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Woman With Police-Monitoring Blog Arrested 847

Kris Thalamus writes "The Washington Post reports that a Virginia woman is being held in custody by police who allege that information she posted on her blog puts members of the Jefferson area drug enforcement task force at risk. 'In a nearly year-long barrage of blog posts, she published snapshots she took in public of many or most of the task force's officers; detailed their comings and goings by following them in her car; mused about their habits and looks; hinted that she may have had a personal relationship with one of them; and, in one instance, reported that she had tipped off a local newspaper about their movements. Predictably, this annoyed law enforcement officials, who, it's fair to guess, comprised much of her readership before her arrest. But what seems to have sent them over the edge — and skewed their judgment — is Ms. Strom's decision to post the name and address of one of the officers with a street-view photo of his house. All this information was publicly available, including the photograph, which Ms. Strom gleaned from municipal records.'"
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Woman With Police-Monitoring Blog Arrested

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:30AM (#29082785)
    If she hadn't done anything wrong.
    • by ComputerGeek01 ( 1182793 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:07AM (#29083013)
      pointing out police stupidity" - Police Chief Clancey Wiggum, Springfield at least in regards to being able to not only spot and photograph supposed to be undercover policemen but also pointing out that his cover is so flimsey that she can find out where he lives! That's just diabolical!
    • by DurendalMac ( 736637 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:58AM (#29083375)
      Except that she did. If she had done this to anyone else, you can bet your ass she'd be busted for stalking. Why is it any different when she has an unhealthy obsession with following cops around?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrLang21 ( 900992 )
        I agree. I read a bit of this blog and she sounds down right creepy. I can't recall exactly what conditions must be met for stalking charges to be pressed, but she must at least be dangerously close to that point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EllisDees ( 268037 )

        Sorry, no. If the police think that they have the right to track us 24/7 whenever we are in a public place with cameras up on every corner, we also have the right to follow them around 24/7 and record everything they do. They don't get to have it both ways.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        IANAL, but I thought stalking was grounds for issuing a restraining order--not arrest until some other law was broken.

        More to the point--as public employees, granted power and trust, their particular duties justify a lesser degree of privacy than is common in other professions. If they want to make posting public information "illegal"--I'm actually fine with that--as long as they make ...making it public at the origin illegal to. Take back all those tax/drivers/property/court records, and make sure they'r

      • by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:33PM (#29085135)

        Except the police are public servants. While at work or doing work-related things they're public employees and their actions are not guaranteed the same privacy a "normal" citizen is.

        Watching his house is a bit iffy, but if the picture and information were publicly available then publishing that information shout not have any penalty. Note - they didn't arrest her for stalking.

        It's amazing how the police fight to their dying breath to hide what they do on a regular basis. Not only undercover, but try following a cop car or beat cop around with a camcorder. I bet it doesn't take more than a few minutes before you're questioned and told to stop...and when you don't listen I'd give about even odds you're arrested, detained, or have some other right violated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      Even considering the issue of being publicly employed, if someone were following me, posting my every activity on a blog, with personal details, I would certainly want to do something to have them stopped. I know that if she had done this to some people I know, locking her up would have been a kindness. Some people don't have the sense that god gave a turnip.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:36AM (#29082827)

    Yeah, it's publicly available. But what she did sounds a lot like stalking to me, which unless I'm mistaken IS illegal.

    • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:01AM (#29082971)

      So formally charge her and prove it in court, or release her.

      • by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:38AM (#29083219) Homepage

        They did. They charged her with "identifying a police officer with intent to harass" which is a fancy way of saying "stalking a police officer."

        Or are you complaining that stalking a starlet or ex-girlfriend is not -precisely- the same crime as stalking a police officer?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vu1turEMaN ( 1270774 )

          It's the same in my book. And in this case, stalking an officer can actually hinder investigations and can create dangerous situations for all of those involved.

          • by Deanalator ( 806515 ) <> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @11:35AM (#29083667) Homepage

            Bullshit, it can just as easily expose corruption and blatant abuses of power, as has been demonstrated over and over again in the past.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bconway ( 63464 )

        She was charged and has thus far declined to pay the $750 bail. It's in the first paragraph in the article.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:36AM (#29082833) Homepage

    We have seen this many times in the past, and no doubt we will see it into the future.

