Evil Foreigners

That’s the claim of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, regarding the current protests against Beijing’s usurpation of Hong Kong’s right to elect their own Chief Executive from a ballot of their own choosing. All of the kerfuffle is coming at the instigation of Evil Foreigners. Carefully unnamed ones, too.

Because it couldn’t possibly be the result of misbehavior (or simple error) by the government of the People’s Republic of China. It couldn’t possibly be that the PRC government has lost the consent of the people of Hong Kong to govern them (if that government ever had that consent).

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.

The Government and Privacy

The government is continuing to misunderstand the import of the 4th Amendment’s stricture regarding searches, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects and especially Warrants…particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, and of the major purpose of our Constitution generally.

Even accepting things like Edward Snowden’s leaks and the NSA’s overbroad and non-particular descriptions of things for which to be “searched” in our cell phone metadata as being aberrations, the existence of the aberration demonstrates the fragility of government handling of that much searching capacity.

Privacy and the Government

This time, as represented by the FBI.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation urged Silicon Valley Thursday to reverse course on encrypting phone data, suggesting the pendulum on privacy issues “has swung too far” against the government in the wake of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

No. It hasn’t swung far enough, as too many judges’ attitudes illustrate.

FBI Director James Comey added,

We also need a legislative and regulatory fix.

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.

A Thought on Disparate Impact

Disparate impact is the theory that a policy, or standard, or… is inherently racist if it has an outcome that impacts one group of Americans more than it does other groups of Americans, regardless of any racist intent. If the standard simply affects one group more than another, it must be racist (sexist). Let’s take as an example for this article student discipline in our grade schools. Disparate impact says that discipline standards that result in more black students being disciplined than white students must be racist, even if the discipline is meted out to members of both groups for the same misbehavior, with either no exceptions or identical exceptions allowed.

Hong Kong and Freedom

The backdrop is this: in the last few days in the Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, there have been violent clashes between peaceful student and other protestors on the one hand and “locals” consisting, allegedly, of older residents and small business owners mixed with members of the triads on the other hand, this mix attacking the protesters. The latter are losing income from their prostitution and drug…enterprises…and they’re upset about it.

PRC, Hong Kong, and Rights

The situation in Hong Kong, which the People’s Republic of China has created with its high-handed treatment of the Special Administrative Region, is getting tighter.

[Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying] Leung told voters it is better to agree to Beijing’s plans for nominating candidates and to hold an election, than to stick with the current system of having an Election Commission choose the chief executive.

“It is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not,” Leung said. “It is definitely better to have the chief executive elected by 5 million eligible voters than by 1,200 people. And it is definitely better to cast your vote at the polling station than to stay home and watch on television the 1,200 members of the Election Committee cast their votes.”

Arrogance and Encryption

I wrote a bit ago about liberty and encryption. Here’s an example of the arrogance of the government’s attitude toward an American citizen encrypting his communications against government snooping.

Regarding Google and Apple plans to market encryption capabilities for their smart phones, FBI Director James Comey had this to say:

What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law[.]

This comes in the context of Brent Kendall’s paraphrase of Comey’s concern in Kendall’s WSJ article, also summarized in the link just above

A Geopolitical Misunderstanding

…if The Wall Street Journal‘s interpretation is accurate, and a lack of political courage [emphasis added].

A solution to the Ukraine crisis is still far off, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Saturday, as his Russian counterpart accused the West of seeking to create chaos in the Kremlin’s geographic sphere.


Steinmeier said that a few weeks ago “we were on the brink of direct confrontation” between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces but that diplomacy had “prevented the worst.” However, he said, “I am under no illusion. A political solution is still a long way off.”