Shadow Watch

High court: warrant needed for cell-phone searches

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court issued a key ruling in favor of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age June 25, finding unanimously that police in most cases need a warrant before searching the cellphone or personal electronic device of an arrestee. Chief Justice John Roberts firmly rejected arguments that searches of digital devices are comparable to searches police routinely carry out for contraband after making an arrest. In the cases of Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie (argued separetly, but decided together), Roberts wrote: "Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse... The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."

Federal court: warrant needed for cell-phone tracking

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchIn what could turn out to be a landmark case, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta ruled June 11 that police must obtain a warrant to get a person's cell phone location history from the service provider. Police conducting a robbery investigation in Miami had obtained the location histories of four suspects after getting an order from a federal judge. But the standard for getting a so-called "D-order" is that it be "relevant and material" to an investigation—lower than the "probable cause" standard required for a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The court found "that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation." Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who helped argue the case, hailed the ruling in United States v. Quartavious Davis as "a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment's continuing vitality in the digital age."

SCOTUS upholds warrantless DNA collection

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 June 3 in Maryland v. King that police may collect DNA samples from individuals arrested and charged with serious crimes. The respondent in the case, Alonzo King, challenged the validity of Maryland's DNA Collection Act after state officials used a DNA sample taken after a 2009 arrest on assault charges to implicate him in a 2003 rape. In an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority found that the warrantless DNA collection does not violate Fourth Amendment rights. Kennedy wrote:

Seattle drops police drone program under protest

Posted on February 9th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchSeattle's Mayor Mike McGinn on Feb. 7 ordered his police department to abandon its plan to use drones after residents and privacy advocates protested. McGinn said the two small drones obtained through a federal grant will be returned to the vendor. "Today I spoke with Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, and we agreed that it was time to end the unmanned aerial vehicle program, so that SPD can focus its resources on public safety and the community building work that is the department's priority," he said in a brief statement.

Texas student who refused to wear RFID chip loses appeal

Posted on January 15th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchA true American freedom fighter has her day in court—and loses. This is a blow against freedom, but at least Andrea Hernandez stood up for her rights—and those of all of us. Win or lose—always worthwhile. From the BBC News, Jan. 9:

Was Cessna pilot who buzzed Obama buzzed himself?

Posted on February 17th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaTwo Air Force fighters on Feb. 16 intercepted a private Cessna that entered the same Los Angeles airspace as Marine One—the official presidential helicopter, with Barack Obama onboard. Police discovered about 40 pounds of cannabis in the plane after instructing it to land at Long Beach Airport, a law enforcement official anonymously told the Associated Press.

Cannabis hoax becomes Facebook meme

Posted on December 21st, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchNumerous "friends" have posted to my Facebook page a Dec. 19 story from a website with the tellingly stupid name Just Paste It entitled "Sweden legalizes and regulates cannabis." There's even a quote from an apparently non-existent Swedish official, "Jonas Grönhög," who says "We don't want to make the same mistakes which the USA has done, we do not want to be prohibitionists because the war on drugs has been lost long ago." Alas, Sweden has done no such thing. Tip of the hat to the good folks at the Toke of the Town blog for calling out the hoax.

Mexico: interior secretary killed in (mysterious?) air crash —again

Posted on November 11th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMexican Governance Secretary Francisco Blake Mora was killed when his helicopter crashed Nov. 11 near Chalco, México state. Four other Governance Secretariat and three Air Force personnel were also killed in the crash. President Felipe Calderón said it was probably an accident caused by bad weather, but public speculation points to to a hit by one of Mexico's warring drug cartels. Skeptics noted that the government's most notorious Drug War hardliner is Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna, and a more likely cartel target. However, the crash eerily comes one week after Blake Mora attended a memorial ceremony for Juan Camilo Mouriño, his predecessor who had been killed in a plane crash three years earlier. (NYT, El Economista, Nov. 11)

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