    The system is flawed, but the flaw is supposed to be secret because it is readily used by law enforcement and the like to violate the privacy of individuals. If it were public knowledge that we could access public records for such things, the laws might need to be changed and inadvertently protect the people from abuse by government and we just can't have that.

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:04AM (#29082997)

      Yes and NO. The flaw isn't a flaw, it is just ignored. You never really had privacy in the regards that they are talking about. However Since the information hasn't been obvious then people didn't notice it.

      This woman took public information gathered it together. However because took public information and posted in a public place, about public officials, who are supposed to do work in discretion, she put their lives, and the their family lives in jeopardy. I can make a threatening statement to you over the internet and you won't care. However if I use your ID, to track you down using google, google maps, and started posting pictures of your home, your wife and kids, on my blog and then threatened you would you believe me then?

      There is a lot of general knowledge public information out there about nearly everyone. This isn't a flaw, it is our society. In general it is a good thing. However what can be used for good can also be used for bad. Such information is why we know things like a governor selling positions. or cheating on his wife. Or getting a BJ in the Oval Office.

      The "Flaw" as you put it is the original wikileaks. It is gossip, and general knowledge shared by many. it is what put societal pressure on people to do the right thing. However it doesn't always work.

      • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:32AM (#29083169) Homepage

        "Security through obscurity" is no security at all. The argument that "you never really had privacy" is simply a restatement of the problem. However, the way you state it, it implies that it's a problem, but one that we should all accept as normal and ignore.

        I don't think it is fair to compare the exposure of information about the general public to the doings and goings on about public officials in a position of public trust. It has long been the expectation that there should be transparency in the affairs of government officials as a means by which public trust can be maintained. The standard should be different for private individuals which is precisely why we identify people as being either "public" or "private" individuals.

        One of the flaws I speak of is that we DO have an expectation of privacy where in reality, that expectation is false as it has been pulled out from under us all. That expectation of privacy is built on our ideals as a society. If we are not in keeping with our ideals, then perhaps that should be corrected.

        • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:00PM (#29083899)

          "Security through obscurity" is no security at all.

          Nice aphorism. Pity its such nonsense - especially when used in a context other than cryptography (where it almost makes sense).

          "Security through obscurity" may be weak security, but it has an effect. If you leave my front door key hidden behind a loose brick, then its more secure than leaving it under a flower pot, which is in turn more secure than leaving it in plain view. Neither is a particularly good idea, but if you must leave a key for some reason then the more obscure the better.

          Now, what if some joker posts on a popular internet site "Mr X leaves his key behind a loose brick by the front door of 29 West Wallaby Street. He leaves for work at 8am and doesn't come back until 6pm. There's a new looking satellite dish, so he might have a decent TV, and I saw him going into a posh jewelers the other week so I think he's loaded"? Now, Mr X was running a risk, since anybody could have found that out if they were determined, but bundling it up in a red ribbon and making it public hugely increases his exposure.

          Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from responsibility.

          • by cetialphav ( 246516 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @12:36PM (#29084215)

            Nice aphorism. Pity its such nonsense

            Indeed. People that through that aphorism around tend to forget that the security mechanisms we commonly use are actually security through obscurity. I use a key to unlock my front door. There is nothing special about that piece of metal. Any hardware store can reproduce it for a couple of bucks. You just need to know the height of the ridges. By keeping that information obscure, I gain some security (though not very much). Passwords are security through obscurity. Encryption is security through obscurity because you keep the key secret. Anything that depends on a secret depends on obscurity.

            For most common cases, this works very well in practice. Most people don't have their houses broken into or cars stolen. Most house burglaries occur with unlocked doors in outdoor sheds and garages (where high dollar tools and golf clubs are kept).

            For high value targets (bank vaults, museums, military installations, etc), obscurity is not enough and you need surveillance and guys with guns. But those are relatively rare while there are many more times where we just need to raise the security bar enough to make it not worth someone's time to bother.

            • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @02:47PM (#29085249) Homepage

              I agree with (what I think is) your larger point that obscurity is used in a lot in everyday life and is most definitely of greater than zero benefit, but I think this part of your post calls for a clarification:

              Encryption is security through obscurity because you keep the key secret. Anything that depends on a secret depends on obscurity.

              In the context of encryption, "security through obscurity" is NOT intended to refer to keeping an encryption key private. The phrase instead refers to the practice of keeping the decryption *algorithm* private as a means to enhance security... a practice that is widely held to be inadvisable due to (a) the danger of someone reverse engineering the algorithm, and (b) the lack of widespread exposure of the algorithm resulting in the few eyes that do see it missing the occasional algorithmic flaw.

              Keeping an encryption key private is of course essential, and so is keeping your housekey in your own possession. But the housekey and the house lock both have all the information needed to enter the house, whereas a solid encryption algorithm does not have all the information needed to expose the data... and it would therefor be incorrect to imply that the security imperfections inherent in the house lock/key mechanism apply to encryption.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gorobei ( 127755 )

        This is pretty much settled law. She published public information. So what?

        That it was about a public official makes her actions more reasonable, not less. She didn't incite anyone to go kill the guy.

        Compare that to, say, people publishing abortion doctors' info on "wanted dead or alive" type sites, and it seems reasonably clear she is covered by the 1st amendment.

  • I'd say: "If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear".

    Funny how law enforcement always trots out that line, but goes ballistic when the people apply it to them instead.


    • by ff1324 ( 783953 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:56AM (#29082945)
      Using your logic, it should be OK for any ordinary citizen to be stalked in a similar manner both while on the job and off.

      I'm sure you wouldn't mind a bit if she followed your every move at work, at home, while spending time with your family...and then posting this information online.

      Why is it OK when its a police officer?
      • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:03AM (#29082991)

        It's certainly okay when it's, say, a Senator. Our legal system seems to think it's okay when it's Michael Jackson.

        The police, as public servants who wield a great deal of power in a rather unique way (the sanctioned use of violence), probably fall somewhere in between senators and Joe Schmoe.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ff1324 ( 783953 )
          Most senators and Michael Jackson wouldn't pass the background check to be a cop, anyway.

          Quite frankly, anyone who stalks Michael Jackson (before or after his demise) has enough issues already.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nschubach ( 922175 )

          The police, as public servants

          That's all you need to say. They work for us. Period.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by c6gunner ( 950153 )

            Oh so you're a big fan of slavery then, are ya? As long as they work for you, their lives are yours to do with as you please. If only those damn northern states hadn't messed things up for you ....

          • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @11:17AM (#29083539)
            Do you believe that your boss has the right to track your every move once you clock out for the day? No? Then why do you think we have the right to do the same to off-duty police officers?

            While the woman from TFA may not have exclusively done off-duty stalking, how is digging up and posting where an officer lives (complete with pictures and map coordinates) anything more than off-duty stalking of said officer?
          • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @11:42AM (#29083737) Journal

            They don't work for us, they work for the city that employed them. We may pay their salaries through taxes but we have absolutely no control over them, we cannot direct their investigations, we cannot dictate their patrol routs, we do not approve or disprove their hiring, raises, performance reviews, benefits package, vacations time or anything of the sort. Their work does have the public interest in mind but that doesn't mean they work for us. You certainly wouldn't think walmart employees work for you just because your puchases pay a portion of their salaries would you.

            The city doesn't even work for you. They work for the city. The only control you have is your vote on a few elected officials who you hope will have your interest in mind when making decisions. However, there is nothing forcing them to hold your interest or even protect them.

            • Government is the result of many people living together being "civilized." It reflects the people it governs; in a democratic system that means the people run the government-- practicality dictates employees, volunteers and representatives because the mob can not equally do everything for many reasons.

              The city IS forced to serve the public's interests; not you individually, an average of the group's interests and the system by which that averaging occurs greatly influences how it works--- how the citizens p

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sorak ( 246725 )

            The police, as public servants

            That's all you need to say. They work for us. Period.

