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D.C. Appeals Court Rules Sting-Ray Devices Unconstitutional

The D.C. Court of Appeals has overturned the convictions of a man named Prince Jones because the police employed a "sting ray" (cell-site simulator) device without a warrant. The opinion is here.

We agree with Mr. Jones that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it deployed the cell-site simulator against him without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause. Further, we reverse the trial court‘s inevitable-discovery ruling and reject the government‘s argument (not resolved by the trial court) that the good-faith doctrine precludes applying the exclusionary rule in this case. Because the admission at trial of the evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful search was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we reverse Mr. Jones‘s convictions.

The ACLU and EFF wrote amicus briefs for defendant Prince. As I've written before, stingrays are particularly intrusive because they capture data from all phones in the area they are searching, not just the suspect's phone: [More...]

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iPhones and Face Recognition

The iPhone X (ten) does away with the home button and fingerprint ID and uses Face ID instead.

What's wrong with it?

From Slate: In the event you get arrested, a cop can just put your phone in front of your face and get all the stuff on it.

Even more likely, in my opinion, since most of us won't get arrested, muggers and robbers will know they can put your phone in front of your face and get all your banking info -- and after emptying your bank account at an ATM or charging up a storm for a few hours, sell the phone to a hacker.

Here's what Edward Snowden thinks.

I need a new phone now. The iPhone 8 and 8plus, which are revamped versions of the iPhone 7, are taking pre orders starting tomorrow. [More...]

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Federal Judge Blocks TX New Anti-Immigration Law

U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia has issued a 94 page opinion (available here) blocking the implementation the most significant provisions of Texas S.B. 4, which had been scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1. The case is City of El Cenizo v State of Texas.

The ACLU says:

The law, recently signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, strips localities and local law enforcement in the state of the authority to determine how to best use their limited resources to ensure the safety of their communities. The law also turns Texas into a “show me your papers” state. Law enforcement

Thank you, ACLU.

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4th Circuit Rules Upholds Nationwide Injunction of Trump Travel's Ban

In a 205 page opinion, available here, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, rejected most of Trump's travel ban. A Washington Post article is here.

In a 10-to-3 decision, the Richmond-based court said the president’s power to deny entry into the United States is not absolute and sided with challengers, finding that the travel ban “in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

...All of the judges in the majority were nominated to the court by Democratic presidents, and the three dissenting judges — Paul V. Niemeyer, Dennis W. Shedd and G. Steven Agee — were nominated to the bench by Republican presidents.


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ICE Starts Victims' Telephone Program

The latest appalling action by ICE: Check out its "Voice Program", announced yesterday. It stands for "Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office." There's even a VINE feature to help anyone track find and track undocumented persons who have been convicted of a crime.

ICE also says this is just a beginning. It is going to be also expanding services to allow the agency "to collect metrics and information." On whom? The victims or the perpetrators? Or both?

It uses deprecated terms like "illegal" to refer to undocumented persons.

My view: This program is an unacceptable use of federal resources that highlights the shameful bigotry in the Trump Administration's agenda.

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U.S. to Pay $1 Million for Border Agents' Role in Violent Death of Undocumented Man

U.S. Border Patrol agents viciously beat Anastacio Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant, to death with batons and tasers. It was filmed by passers-by, and even though the agents tried to grab the cameras, one got by them. The U.S. will now pay Mr. Hernandez's family $1 million.

The United States settled a lawsuit with Hernandez’s estate last month, agreeing to dole out $1 million to his five children and his common-law wife, Maria Puga. The battle could have dragged on for years longer in court, the family’s attorney said, but they were worried President Trump could make Hernandez’s death a political issue amid efforts to beef up border security.

Still, none of the agents involved have been fired or disciplined or “lost a dime of pay,” for a beating that broke five of Hernandez’s ribs, damaged his spine and ultimately killed him, according to Eugene Iredale, the family’s attorney, who claims the immigrant was handcuffed as he was beaten.

“In 90 minutes, this case exemplifies the range of deficiency and misconduct that typifies the action of law enforcement that handles immigration enforcement,” Iredale told The Washington Post. “These agents are doing this in front of G-d and the world.”

Here is the Justice Department press release from 2015 with a bizarrely different version of the facts explaining why the officers aren't being charged. Here's what the other groups found: [More...]

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Senate Votes to Repeal Internet Privacy Rules

The Senate has voted to repeal internet privacy rules enacted under President Obama:

According to the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children's information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

The vote was a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc (T.N), Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), which had strongly opposed the rules.

Excessive intrusive advertising, especially auto-play video and non-properly scaled, ad-laden and ugly-as* news websites have already ruined the internet. [More...]

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ICE Releases "Declined Detainer" Report

DHS today, following Donald Trump's Executive Order on public safety in January, released an ICE report with a week's worth of numbers for detainers requested and their outcome. The report is called "a Declined Detainer Outcome Report."

The Declined Detainer Outcome Report is a weekly report that shows those jurisdictions with the highest volume of declined detainers, and includes a list of sample crimes associated with those released individuals. This report is mandated by the president’s executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

The full report, covering 1/28 to 2/3/17 is here.

The report is merely an attempt to create a shaming list. Non-compliance with an ICE detainer request is nothing to be ashamed of. ICE detainer requests are just that -- requests -- they are not orders, and compliance is voluntary. [More...]

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Fed. Judge Halts Trump's Immigration Order Nationally

A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a nationwide order blocking Trump's new immigration order.

The Judge issued his 43 page Order two hours after the hearing ended. The opinion is here.[More...]

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Wikileaks ReleasesTrove of CIA Hacking Tools

Wikileaks released a trove of documents about CIA hacking tools used to break into "smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions."

What it means (according to Edward Snowden)"[it's the]first public evidence [of]USG secretly paying to keep US software unsafe."

The CIA reports show the USG developing vulnerabilities in US products, then intentionally keeping the holes open. Reckless beyond words.

...Why is this dangerous? Because until closed, any hacker can use the security hole the CIA left open to break into any iPhone in the world.

Although Wikileaks says Signal and WhatsApp were compromised, Snowden says the released documents show "iOS/Android are what got hacked - a much bigger problem." Others say if you're worried about being hacked, Signal is still the safest option.

Check out Sam Biddle at The Intercept, Wikileaks Dump shows CIA Could Turn Smart TVs into Listening Devices.

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Ecuador Takes a Stand Against Trump's Immigration Policy

Ecuador has launched a campaign against U.S. Immigration policies. It is providing consular assistance and wants Ecuadorians to know that they are not alone, no matter where they are.

Here are some of the graphics, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Translation isn't really needed but I added some to the less obvious graphics:)

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Ecuador Complains About State Dept. Human Rights and Drugs Reports

Breaking with yet another tradition, Donald Trump's Secretary of State couldn't be bothered to personally appear for the release of the State Department's annual report on human rights.

“It’s just signaling a lack of basic interest and understanding in how support for human rights reflects what’s best about America,” said Rob Berschinski, senior vice-president for policy at Human Rights First.

Ecuador is blasting the report, saying the accusations against it are unfounded. In an official release, essentially telling the U.S. to examine abuses within its own borders before casting aspersions on others, it makes a few good points:

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