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Privacy Crime Government

US Marshals Seize Police Stingray Records To Keep Them From the ACLU 272

An anonymous reader writes 'A routine request in Florida for public records regarding the use of a surveillance tool known as stingray took an extraordinary turn recently when federal authorities seized the documents before police could release them. "This is consistent with what we've seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information," Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. "The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public." ... "We've seen our fair share of federal government attempts to keep records about stingrays secret, but we've never seen an actual physical raid on state records in order to conceal them from public view," the ACLU wrote in a blog post today.'
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US Marshals Seize Police Stingray Records To Keep Them From the ACLU

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  • Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:49PM (#47175285)
    Just another example of the "open administration"!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:52PM (#47175309)

    Orwell was just 30 years late on his predictions...

  • Get used to it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:54PM (#47175333) Homepage Journal

    These kinds of shenanigans are going to continue until the American public puts a stop to it.
    Note, I said the public. Not the government.
    The government, and it's various tentacles, simply don't WANT it to stop. Even if diverse individuals composing said tentacles do.
    It is simply one more way of maintaining some form of leverage against an increasingly interconnected population that can make it's own decisions and plans without a bunch of stuffed shirts and their ridiculous budgets.
    It will continue until they are physically restricted from doing these things.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:56PM (#47175347) Journal

    There could be a number of reasons why they don't want the info public

    1) It doesn't work that well, or there is an obvious defense against it they don't want public.

    2) They've been abusing their power some how by collecting info on people not really suspects, and don't want to be hit up by every divorce lawyer in the country. ( not sure if that's really illegal).

    3) They're idiotic power tripping jerks that think its an ultra secret thing that will cause all law enforcement to lose its effectiveness if more people know about it.

    4) It contains evidence of alien life forms visits to our planet, and their preference for blackberry cell phones.

  • Out of control (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BobSwi ( 607571 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:58PM (#47175361)
    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.
  • BASTARDS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:58PM (#47175363) Journal

    Well, I don't know about you, but I feel safer knowing the NSA is keeping those filthy terrorists, the ACLU, away from information of high importance to national security. Why we don't jail anyone who even reads the Constitution is beyond me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:03PM (#47175403)

    > What exactly goes through their minds?
    "I'm just doing my job." Just like you they have families too that need to be fed.

    Whether it's being a jack booted thug violating laws in order to spy on everyone or escorting prisoners to the gas^H^H^Hshower chamber and then disposing of the bodies in an oven, these people are merely doing their job and getting paid for it.

    Why ask beyond that?

  • by amxcoder ( 1466081 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:06PM (#47175419)
    They are union workers, making good union pay, with an awesome retirement package, and are granted power and authority over everyone else, including the ability to be armed at all times. My guess is they don't want to give that up, for any price. I would re-write your last sentence, and say most are "have the 'adrenalin junky' need (and life insurance) to take on an armed criminal and too enticed by their job benefits to refuse orders and loose it."
  • by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:07PM (#47175433)

    It's us vs them. They're the good guys, and everybody out there is a bad guy.

    Why let red tape get in the way of taking down the bad guy?

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:10PM (#47175451)

    Are they "true believers" who really managed to convince themselves this is all for some kind of nebulous greater good?

    Pretty much.

    There's a degree of self-serving included. They work for the government so any attempt to reveal what they do and how they do it is an attack on them.

    And if you're attacking them, that makes you the "bad guy". And they have to stop the "bad guys".

  • by Typical Slashdotter ( 2848579 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:13PM (#47175481)

    It will continue until they are physically restricted from doing these things.

    Get real. Putting the Green or Libertarian parties in charge of the presidency and both houses of congress, with an overwhelming mandate to fix these issues, would be much, much easier and more successful than waging a successful war of violence on the federal government. "Grab your rifles and rise up" only works when you have the public at large passionately on your side. When that is the case in a modern republic, there are better tools available.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:15PM (#47175501)

    Why ask beyond that?

    Because the police state apparatus could not function if these people remembered their humanity.

  • by Typical Slashdotter ( 2848579 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:40PM (#47175655)
    How do you know what the revolutionary army capable of defeating the US federal government will do when it seizes control? How is that any better? How is it not, in fact, far less predictable?
  • by ah.clem ( 147626 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:55PM (#47175745)

    Because the police state apparatus could not function if these people remembered their humanity.

    I have known several police officers in my lifetime - almost to a person, they had the attitude that the world was made up of two kinds of folks - them and the "perps" - and we're all the perps. To paraphrase Bryant in "Blade Runner", "You now the score, pal; if you're not cop, you're 'little people'".

    An interesting aside from an ex-LEO in the town I live in; according to him, they figure it's about 7 years from rookie to bad cap. Not sure if that is true all over, but it seems reasonable; they're average HS grad/CJ AAs to start out with, and they see the worst of humanity on daily basis - pretty easy to lump everyone together after a while, I bet.

  • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:18PM (#47175897) Homepage Journal
    A majority of people in society aren't deep philosophical thinkers. They want to do their 40 hours, and go have a beer and watch football. Police are a fair cross section of society, so most cops aren't going to stop and ask if what they are doing is a fundamental violation of a person's constitutional rights, unless it is a pretty sever deviation for normal behavior. (Ex: beheading perps caught in the act)

    I don't think most cops think too much about it, they have plenty of more immediate problems to keep busy with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:06PM (#47176169)

    Just another "just following orders" excuse. As usual, it's utterly invalid.

