unencrypted and encrypted. However, it is unacceptable that doing so is hidden to the courts.
1. IMSI catchers are used constantly, without warrant and maybe even without any administrative oversight. The discloseed use is the tip of some giant iceberg of surveillance. Revealing the use of IMSI catchers would imply the giant iceberg, even if we don't know where it is.
2. There's some kind of Freudian shame/concealment issue at the DoJ. They know it's un-American (and it is!) but they can't stop doing it for some reason. So, they hide its use.
My money is on a combination of 2 & 3.
I don't care how valuable it is. If it is used by government agencies in a manner that breaks the law, wait, numerous laws and rights, then that implies those agencies feel they are above the law. Once such agencies that enforce the law are no longer beholden to it, things tend to fall apart.
I don't believe that most cops out there actually have an intent to do evil, or to trample your rights though. They deal with criminal after criminal after criminal, I think their perspective is more likely that these tools and methods help solve cases quicker and there-for save taxpayer money and that us civilians aren't able to see that perspective.
I think that they aren't aware of the long term implications of what they're doing and that they should stop, but also that it's important not to think of them as evil if you want to have a dialogue with them about change.
There's no nothing wrong with starting a dialogue with "hey! this thing you are doing is wrong!" and I will continue to do so. I try not to judge too harshly on just that though. I hold back the anger in reserve to see how they react once it starts coming to light. Covering up the existence of potential wrongdoing, keep in mind the courts could likely say the tactic is legal, does not bode well for appearances.
There is value to freedom of association, but it shouldn't be assumed that it's valuable because the Constitution says so. The same logic can be applied reversely -- there is value to curtailing freedom of association.
"It's only illegal if you get caught" seems to be the mantra of the DoJ in this case -- stonewall and distract rather than address the legality of illegal activities.
The wonderful thing we mostly have going in the USA is destroyed by these individuals who pretend to be protecting it. The ends do not justify the means.
When you combine this with the secret transatlantic talks for the proliferation of extremely large multinational corporations and the rapid militarization of the police, it almost feels as if there might be a coup being slowly but silently executed right under our noses.
And no one cares. I did my first stand up set and had a joke about going to an ACLU meeting, and no one even knows what the ACLU is.
As scary as it, I certainly understand, that it is not as bad here as many places, but that doesn't mean I can't be concerned with the recent developments.
I just hope the American spirit will shine through one day and turn all of this around. The house passing to defund back door NSA research is heartening at least. Lets see what happens in the Senate.
- Orwell feared the truth would be actively concealed. Check.
- Huxley feared distractions would be so great that no one (or very few people) would care to seek the truth. Check.
- Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Check.
- Huxley feared we would become obsessed with consumerism and preoccupied with distraction. Check.
- Orwell assumed we would be controlled by inflicting pain. Check (foreign policy).
- Huxley assumed we would be controlled by inflicting pleasure. Check (domestic news cycle, reality TV, lack of education.)
Both had valid points and we're seeing both approaches being used. So where we end up, I have no idea... where we are isn't great.
Talking points from this great comic strip: "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Stuart McMillen, from 2009: http://flycl.ps/SXHdFP
Talking points from this great book: "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman, from 1985: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusing_ourselves_to_death
And divide and conquer politics [Animal Farm]
I think the reason this is working so well is the marketing.
Almost no one goes out and admits that the domestic usage is partially to catch people violating "social norm" laws [marijuana bad; alcohol good], and keep an eye on things that are highly political [e.g. Occupy Wall Street].
I think the average person assumes "because MURICA" that doesn't happen.
The average American has almost assumed the government to be perfect except for the few parts it dislikes and doesn't want to look more deeply to realize that other people have pointed out just as valid criticisms of other parts of the government.
What we end up with is a majority of people (say 80%) that all dislike a different small part of the government and think the rest of this group is complaining for no reason or should just accept the way things are.
We see this with things like teachers not liking the state-run testing but refusing to acknowledge that the state's interference with drug policies is having an equal if not greater impact.
No one is satisfied but everyone has a different problem.
We've become closed minded in being open minded. Once we decide we're open minded to one thing we feel that's enough and turn a blind eye to the rest.
Concealed carry is also very big, although a lot of that seems to be driven by an aging population, plus I think the media's perfervid portrayal of crime while actual rates are going down in most places.
So overall purchases are up.
However, the number of households with guns is down:
So I think you is mistaken in that gun ownership is increasing as a share of the population in a major way.
Doing the math is a lot more productive; I don't know about the above (since I can't read it!), but when I ran the numbers on another gun-grabber claim of the sort at around the same time, it implied we gun owners have now, on average, accumulated gun collections worth more than $100,000. That obviously doesn't pass the smell test, especially N years into the Great Recession.