            No it isn't. "They work for us" is never an excuse to jeopardize the safety of anybody.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Would you be outraged if your boss tracked your every move, posted your life's details on the internet, and otherwise did what this woman has done to the police? I think you would be incensed and probably 1) call the police and file charges and 2) call a lawyer and sue. So, if you would be moved to act against your boss if he/she did what this woman has done, why are you defending what she's done?
      • Using your logic, it should be OK for any ordinary citizen to be stalked in a similar manner both while on the job and off.


        Police are the government. They retain their arrest powers even when off duty -- in truth, they are never off the job.

        We have the absolute right to monitor and comment on how the government does its job. If such scrutiny makes it harder for the government to do some things, maybe that's because those are things it shouldn't be doing.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:35AM (#29083199)

        Why is it OK when its a police officer?

        The point is that it's NOT OK (which is what the GP was saying).

        The police already have near-ubiquitous tracking of the plebs (license plates, cell phones, 'net access, crime/speed/toll/stoplight cameras, bank statements). All that information is being tracked all the time automatically (it's just a matter of filtering and storage which moore's law will fix)
        It's just interesting to see the law enforcement reaction when the tables are turned.

        So many of the police-state arguments that the purveyors of the same tactics don't like being at the receiving end of:
        "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear..."
        "You don't have an inherent right to privacy..."
        "There's no such thing as privacy in public areas..."

        It seems when a private citizen tracks a small group of people it's "stalking", when large groups of government officials track the entire population it's just fine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Why is it OK when its a police officer?"

        Because our money pays for their work - we are their employer and as their employer we should have every right to monitor them to ensure they do the job we pay them to do, and to ensure they perform that job PROPERLY. Police are PUBLIC SERVANTS - they are not entitled to the level of privacy a normal citizen would expect, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOW A PUBLIC FIGURE. This means they are absolutely fair game for newspapers and independent published papers.

        And when it's a matt

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by c6gunner ( 950153 )

          we are their employer and as their employer we should have every right to monitor them to ensure they do the job we pay them to do, and to ensure they perform that job PROPERLY

          I've had a word with your boss, and he's very pleased to hear that you feel this way. He's assured me that you will immediately be placed under 24/7 surveillance, with all your private details posted to a blog. After all, your direct supervisor, the CEO of the company, and all of the shareholders all need to monitor your every move

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        You don't get it, do you?

        Apart from the fact that police officers are public officials, and thus have a lesser expectation of privacy, it is entirely my point that neither side should willy-nilly invade someone's privacy. Yet law enforcement clamours for nothing but far-reaching invasive powers, while not granting the people one iota of transparency. That's rank hypocrisy.


    • I'd say: "If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear".

      That's retarded by any standard. In this case, they do have something to hide. That's the very nature of narcotics enforcement, where being discovered can be fatal. If any of these cops are hurt or killed due to the information on her blog, she should be prosecuted as an accessory to whatever crime is committed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      You assume that what they state is what they actually believe is. That would be purely trough coincidence.

      They know exactly, that that is just a lie to get to what they want.

      But hey, my sig says it all: It's not about what you have to hide. It's about what they want to find.
      Combine that with Cardinal Richelieu's (of inquisition infame) statement of needing seven lines from the finest man, to find something to hang him, and you got to the core of the problem.

      Point is: There is no such thing as freedom or fai

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:38AM (#29082845)

    While it's quite possible that this lady has done nothing legally wrong, I'm afraid she's going to find herself in a similar legal boat as the guys from TPB. Her blog serves no purpose but to obstruct and foil the operations of police activity, not to mention puts the lives of these police officers in jeopardy. It's hard to think what her motive could be.

    Another similar case was the website which listed the names and home and office addresses of abortionists. Just for informational purposes, of course... But some lunatics went out and killed several of those doctors. The website was held accountable for incitement.

    This website is, in its own way, inciteful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is pure manure. It is in the public interest to know what the police are doing.

      • by Gandalf_Greyhame ( 44144 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:06AM (#29083011) Journal

        Is it in the public's interest for individual officers to have their names, pictures, addresses and photographs of their houses published to the world?
        Would you appreciate it if that were done to yourself?

        Now imagine that you work out in public, and there are people with whom you come into contact (and reprimand) who may have violent tendencies. Can you imagine that? Good! Now ask yourself those first two questions again. Do you still think that that information is in the public interest?

