North Dakota becomes the first state to legalize weaponized drones. "Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are now permitted on drones, thanks to the actions of a lobbyist representing law enforcement.
By the end of May, 100 Toronto police officers across the city will be wearing the increasingly popular policing tool [more inside]
Met Police to extract suspects' mobile phone data [BBC] The Metropolitan Police, covering Greater London, are set to expand their search powers by making it standard practice to swipe contact details, call logs, and texts off of the mobile phones of anyone in custody - and retain that data - regardless of whether the suspect ends up charged with a crime or not. Clearly not everyone is over the moon about this, seeing it as the latest sign of the steady erosion of communications privacy in the UK and a potential breach of human rights law.
It is well known that the US military and their allies use unmanned aerial drones overseas in wars and other operations. But there are also hundreds in operation here in the U.S., according to records the Federal Aviation Administration has recently released. Local police departments already have used them in SWAT situations, and the Department of Homeland Security has given the green light for them to deploy a drone helicopter that can supposedly taze suspects from above as well as carrying 12-gauge shotguns and grenade launchersas well as providing surveillance. Congress has paved the way for as many as 30,000 drones in the skies over the US by 2020, which has privacy advocates alarmed. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a map with all of the organizations that have permits to use drones within the confines of the US. [more inside]
‘In 1912, Scotland Yard detectives bought their first camera, to covertly photograph suffragettes. The pictures were compiled into ID sheets for officers on the ground.’
Rochester, NY woman arrested for videotaping police from her front yard. Because cops have civil rights too?. Because "you have to stand somewhere while videotaping, right?" In this case, it's apparently obstructing governmental administration. Previously: , , .
Warfare: An advancing front - "The US is engaged in increasingly sophisticated warfare, fusing intelligence services and military specialists" [more inside]
ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance. "The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report (PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
"In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists. The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited." Previously. One of the illegal recordings, embedded in an article. [more inside]
NewsFilter: I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?
Another benefit of globalization: Third World-style political oppression right here at home. From the Ottawa Citizen (of all places): "Officers from various police forces and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have infiltrated, spied on or closely monitored organizations that are simply exercising their legal right to assembly and free speech. Targets of such intelligence operations in recent years... [include] a senior citizens' satire group that sings about social injustice... Individuals have been arrested for handing out literature condemning police tactics... "
Hands where I can see them, and turn off that tape recorder! Today the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man for violating the commonwealth's electronic surveillance law when he secretly recorded police who pulled him over in a traffic stop. While it's generally bad to tape people without telling them, should there be an exception w/r/t to recording public officials acting in their official capacities? Or is wrong just wrong?