Assault on Conservatives

…by the Obama administration is continuing in spades. This time, it’s a naked assault on a conservative Congressman, Jason Chaffetz (R, UT). The Secret Service “leaked” information concerning a decade old application for work with the SS submitted by Chaffetz and which was rejected by the SS. This sort of thing is confidential, which SS employees know full well.

Supposedly, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson personally called Chaffetz after the release of that confidential information, as did Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy.

However.

Chaffetz is Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and he’s

Driving Death Rate

It fell sharply in 2012, the latest year for which data were studied by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Assuming Fox News accurately summarized the study, I have a couple questions.

Improved vehicle designs and safety technology have a lot to do with the reduced risk, but a weak economy that led to reductions in driving may also have played a role….

Because We’re Not Being Spied on Enough

The Justice Department has acknowledged constructing a database to track the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S. in real time.

And

A Justice Department spokesman told Fox News that the tracking program is compliant with federal [law]… claiming it “includes protocols that limit who can access the database and all of the license plate information is deleted after 90 days.”

Privacy Misbehavior

Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post has a warning.

Recall that ‘way last November, Verizon was exposed as using a supercookie that they’d developed for the purpose: it sits on your cell phone and tracks, ostensibly for their own use, your cell usage (supposedly limited to your use on the Internet). And you can’t delete it.

It turns out that Turn, an online advertising company that works with Google and Facebook,

uses [the Verizon supercookie] to collect data that makes it easier for advertisers to place targeted online ads, according to the researchers.

Trust

First we have the NSA collecting personal telephone call data. Now we find out about this shadowy program, which was uncovered only because DEA had to give up its existence pursuant to a criminal case involving a man accused of planning the export of technology to Iran:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has formally acknowledged that it maintained a sweeping database of phone calls made from the United States to multiple foreign countries.

And

…the program relied on administrative subpoenas to collect records of calls….

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.