        Oh wait, you posted on Slashdot as an Anonymous Coward, so obviously you fear anyone finding out anything about yourself, yet you most likely don't do anything more dangerous than working at McDonalds.

        Just for the icing on the cake, her blog is called "I HeArTE JADE" which to me (I may be reading into this the wrong way) comes across as "I HATE JADE" and even a quick perusal of the site leads me to believe that she is acting out of pure vindictiveness, while trying to pretend that it is out of awe and respect.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          even a quick perusal of the site leads me to believe that she is acting out of pure vindictiveness

          It's still protected speech. The constitution doesn't say "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech... unless you're being a vindictive bitch."

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by green1 ( 322787 )

            By the same token, not all speech is protected, the courts (up to an including the supreme court) have ruled several times that for any society to function there must be rules governing what speech is protected. This is why slander and libel are illegal, it is also why you can prosecute people for hate crimes, or for plotting to kill people.

            What the courts will decide in this particular case has yet to be seen, however it's not quite as simple as yelling "free speech!" because we all know that there are lim

      • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:20AM (#29083103)

        This is pure manure. It is in the public interest to know what the police are doing.

        Despite what I'd characterise as the reasonableness of the OP's position, I'm afraid I agree with your first statement.

        As for the public interest argument, there's no doubt merit in it, but that's not to say that there shouldn't be limitations to what the public needs to know. I've had look at the woman's blog. Amusing to the casual reader, but it does appear to come close to the line of what should be considered acceptable, or legal. If it isn't, then I'd expect some justification for why it isn't, rather than a simple assertion by police sargeant.

        My own opinion is that laws concerning police officers are over-broad, and are easily abused. I'd also wager that they're regularly abused. The indicident that led to the recent Obama Beer Summit is a good example where we can see how being disrespectful to a cop gets elevated to the crime of interfering with the duties of a police officer. Physical training, automatic weapons and kevlar vests protects against sticks and stones, but the officer is unable to deal with being called a bad name?

    • by lordsid ( 629982 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:55AM (#29082931)

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      The purpose it serves is to express her freedom of speech. She needs no other reason, other people can held liable for their own actions.

      Something you are forgetting is police officers serve the public and are on public payroll, thus their jobs are public information and so is what they do.

      Now doctors on the other hand are not on public payroll (for the time being), especially abortion doctors who are private practice.

      You are trying to compare a civil servant to a civilian. Nice try at fuzzing the line there.

      Ironically enough your name is very fitting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by doctor_no ( 214917 )

      Being inciteful is not a crime. We may not agree with neo-nazis, anti-abortionists, etc, but public information is public. Free speech is a right.

      How many times have we at Slashdot had sympathy for similar situations involving piracy and hacking. Where legal and litigious means are employed to silence "inciteful" uses of technology.

      While we don't know the real details of this individuals arrest, the likelihood is that she was targeted by the police for her blog posts. Charging someone for something triv

  • Age old debate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:42AM (#29082869)

    This just another case of rights vs responsibilites. I don't think she has done anything wrong per se but she has acted in an irresponsible manner. These police officers deal, on a day to day basis, with people that range from mostly harmless to exceedingly dangerous. Posting their movements, home addresses and other information all on one place, I would argue, diminishes their safety. The information might have been publicly available but there was a certain amount of affort required to collect it. I would imagine a large number of the people these police officers interact with couldn't be bothered to put in that effort themselves but if it's as easy as just going to a blog maybe they would do something.

    In an ideal world the police would have been allowed to just go round to her and ask her to act more responsibly. Let her have her blog just make the infromation a little less specific and perhaps throw in some dummy data for good measure.

    • Re:Age old debate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:08AM (#29083027) Journal
      I think she did right. I agree that it is unfair for the targeted policemen, but she tested the invasive laws' safeguards. Policemen can exchange private data with impunity. She shows that we can't exchange public data without troubles. There is one theory that says that the privacy invasion that the police is authorized to do is balanced by the public scrutiny they are under. This event is a counter argument to this theory.
    • Re:Age old debate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:22AM (#29083111)

      The information might have been publicly available but there was a certain amount of affort required to collect it.

