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Crime Government Privacy The Courts

Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the show-of-hands,-who's-surprised? dept.
v3rgEz writes: 'The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. "Across the U.S., thousands of similar law-enforcement requests for electronic monitoring are likewise locked away from public view, even after the investigations that spawned them have ended. In most cases, they stay sealed indefinitely—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings. Courts long have presumed that search warrants, for example, eventually should be made public." One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."'
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Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:09PM (#47159153)

    This is a travesty.

  • Blame the courts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by by (1706743) (1706744) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:17PM (#47159233)
    Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.
  • Blame the courts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XninjauchihaX (3680147) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:19PM (#47159255)
    would you kill someone if the courts allowed you too. knowing full well that it was murder and that it was wrong. that the person didnt deserve to die. i can think of dozens of other analogies, but the principle is still the same.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:25PM (#47159307)

    Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.

    They aren't legally allowed to this. It's entirely illegal.
    On top of that, they take an oath to uphold the constitution when they get their badge and this clearly violates the constitution.

    For far too long in this country we've decide that "criminals" are somehow non-citizens. We've declared them as an "Other" and not of us. This has allowed some people to rationalize their illegal behavior as somehow just. It's not. Violating even a criminals constitutional rights is wrong, and it wont be long before YOU are considered a criminal that no longer deserves his rights either.

  • ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:32PM (#47159367)

    How is this even a question?

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    That's not even remotely vague. It's clear as day. You need a warrant and that warrant should be public. Period. Any Judge that didn't see this as a violation of the 4th amendment should be strung up without a trial, since they don't feel the constitution is important.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:47PM (#47159545) Homepage Journal

    No, if you look at the Supreme Court Case [Redacted] vs. [Redacted], you'll find that Justice [Redacted] made the very clear argument that sometimes [Redacted] is necessary because [Redacted]. Honestly, how can you contest that precedent?

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:47PM (#47159557)

    The police everywhere seem to be given to a general trend of militarization. Assault rifles, military-style clothing and accessories, armored vehicles, intelligence gathering operations, air power (helicopters, drones, etc).

    They no longer resemble the "beat cop" who managed to keep order with a whistle and a truncheon in a uniform with shiny brass buttons. They resemble a military assault force.

  • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:49PM (#47159583) Homepage Journal

    Would I *want* them to know? No. Would I *care*. Not really. Would some people think, "where there's smoke, there's fire?" Sure. Screw them, they're idiots.

    I think the best policy is ultimately to get everything out in the open. The worst case is when surveillance is secret so people think it hardly ever happens, and then it comes out that you were under surveillance. At least when it all comes out, it becomes pretty clear there's smoke around a lot of innocent people.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:52PM (#47159607) Journal
    Doing everything in your legal power leads to a Zod mentality in Man of Steel. He wasnt wrong, per se, he was just an asshole and caused more suffering than helping. The purpose of the police is to keep the peace, not punish and not push so hard that undue suffering is caused, esp when no true harm is at stake
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @06:00PM (#47160231)

    The practice has been abused, and innocent people have been harmed in some way by this abuse.

    Where there is no accountability or visibility, there is abuse. It is guaranteed.

    Any attempt at seeing the old data will be fiercely resisted by those who abused this practice, and they will have lots of political clout to keep their corruption secret.

  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @06:56PM (#47160611)

    I simply don't get it. If the police are just investigating normal crimes, why can't get get normal warrants? Are they just lazy, or is there some other motive?

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @08:32PM (#47161047)

    They think they are on a higher mission and that this end justifies any means. Just look at the history of Germany, how ordinary police was pretty happy with their increased powers in the 3rd Reich. The police is unable to guard freedom, as its members do not understand the concept. The police always wants a police-state, that is not named accidentally in this way.

"People should have access to the data which you have about them. There should be a process for them to challenge any inaccuracies." -- Arthur Miller

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