So you are saying more people lie about owning a gun to a nosy stranger than they did over the past 40 years?
It also isn't a democrat or republican issue. The growth in gun purchases began in 2002.
Since it won't let me reply yet:
"But by the mid-2000s, the federal government stopped asking the questions, leaving researchers to rely on much smaller surveys, like the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC, a research center at the University of Chicago.
Measuring the level of gun ownership can be a vexing problem, with various recent national polls reporting rates between 35 percent and 52 percent. Responses can vary because the survey designs and the wording of questions differ.
But researchers say the survey done by the center at the University of Chicago is crucial because it has consistently tracked gun ownership since 1973, asking if respondents “happen to have in your home (or garage) any guns or revolvers.”
The center’s 2012 survey, conducted mostly in person but also by phone, involved interviews with about 2,000 people from March to September and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Gallup, which asks a similar question but has a different survey design, shows a higher ownership rate and a more moderate decrease. No national survey tracks the number of guns within households."
Key flaw here is the fact it doesn't track nationwide [and there isn't one, even by the NRA and other gun rights groups].
The article itself shows a decline from about 50% to about 30%. I don't think reading the rest would really help you pick apart what I've said.
Well, point me at a source I can read, or quote the relevant parts, or email me them (see my profile). Or just tell me which polling outfit did it, e.g. Gallup puts this sort of stuff on-line and without a paywall.
"So you are saying more people lie about owning a gun to a nosy stranger than they did over the past 40 years?"
See above WRT my not being able to know what you're asking, but I wouldn't be at all surprised by such a trend, though I'd really like to look at the endpoints; also note phone surveys have had an increasing problem with just getting people to even answer questions of any sort. The errors in all too many election based surveys ought to give you pause in taking this claim so far.
And, as I said, the math doesn't work. That should be enough to falsify this claim.
"It also isn't a democrat or republican issue. The growth in gun purchases began in 2002."
Which just might be why I said in my original posting above that "it started post-9/11, I believe because the government made it clear we were on our own".
Either way, it lines up perfectly with what I just said. Those buying these rifles are a vocal minority. Most Americans see them as a problem and want stricter gun laws, or safety switches on guns. They fail to realize that this group's plight parallels with the plights of the groups they do stand behind.
Russian Mosin Nagants are the very last set. They're no longer dirt cheap, and looking at gunbroker.com right now, they might be starting to move from the general price of $150. Quality time spent at the website of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF, they're the true gun industry lobby, http://www.nssf.org/) will get you the details, plus NICS instant background check numbers for purchases of all guns from gun shops, which have been amazing and further reinforce my point (and are a lot simpler, a single monthly figure).
Ammo is also still in iffy supply for rifles and handguns.
Seriously, I've watched this market since the early '70s, and know at least the general history in the 20th Century, and nothing like it has ever happened before.
"Most Americans see them as a problem"
Do you have a reliable source for that? As opposed to generic polls that say "Crime is bad, should there be stricter laws?" when even many gun owners don't know the current purchasing strictures, vs. "This Colorado law will make it illegal for you to leave your guns with a friend before your house is flooded" (the latter is not a hypothetical, BTW, but a recent event), "Do you approve of that?"
What I'm referencing above is very hard info, for new and imported guns with a granularity of 1 (every single one is reported), revealed preferences if you like.
The very self-evident political power of gun owners suggest we're something more than what you associate with the term "vocal minority".
"safety switches on guns"
What do you mean by that? With the exception of some single shot target rifles, and hard trigger pull self-defense oriented double action, or loathsome striker fired handguns like the ubiquitous Glock, which the gun grabbers are not demanding get manual safeties, I'm not aware of any that don't have a safety that prevents firing when the trigger is pulled.
ADDED: In your OP you said "*The average American has almost assumed the government to be perfect except for the few parts it dislikes..." and expounded on that thesis. I think what I'm claiming strongly cuts against that, however that's based on my belief that more than half of the nation's households have guns vs. what I think you're implying, so I think our models of "the average American" are different.
The only difference I can think of is the time span. This seems to be a long haul kind of game as opposed to the traditional military coups of past (and present).
I'm disagreeing about their being a transfer of power at this stage. There is no power transfer.
The basic power blocks already existed in their current form, were the primary source of money for politicians, etc. since the 1980s [at the latest].
Transfer implies they are taking power away from people. They aren't. They are merely utilizing the power they already have to tighten their hold on it to make it harder to transfer power away from them.
I don't think this is even truly a new phenomena. It is just with Globalization, Internet, etc. the power blocks are so large that they span the entire world rather than just a single country.
I didn't notice any changes in this after the post-Watergate "reforms", which happened not long after I became politically aware.