      I'm sorry, did you misunderstand what publicly available information means? You talk as if you're one of the people I deal with daily in local government. I am probably considered one of those "one-percenters", people who are doing their due diligence to request the information of government that is to be posted for the public to see but the government elects to make extremely difficult to retrieve. I spend hours every week trying to retrieve the information which local governments are hiding from public view (I don't bother with pictures of police officers because, well, that's not my thing) but constantly run into roadblocks because, while this information should just be posted for the public to read, city staff and councilmembers really don't want you to know what they're doing w/your money.

      So for you, as a member of the general public, to say that it's completely ok to put up these roadblocks to protect the safety of officers, is exactly the reason that they use for everything else. This is something which you should be championing against and certainly not supporting. City governments need to realize that information must be free (god, where have we heard that before?) and they should preempt the public by posting it on their own sites instead of allowing third-parties become the central location for documents and information they really don't want disseminated.

      • I think you have badly missed my point. I completely agree that Government needs to be transparent that doesn't mean I agree that we need to make the home address of everyone that works for the Government publicly available.

        I'm sure a lot of the information on this womans blog is information that is important that the people have access to such as how much is being spent on drug enforcement and how many people are working in drug enforcement. I don't see the public has any right to know where the individual

  • by AB3A ( 192265 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:43AM (#29082875) Homepage Journal

    One of the peculiar things about gathering intelligence on someone or a group is that most of the information you need is not secret. It's right there out in the open.

    This is a classic example of what happens when someone gathers public data and then uses it. The Police are upset because they didn't take precautions and they never thought anyone would be so obsessive about their identities and behaviors. This is exactly the same reason that so many police are scared of trunk-tracking scanners. They would like to think their communications amongst their group is private.

    If the police are truly interested in maintaining a deep cover, they should do it with full legal backing and not make any half assed efforts, hoping that nobody will bother to track them down.

    My guess is that this woman will beat the charge and teach cops across the nation an important lesson: The public is watching.

  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @09:56AM (#29082949)

    When the boot is on the other foot.

  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:17AM (#29083083)

    Folks, whether you like her blog or not, and whether you think the cops are over reacting or not, one thing is for sure. If she's following officers and photographing them, that sure sounds like stalking to me. I bet each and every one of you who is voicing support for her would feel differently if someone were following you around with a camera.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vadim_t ( 324782 )

      True. But that's not why I support what she does.

      I support it because we're continuously tracked every day -- you can bet that if the police wants, they'll get a complete record of where you've been, by tracking the usage of your credit card, monthly tube pass, video surveillance and so on.

      I'd like less of that crap. And what better way to make that point than to make the watched watch the watchers and let them see for themselves what getting tracked feels like.

  • by TarrVetus ( 597895 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <suteVrraT>> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:38AM (#29083217)
    Regardless of the relationship between the involved parties (whether an officer investigating a woman without a warrant, or a woman investigating a policeman without a warrant), following someone, gathering information about them, then posting that information in a public place with the intent to complicate or endanger their life is harassment. It's usually just called "stalking."

    She posted the location of that officer's home with the full knowledge that it could endanger his life. Also, she "detailed their comings and goings by following them in her car; mused about their habits and looks; [and] hinted that she may have had a personal relationship with one of them."

    She was a stalker, simply put.

    Yes, her speech is protected, but when she's actively attempting to endanger the lives of those officers, it crosses the line. And you can't tell me that posting the home address, photo of that home, and personal details of an officer isn't a move that will obviously endanger the policeman's life, and the lives of his family. If this were done to anyone, it would be dangerous.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @10:46AM (#29083283)

    After doing some looking around, it strikes me that the woman is an obsessive stalker with a personal grudge against (and past inter-personal involvement) with a police force.

    This doesn't have any of the hallmarks of the typical corrupt police arrest story. It looks rather like a badge groupie generated some kind of love/sex related drama and when things got too hot for the object/s of her passion, found herself on the wrong side of some story. When she started to make noise and become embarrassing, all of her various 'friends' on the force probably rejected her, taking the side of their co-worker because of the strong code of brotherhood among police. So now she's feeling personally jilted, bitter and enraged and is trying to take revenge on an entire police division. It sounds like she is serving a selfish personal agenda rather than striving toward any kind of high-minded socio-political goal.

