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"Respectfully officer, I don't have to answer that."

Infographic for the next time a cop pulls you over. (via Infographic Pics)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 14, 2014 - 125 comments

The FBI, the NSA and your phone records in 2013.

Glenn Greenwald has produced a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over to the NSA "telephony metadata" of all local and international calls either originating or terminating in the United States on an "ongoing, daily basis," and further barring Verizon from disclosing to the public the fulfillment of this request or the existence of the court order itself. The ACLU refers to the practice as "beyond Orwellian." Direct link to the court order available here. [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Jun 6, 2013 - 488 comments

DHS Checkpoint Refusals

Here's a Youtube video of people refusing to submit to questioning and searches by the Department of Homeland Security and California's produce checkpoints. [more inside]
posted by deborah on Feb 27, 2013 - 122 comments

Kentucky v. King revisited

Remember Kentucky v. King from last year? The mis-reported conclusion was that police could enter a home without a warrant to prevent destruction of evidence based on hearing movement after knocking. A week ago the supreme court of Kentucky published (pdf) its revisiting of the case given instructions from the US supreme court, and found in favor of King (via): [more inside]
posted by a robot made out of meat on May 3, 2012 - 13 comments

Supreme Court Gives Officers Unlimited Strip Search Power

In admitting that they have no expertise in running a corrections system, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that officers have unfettered authority to conduct full strip searches of any arrested individual, even for the most minor of offenses and in situations where officers lack any suspicion of contraband. The ruling comes days after the NY Times ran an analysis suggesting that the current supreme court is the most conservative court in modern history.
posted by GnomeChompsky on Apr 2, 2012 - 78 comments

United States v. Jones

In a unanimous decision [PDF], the Supreme Court has ruled on United States v. Jones and found that placement of a GPS tracker on a car by police is a violation of the fourth amendment—but is the ruling as clear-cut as it seems? [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign on Jan 23, 2012 - 35 comments

1st Circuit Upholds Right to Record Police in Public

The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals has held that recording police officers performing their duties in public is a "clearly established first amendment right". [more inside]
posted by epsilon on Aug 31, 2011 - 132 comments

KENTUCKY v. KING

How “secure” do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and, on hearing sounds indicative of things moving, forcibly enter and search for evidence of unlawful activity?
Supreme Court OKs More Warrantless Searches [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 17, 2011 - 305 comments

Supreme Court: Suppressing fruit since 1920

Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal term used to describe illegally gained evidence. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is as well.

For the uninitiated, such terms used as described make for odd introductions to supreme court arguments (PDF warning) [more inside]
posted by AndrewKemendo on Apr 13, 2011 - 26 comments

Beginning of the end of the Stored Communications Act?

A shady "male enhancement" peddler is the unlikely subject of a landmark case holding that e-mails are not subject to warrantless searches. [more inside]
posted by *s on Dec 16, 2010 - 15 comments

A person...loses a reasonable expectation of privacy in emails...after the email is sent to and received by a third party.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rules that once emails have been received by a third party, no Fourth Amendment protection applies to any copies. In Rehburg v. Paulik, among other claims, Charles Rehburg alleged a violation of his constitutional rights by the improper subpoena of his emails from his ISP. Last week, the Eleventh Circuit ruled against him: [more inside]
posted by PMdixon on Mar 15, 2010 - 46 comments

Niagara County Judge: tasing a suspect into compliance with DNA test = okay

A new twist in the controversy over the (ab)use of tasers. A judge in Niagara County, NY has decided that tasing a suspect who refused to submit to DNA testing was a reasonable use of force. Ryan Smith, accused of robbery and kidnapping, already submitted one sample, which was contaminated when the government sent it to the wrong laboratory, and refused to give one a second time. The police asked a prosecutor what to do. His response: they could use force to get the sample, but as little as possible. So they tased Smith, who then submitted to the buccal swab. [more inside]
posted by R_Nebblesworth on Jun 5, 2009 - 157 comments

Curfew is declared in a 10 block area of a small Arkansas town

Curfew is declared in a 10 block area of a small Arkansas town. [more inside]
posted by Daddy-O on Aug 13, 2008 - 90 comments

"The phrase 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help' will become even more terrifying."

On December 18, 2004, Ascension Alverez-Tejeda and his girlfriend were stopped at a traffic light near La Pine Oregon, and when the light turned green, the car in front of them stalled. Alverez-Tejeda stopped in time but a pickup truck behind him rear-ended him. When he got out to look at his bumper, the police showed up and arrested the truck driver for drinking and driving. The cops then convinced Alverez-Tejeda and his girlfriend to go to a nearby parking lot, ordered them out of their car and into in the back of the cop car for 'processing.' While they were in the cruiser, a person jumped in their car and took off. The cops ordered the pair out and set off in full pursuit up the road.