Globalization is ancient in American economic history, was very big in the 19th Century, and e.g. for the world, it didn't return to pre-WWI levels until a frighteningly later time, I can't remember when, but within my lifetime (which I suppose I should point out started when Eisenhower was president (barely)).
And I agree, this is a consolidation period. But I believe it's build on a foundation of sand, e.g. there is not an infinite hunger for US government debt at negative real interest rates, we're just the "least worst" place to put your money for the foreseeable future.
That is why I added the 'at the latest' bit. I didn't want people to get hung up arguing over a date.
> And I agree, this is a consolidation period. But I believe it's build on a foundation of sand, e.g. there is not an infinite hunger for US government debt at negative real interest rates, we're just the "least worst" place to put your money for the foreseeable future.
It is not purely the US government doing consolidating. The trade treaties the US negotiates are really bought and paid for by US multinationals.
China is also consolidating power as it slowly opens itself to the world market and seeks to displace the US's hegemony.
I'm sure you can even argue the EU "One Market" is the same type of political-economic consolidation.
This is the real trick for our leaders (or usurpers or whoever they are). Keeping a chicken in every pot and two cars in each garage.
They start failing at this and suddenly the citizenry might miraculously become concerned about "rights" and "liberty". And... I might point out, in spite of NSA, in spite of a possibly doctored political process, in spite of police departments with tanks... an unhappy and hungry citizenry, especially one that can still vote, has never been good for those in charge of society.
This crap should result in RICO charges and jail time for all parties that knew of this coverup and didn't try to stop it.
In reality, the federal government comes in and helps them cover up. Real life beats fiction. Even the power-driven characters in that satire knew the limits, and here is the real government one-upping them.
But I doubt there would be any prosecutions on this because the people to prosecute such things are the the people who benefit from the technology.
In my mind, they are simply lying about an illegal wiretap, and "this has not been challenged" only because the lie was taken as truth. But I'd guess the exact phrase was well-crafted by a lawyer who thought this alternate "plain English" interpretation would work as a defense. I'm doubtful a judge would view this charitably, but as you say, a prosecution where we find this out seems unlikely.
If a person is a defendant then that person has the right to face all the evidence being used against them. If the defendant feels that a certain part of evidence gathering was done illegally then they have the ability to question that gathering in court, of which the court will decide the legality of the gathering method. If the prosecution has the ability to conceal methods of evidence gathering then that means the defendant has no recourse.
If a person is under investigation, the police use a method to locate and/or track the suspect, and that method ultimately leads to an arrest because of where they happen to be while being located and/or tracked then I feel it should be included as evidence.
But I'm not familiar with court cases concerning such technology so it's possible that all this has already been decided and I just haven't heard of it.
So vote to acquit for all crimes. Period. The damage that one or two or even dozens of criminals will cause is much less than that caused by a government that believes itself righteous when it undermines fundamental human liberties.
Unless it's a homicide, there's likely to be a victim eyewitness. Or surveillance cameras in areas where the accused has no presumption of privacy. There's also forensic evidence, which in the case of DNA is sufficiently strong in my judgement.
Unless you're inclined to dismiss the latter because you've decided the system is so corrupt even that is in doubt. But I'd hope "enough" crimes of violence can be judged safely that the deterrent effect of convictions and punishment remains.
Even criminals have rights, and they have the right to hear all evidence against them. Only then can they possibly dispute it.
Jurors who rightly believe that not all evidence was presented or at least scrutinized by the defense have a moral obligation to acquit. If this happened enough, our government would soon be forced to act more responsibly.
So either lie, but know that you are lying and accept the risk, or tell them "yes" when they ask you that.
If the phone knows that it's not moving very fast (Androids certainly know this, I'm sure iPhones can as well), and a new cell phone tower appears suddenly, it seems to me that would be a good indicator somebody is stingraying nearby. (this isn't bulletproof, but would be a good starting point for further data analysis)
An app like this could record and report such incidents, so that we could form a larger picture of how often and how widely it's used.
Differentiating between them and stingrays would be difficult, especially since the baseband chips in your phone are proprietary technology that can lie to the host OS (iOS, Android, etc).
However there are already projects for real-time mapping of cell towers on a national basis, which is a good start, but they will always be a step behind the US Government (for example).
Who told me I should not call and cancel the cell phone yet, because 'they had ways' of tracking it's use, wink wink, but we can't really tell you about the details, wink wink.
Honestly, if he had left out the smirking and "we can't tell you about the details", it probably wouldn't have occured to me that there was anything odd here, sure, the cops can issue a warrant or some such paperwork and get records from the phone company probably, who knows.
But with all the winking and smirking, I thought, geez, what the fuck, he says it's not supposed to be public information but he's telling me about it... should I, like, get in touch with the ACLU about this or something? I never did though.