    But that's just my take on the situation. It may be totally unfair, but until I see some information to the contrary, that's the theory I'm going with. When it comes to these things, the tiresome reality in hand is very often the result of predictable sex and self-preservation based emotional responses.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by canajin56 ( 660655 )

      Yeah, she seems pretty nuts. She's a white supremacist who wants everybody non-white kicked out of the country, or at least the state so the state can secede and form a proper White Nation. Reading earlier posts, it seems to me that her rage stems from the fact that JADE has been increasingly focused on taking down the "mid to upper drug dealers," she regularly flips out at this wording, saying "who decides what's an upper and what's a lower drug dealer? You? Is there a rule? Cite it for me!!!!" and s

  • by waldoj ( 8229 ) < minus author> on Sunday August 16, 2009 @11:27AM (#29083611) Homepage Journal

    I've been following this story for a few years, or rather following it as it developed.

    Her ex-husband is Kevin Strom, a prominent white nationalist and white supremacist* who was arrested [] for possession of child pornography and beating his wife (while threatening worse if she testified against him) a couple of years ago. He'd been stalking a ten-year-old girl, regularly cruising by her house, giving her gifts, sending her love letters, and proposing to her. (The kid's parents were none too thrilled.) It turned out, bizarrely, that none of that is illegal [] -- but possession of child pornography landed him in prison for a couple of years []. He was released earlier this year. He was also, incidentally, an inveterate troll of one of my blogs, so I've got a special dislike for the guy.

    Anyhow, Elisha is every bit as much of a racist as Strom, only she's also a feminist, which means that racists think she's scum, meaning that basically everybody hates her. Based on her blog entries, commenters on my blog [] have come to the conclusion that she was having an affair with one or more of these police officers. To my knowledge, she's never had any interaction with JADEâ"that is, neither she nor her husband have been busted for drug possession by them. So her interest in them appears to be romantic. Spurned, she's started stalking them, and expanded her interest to include all members of JADE.

    What I can't shed any light on is whether or not this arrest is appropriate. I've been involved in a couple of high-profile bloggers' free expression cases (as a defendant in both cases), and though you'd think I'd rush to defend somebody in her positionâ"cretin though she may beâ"I just don't think it's cut-and-dry enough. The fact that she's putting this stuff on a blog seems to be irrelevant, by which I mean it's not a special form of expression here. She's not acting in the manner of a journalist, by which I mean that there is no goal to her coverage, no public interest being served, no story being pieced together. She's simply taking private information about private individuals who happen to work for the local government (albeit in a very private capacity) and making it public.

    The question here is simply, I think, whether stalking laws are meant to cover people who are public employees. If a racist who advocates violent rebellion against black Americans starts following the a black secretary who works in the county office building, documenting her every move publicly, can the police intervene? Or is that his right, because she's opted out of a right to privacy by working for a government agency? There is a legitimate argument to be made that it is his right, in order to be consistent with what is to be expected for more prominent public employees. But a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, after all, so maybe we should put less thought into being consistent and more into protecting our citizens. I'm not being vague to be cute -- I really don't know what's right here.

    * I regret that covering these nutcases involves learning things like that there's a difference between being a white nationalist and a white supremacist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spire3661 ( 1038968 )
      Your analogy is flawed. A secretary is not the same level of trust that we have in an operating police officer with badge and gun. Officers special scrutiny comes from their advanced training, weaponry and position of public trust.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      She's not acting in the manner of a journalist, by which I mean that there is no goal to her coverage, no public interest being served, no story being pieced together. She's simply taking private information about private individuals who happen to work for the local government (albeit in a very private capacity) and making it public.

      First, I don't think you're in any position to judge whether or not she's acting in the capacity of journalist or if the free speech she is exercising is worthwhile. The whole point of free speech is that no one gets to judge what is and is not worthwhile. The only criteria is if the speech is infringing upon someone else's human rights as protected under the law. Second, isn't all the information she gathered public information. She just followed people around in public and gathered together public record

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