Privacy and Government

…and government shoe-squeezing.

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department [Deputy Attorney General James Cole] delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc executives: new encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

The naked panic-mongering is something we’d expect to get out of the press, but for a high-ranking government official to spout such nonsense is…unseemly. For Cole to masquerade his extreme outlier as the trend that must result, though, is dishonest. But it’s all good—DoJ must be able to snoop into Americans’ communications on DoJ’s own recognizance. Because, of course, no American administration would abuse its discretion.

Another Assault on Privacy

This time by a major cellular telephone company: Verizon.

…it has emerged that Verizon Wireless has been silently tracking around 100 million mobile customers using a supercookie that can’t be opted out of.

This is an especially nefarious invasion: the “cookie” lets Verizon track your movements on the Web—every page. And they then peddle that information to any advertiser willing to pay up.

Shaheen’s Complaint

Jeanne Shaheen is the Democratic Party (incumbent) candidate for Senator from New Hampshire.

Aside from the cheap smear in her interruption, it’s interesting that this Democrat doesn’t feel like she has to play by the same rules as us mere citizens.

In Which the IRS Gets Away with It

Judge Reggie Walton, of the DC District Court, dismissed all counts brought by the conservative non-profit, True the Vote, against the IRS for the IRS’ harassment of the organization when it tried to register as a 501(c)(3). The IRS had, on receiving that application

IRS was subjecting [True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht] to multiple rounds of abusive inquiries, with requests to provide every Facebook and Twitter entry I’d every posted, questions about my political aspirations, and demands to know the names of every group I’d ever made presentations to, the content of what I’d said, and where I intended to speak for the coming year.

A Number of Misunderstandings

Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring hotel operators to give up data in their guest registers to the police, even when they don’t have a warrant.

The ordinance, approved by the city in 2006, requires hotels to collect and maintain guest information such as name and address, the number of people in the guest’s party, vehicle information, arrival and checkout dates, room number, and method of payment. Hotel operators who fail to comply with it face as many as six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

A motel operator demurred, and at this point, the 9th Circuit agrees: they struck the ordinance as unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment.

Even the Brits

This is an amazing development for the authors of the Magna Carta. That charter, recall, codified for the first time in Anglo-American history, limits to government’s (king’s at the time) right to intrude into a man’s private affairs and possessions except under some severely constrained conditions: due process of law.

This is that amazement:

Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant.

The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct 15, permitting police and constabularies to conduct surprise home visits to legitimate gun owners.

In Which the Florida Supreme Court Gets One Right

Police in Florida aren’t allowed to use a cellphone to track someone’s movements according to a sweeping new ruling from the Florida Supreme Court.

The court by a 5-2 vote ruled Thursday that authorities in Broward County had no right to stop and arrest Shawn Tracey for possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine.

The police had a warrant to tap his cell phone calls, but that warrant didn’t include authorization to use his cell phone to track him.

In Which a Political Party Gets It

…and the IOC doesn’t.

Norway, led by its Conservative Party, has declined to support a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics originally offered by its capital, Oslo. The nation was put off by cost concerns—the 2014 Sochi Winter Games ran to $50 billion—and they were put off by IOC…let’s call it arrogance.

Among other IOC demands were requirements for a cocktail reception with the King of Norway (they’re a constitutional monarchy) and special traffic lanes set aside in the middle of Oslo’s busy thoroughfares so that fans of the Games could have priority and their own paths to the games.

A Thought on Birth Control

Dr Manny Alvarez, one of the house doctors for Fox News, had a useful piece the other day on teen birth control, in particular IUDs. He’s basically spring-loaded against them for teenage girls, for a number of reasons.

Very common side effects of placing this foreign object inside the womb include cramping, spotting, heavy menstrual flow and possibly even an infection that could lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, ultimately rendering the individual infertile.

Not to mention, uterine perforation—although extremely rare….

Rather than IUDs, Alvarez pushed for more sexual education information from (and for, say I) parents and physicians.

Obamatalk

President [Barack] Obama on Friday sought to fine-tune his response to the growing Islamic State terror* threat, vowing to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the network—seemingly abandoning, at least publicly, his previously stated goal of making them a “manageable problem.”

“We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, the same way we have gone after Al Qaeda,” Obama said in Wales, during a press conference at the close of a meeting of NATO allies.

And

Obama on Friday claimed “there was unity” at the NATO summit over the belief that ISIS poses a “significant threat to NATO members” and regarding a readiness to take action.