But it was all a set up worthy of David Mamet. DEA agents were tracking a drug gang and. . .decided to stage something, perhaps even a carjacking, in order to seize the drugs without tipping off the conspirators. They never consulted a judge, but every person in the story, other than Alverez-Tejeda and his girlfriend, was a cop of some sort.
posted by EarBucket on Jun 9, 2007 - 71 comments

Can you hear me now?

Illegal wiretaps to end.
posted by EarBucket on Jan 17, 2007 - 53 comments

Feel secure in your papers and effects?

Someone might be reading your mail.
posted by EarBucket on Jan 4, 2007 - 73 comments

Self-examination from the Fourth Estate — "Yep, still there."

"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government." Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
posted by Mr. Six on Jun 26, 2006 - 58 comments

McLaughlin v. Commonwealth

Cop stops car and sees a gun and home-burned CDs in the car. The CDs made him suspicious so he searched the car for more pirated CDs. Was this a proper search? (pdf version).
posted by exogenous on Jun 2, 2006 - 42 comments

We don't need no stinkin' warrants!

The Supreme Court ruled a week ago that police may enter a private home without a warrant to break up a fight. Does this have any bearing on the War On Terror? Some people think so.
posted by EarBucket on May 29, 2006 - 49 comments

...but who watches the watchers

The Eternal Value of Privacy excellent article by Bruce Schneier.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi on May 19, 2006 - 13 comments

Orwell was an optimist

Wired article about the hardware/technology the NSA is allegedly using at AT&T's San Franscisco switching office to eavesdrop on our internet communications. The Electronic Freedom Foundation is suing AT&T over it. The administration doesn't want that to happen. Previous MeFi|Related ACLU case
posted by i_am_a_Jedi on May 17, 2006 - 35 comments

Please don’t let the cops in the house while I’m at the store.

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-3 decision (.pdf) that police may not search a home if any inhabitant of the home is present and objects to the search, even if another inhabitant consents. The Court drew what it acknowledged is a “fine line” – if a co-inhabitant is at the door and objects, the police can’t enter; but if the co-inhabitant is somewhere else – even in a nearby police car – and has no opportunity to object, then police don’t need his or her consent. Chief Justice Roberts issued his first written dissent, blasting the majority’s “random” and “arbitrary” rule and suggesting that the ability of police to respond to domestic violence threats could be compromised. The zingers in the footnotes may reveal “strains behind the surface placidity and collegiality of the young Roberts court.”
posted by brain_drain on Mar 23, 2006 - 88 comments

Black-Bag Jobs

"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded." Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
posted by digaman on Mar 19, 2006 - 52 comments

Censuring Domestic Surveillance

"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans." Invoking "high crimes and misdemeanors," Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold introduces a motion to censure [PDF link] President Bush for his controversial, legally dubious NSA wiretapping program. Feingold declares: "The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law." Republican leader Frist retorts: "It's a crazy political move" that sends a "terrible" signal to Iran. Democratic bloggers say: Call your senator. [More legal fallout from the NSA program recently discussed here.]
posted by digaman on Mar 13, 2006 - 259 comments

Tell 'em Uncle Alberto Says It's Cool

'The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House," said Jay Rockefeller, vice-president of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after the committee quashed a broad inquiry into the legality of the NSA spying on Americans -- despite an increasing number of legal scholars coming forward and declaring that the program is "blatantly illegal," in the words of Yale Law School dean Harold Koh. Meanwhile, the GOP proposes giving spying on Americans the "force of law" while subjecting it to "rigorous oversight."
posted by digaman on Mar 8, 2006 - 175 comments

subway searches in NYC

The NYPD is searching passengers' bags, supposedly at random and with no racial profiling involved. Setting aside the very real question of how this makes us safer, is this legal? [more inside]
posted by Vidiot on Jul 25, 2005 - 114 comments

Random ID checks are next

Unreasonable Search and Seizure? Boston's MBTA to begin randomly searching passenger bags and packages next month on subway and commuter trains. Last month they started playing frequent Big Brother-type announcements as part of their See Something? Say Something(pdf) - Transit Watch program. I'm either reminded of "Loose Lips, Sink Ships" or Starship Troopers' "Do you want to know more?".
posted by FreezBoy on Jun 8, 2004 - 28 comments

The ACLU wants to protect your privacy

The ACLU wants to protect your privacy from government electronic surveillance programs like Echelon and Carnivore. Their full page ad in today's NYT claims 4th amendment rights are being violated by the US government, which is overstepping their bounds, and nearly free of up-to-date laws. Is it to late or can anything be done to protect civilian electronic communication?
posted by mathowie on Apr 15, 2001 - 7 comments

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