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4th Amendment Summary by the EFF

Can you refuse search or not? It would be good to know your rights.
(Image is in the Public Domain)

You can't use rights you don't know about or don't understand. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a summary of your 4th amendment rights to deny the government permission to search you or your belongings (digital or otherwise).

It's good to know what you can and can't do since you should know that even when you've done nothing wrong, you may still get yourself into a lot of trouble if you are careless with your privacy.

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TSA Nude Scanners Coming To American Malls

You're kidding, right?



What now?

A Yahoo article says that because women's cloths sizing is hard, they're going to nude scan them to figure out what they can wear. Seriously!?

Ms. Shaw, the entrepreneur, is chief executive of a company called MyBestFit that addresses the problem. It is setting up kiosks in malls to offer a free 20-second full-body scan — a lot like the airport, minus the pat-down alternative that T.S.A. agents offer.

Lauren VanBrackle, 20, a student in Philadelphia, tried MyBestFit when she was shopping last weekend.

“I can be anywhere from a 0 at Ann Taylor to a 6 at American Eagle,” she said. “It obviously makes it difficult to shop.” This time, the scanner suggested that at American Eagle, she should try a 4 in one style and a 6 in another. Ms. VanBrackle said she tried the jeans on and was impressed: “That machine, in a 30-second scan, it tells you what to do.”

That's cute. A strip search in the name of getting something to wear? So instead of wasting millions on this disrobing plan, why not standardize women's clothing and use inch measurements like men's clothes? How's that for an idea?

How long until someone hacks these poorly protected machines to record copies of all women scanned and the photos show up on the Internet? Will you put your teenage daughters in them?

This is so, so stupid, I can't believe it's actually true. I really hope this doesn't catch on because if it does, my faith in humanity will suffer yet again.

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Police Calm Rioting Teens Peacefully With Ice Cream Music

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This is much better than beatings and bullets:

Nursery rhymes set to music are deeply uncool. Just ask the bottle-throwing teenagers on the Twinbrook estate on outskirts of west Belfast. Ice cream music was played to them as they misbehaved and it stopped them.

The rest of the article talks about how they were trying to solve the issue with humor and not violence, and yet these police heroes instead got scolded by their command. Not only was this awesome, there are many other examples where a non-violent solution was effective.

Further down in the article is an example where a Los Angeles gang was removed from an area by renaming the street "Gay Street" and "Pansy Square". A commenter mentions that a New York bus terminal was cleaned up by playing classical music instead of rock. And of course there's the Arizona sheriff who found that making prisoners wear pink underwear made them less likely to fight each other.

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New York Cop’s Online Persona Used Against Him In Court

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Whether or not the officer in question really did use excessive force, the main point here is that the things you write about online can come back to haunt you in the most unexpected ways.

Officer Ettienne said he is now being careful to mask his identity on the Web and that he has curbed his tongue because of the acquittal. "I feel it's partially my fault, he said. It paints a picture of a person who could be overly aggressive. You put that together, it's reasonable doubt in anybody's mind."

Even your "private" Facebook or Myspace account isn't so private under the force of a subpoena.

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Child Predators Shifting to Blackmail

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It seems that online predators are getting tired of savvy kids that know better than to be lured (or they're just getting lazy/impatient). Either way, one police group is warning that predators are shifting to a strategy of blackmail instead.

As always, be aware of what your kids are doing online and know who their friends are. Make sure they know what to do when threatened by someone online.

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Never Talk To The Police

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Schneier covers two videos explaining why it's a bad idea to say anything to police when arrested or investigated.

The first video is a law school professor explaining why he's proud to say he will never talk to a police officer under any circumstances. Here are some highlights:

  • There are tens of thousands of federal crimes. Many of which are so broad, you could be convicted under completely bogus circumstances.
  • Example: If the IRS just wants to "Ask you a few questions" you say no unless they grant you immunity
  • There is NO way it can help you. But even if you tell the absolute truth and are totally innocent, there are many ways it can hurt you.

The neat thing is that he gave up half his time to an expert law-enforcement interviewer. The second video is of that expert interviewer explaining some of the tips and tricks he uses to get people to talk. Highlights include:

  • Any cop can follow you for a time and find a legitimate violation to pull you over for
  • He'll come into the room with a stack of papers with a videotape on top (so they think there's a video) and just start doing paperwork. Because people hate silence, eventually the suspect will start talking
  • He brings in a tape recorder and eventually says, "I want to talk to you off the record" and he turns it off. The thing is there's no such thing as "off the record" and every word in an interrogation room is recorded.
  • While you may technically be innocent until proven guilty, a jury assumes that if you're sitting next to a defense attorney, you have a reason to be there.
  • If you didn't know already, police are allowed to lie in interviews

The last thing he stressed which seemed supported by the rest of his talk was that he never tries to send an innocent person to jail. Which so long as the interviewer your talking to has that same viewpoint is very comforting. Since you can't know their intentions, I think it's safer to take the first guy's advice and not talk to the police without representation.

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GPS Beats Radar Gun

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Here's a new twist on how having a tracking GPS in your car can be a GOOD thing. A teenager who was pulled over for speeding was able to prove that he was following the speed limit using the tracking data from his GPS unit.

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Red Light Cameras Scandal

Adjust the cams, get fines
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Of course, this has been suspected/known for a long time, but Ars Technica covers the story of cities that seem to be changing the timing of traffic lights to ever shorter durations in order to increase revenues from red light cameras.

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Police Interested in Fines, Not Safety

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A city that found that the red light cameras made motorists more cautious resulting in less tickatable offenses turned them off.

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Go to Facebook and You’ll Never Escape

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The New York Times is running an article about Facebook's data retention issues. If you post to Facebook, even if you delete your account later, they keep the data available for public viewing.

It took Mr. Das about two months and several e-mail exchanges with Facebook’s customer service representatives to erase most of his information from the site, which finally occurred after he sent an e-mail threatening legal action. But even after that, a reporter was able to find Mr. Das’s empty profile on Facebook and successfully sent him an e-mail message through the network.
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