    It might not work as an excuse, but it can still be the honest reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:12PM (#47176191)

    Each and every single cop is a 'bad cop' when they refuse to apply the law to their peers.

    The LAPD shot at a truck full of old women because "it matched the description of Dorner's truck" (except that it didn't, and don't they have these things called license plates?). What happened there? Cops watched other cops fire on a vehicle with no indication of the occupants posing an imminent threat to anyone. What was the aftermath? It certainly wasn't placing cops in jail and removing their special cop status which makes them above the law. How many times do incidents like this occur in the United States? Probably so many that it would make you sick.

    Each and every single cop will never protect you or your family, ever, under any circumstances. Each and every single cop is out to harass you, detain you, steal from you, beat you or shoot you. The only interaction you can ever, EVER have with a cop winds up with you on the losing end. Even if you are in a coma and can pose no danger whatsoever, a cop will get away with shooting you due to 'officer safety'.

    Yes, it really, REALLY has gotten this bad with police misbehavior.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:36PM (#47176289)

    "I'm just doing my job." Just like you they have families too that need to be fed.

    NO. Absolutely not. Won't fly.

    The entire world rejected the "I was just doing my job" and "I was just taking orders" excuses during the Nuremberg trials.

    There comes a point at which anyone who can lay claim to being human has to either say "No, I won't do that", or accept personal responsibility for their actions by NOT saying it.


  • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:40PM (#47176305)

    Are they somehow brave enough to take on an armed criminal yet too cowardly to refuse bullshit orders?

    Absolutely. The probably of something bad happening to them when they take on an armed criminal is actually quite low, and if something bad does happen to them they will be hailed as a hero. When refusing an order to violate the constitution, however, they will not be hailed as a hero and their decision will not be respected by their peers. Their superiors will likely find a way to get them fired and possibly lose their pension to set an example, regardless of whether or not they would be able to prove their orders were illegal.

    What exactly goes through their minds?

    Usually something like, "I know better than the law and constitution. The laws are just red tape written to protect criminals. If we think somebody is guilty, then they absolutely are, judges and juries are just more red tape and technicalities. If I don't like something somebody is doing, then this badge and job title give me the authority to do as I please to them."

  • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fufufang ( 2603203 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:48PM (#47176325)

    I think the difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush wasn't hypocritical. Bush didn't tell everyone that he was going to make his government more open, whereas Obama did.

    P.S. I would upvote you if I had mod points.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @09:55PM (#47176581)

    "rights" are individual

    What does that mean?

    EXCEPT for the Second Amendment.....

    The ACLU protecting the Second Amendment would be a waste of their resources. Why? Oh, I don't know, ever hear of a little group called the NRA?

    Heck, even if the ACLU opposed the Second Amendment, that is ok, even though I myself am a strong supporter of it. What would not be ok, would be the ACLU trying to circumvent the constitution to push their anti-Second Amendment agenda.

    Please note that I know nothing about the ACLU's position regarding the Second Amendment.

  • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:08PM (#47176637)

    nothing to do with obama.

    everything to do with entrenched TLA's who refuse to be called on their illegal and immoral behavior.

    would happen with any modern US president.

    obama is not helping but I don't blame him. he's just a high level pawn, afterall. he is not the one we have to worry about. he goes in a few years. the TLA's stay and continue their raid on america.

    mark my words: if we end up with a republican in office next time, NOTHING WILL IMPROVE. and if we get a D in office, again, NOTHING WILL IMPROVE.

    please stop blaming the wrong levels. its not the symbolic figurehead we have to worry about. its the ones we don't see that really screw us over.

    sorry to say this guys, but nothing will improve until the revolution comes. this generation or next one or the one after that, but we can't fix ourselves with the system we have in place now.

  • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:37AM (#47177875)

    We don't need a revolution.

    Not really. There's a judge who wants to see these papers. US marshals took the papers, claiming they own them. That's of course totally irrelevant - judges see papers that are _owned_ by someone all the time. So all the judge needs to do is sent out some cops with a warrant to get the papers. If they can't get them because some other cops refuse to hand them over, arrest the other cops. If they refuse to let themselves be arrested, arrest them for resisting arrest. If that doesn't work, send out more cops. That's the same as if you wanted to search the home of well-armed drug dealers: You just sent enough cops to search the home.

  • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Friday June 06, 2014 @07:29AM (#47178119) Homepage Journal

    Just another "just following orders" excuse. As usual, it's utterly invalid.

    There is not a more arrogant, self serving megalomaniac equal to that of a cop.

    They do it, because they have the "authorahtah!" to do it.

    It's the same thing that makes actors and sports stars think they have a more valid opinion on world events because... well they are who they are.

    For a cop, it's "I can make you do X or I can destroy your life (or both!)" that gets to their heads

  • by judoguy ( 534886 ) on Friday June 06, 2014 @12:14PM (#47180353) Homepage
    Unfortunately, the ACLU takes the incomprehensible position that somehow the Bill of Rights has an amendment to protect the government's right to keep and bear arms while ALL the rest are for individuals. Bizarre.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson