Warrantless Searches of Cell Phone Data

The Supreme Court has a case before it, Carpenter v US (it heard oral argument Wednesday), concerning the 4th Amendment and the personal data of a defendant in the form of his cell phone location data.  The data were obtained from the cell phone company by police without first getting a search warrant.  There is precedent.

The high court reasoned then [in ’70s cases involving business records that banks and landline phone companies maintain about customer transactions and that the Supreme Court then reasoned police could seize without warrants] that individuals had voluntarily revealed their financial transactions or numbers they dialed to a third party—the bank or phone company—and so had forfeited any privacy interest in that information.

German Democracy

Germany’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose position is less than that of the Chancellor’s (the current incumbent is Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union) but currently has a critical role, has let the cat out of the bag regarding the attitude of that nation’s political elite toward democracy and the people of the nation.

PRC Censorship

…is reaching into other nations to deprecate their free speech.

Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Australia’s Charles Sturt University has written a book, Silent Invasion, that details the breadth of influence the People’s Republic of China has achieved within Australia.  His publisher, Allen & Unwin, has decided to “delay” release of the book because the PRC is threatening “defamation action” against the publisher.

What defamation, exactly (and how does a private citizen defame a foreign government, anyway)?  Hamilton says his book is

“very factual, very deeply researched,”…the “first comprehensive national study of Beijing’s program of exerting influence on another nation.”

Frightening the Snowflakes

It seems a Cambridge University professor had the effrontery to warn new students of a class of his—Physical Sciences—that life is hard and that it’s harder when you’re stupid.  For instance, this in an email that he sent to his incoming students:

Remember that you are NOT at any other uni, where students do drink a lot and do have what they regard as a ‘good time’—and you are NOT on a course, as some Cambridge courses sadly are, where such a behaviour pattern is possible or acceptable.

Oh, the wailing and bodice rending that resulted.

Free Speech, Left-Style. Again

The UC Berkeley student newspaper, The Daily Californian, accused Alan Dershowitz, in black and white, of having “blood on his hands” and of being “culpable for…Israeli atrocities”—of blood libel.  The Harvard law professor emeritus wanted to respond, but

The Daily Californian “absolutely, categorically” refused to print his reply to the op-ed.

As Dershowitz put it in a Fox & Friends segment,

The Daily Cal, as many college newspapers today, are totally one-sided.  You can say whatever you want about people like me if I’m pro-Israel. I don’t get to respond.

Free speech, indeed.

A Slip of the Mask

When President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was deleted for a few minutes last week, it looked like an isolated mistake by a customer service employee “on his last day at work,” as Twitter, Inc, representatives had it.

Maybe not.  Now, more information is coming to light about that incident.  Seconds thoughts are occurring about the likelihood of a single employee in such a position having the authority to delete an entire account.  There’s more, too.

YGTBSM

Another in the annals of.

The Louisiana court system, all the way up to the State’s Supreme Court, has upheld police denial of a (black) defendant’s demand for a lawyer during a police interrogation.  At one point during the interrogation, the suspect said, quite clearly IMNSHO,

If y’all, this is how I feel, if y’all think I did it, I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog ’cause this is not what’s up.

The Supreme Court said the suspect’s statement was too ambiguous to constitute a demand for a lawyer.  Justice Scott Chrichton, in concurring, actually wrote in all seriousness,

Mao is Dead

Long live Mao.

People’s Republic of China’s newly crowned Emperor and President-for-Life Xi Jinping has mounted his throne and is starting to exercise his power.

Under Mr Xi’s orders, mandatory political-study sessions emphasizing his speeches and policies were revived for all party members.

And

So was the Mao-era practice of members criticizing others and themselves.

Can we look forward to reeducation camps, too?  Maybe.  Here’s Xi on necessary fervor and “right thinking:”

We must continue to rid ourselves of any virus that erodes the party’s fabric[.]

And

Mobile Encryption is a Huge Problem

That’s the position of FBI Director Christopher Wray.

To put it mildly, this [mobile device encryption] is a huge, huge problem.  It impacts investigations across the board.

Certainly, consumer-done encryption of our communications devices can temporarily hinder investigations of the criminals who also use this encryption.  But as the FBI demonstrated regarding an encrypted cell phone involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, its initial claims notwithstanding, the encryption can be broken without the cooperation of the device’s owner.

Colin Kaepernick’s Lawfare “Protest”

After being unable to get a job with any team in the NFL this season, Colin Kaepernick has filed a formal grievance against the NFL, each of the 32 team owners, and President Donald Trump—who supposedly “influenced” league management and team owners into not hiring him—alleging that they colluded to not sign him at quarterback, or end-of-bench monitor, this season.

Coincidentally, his filing comes after a year in which he routinely attacked our flag and national anthem and insulted our veterans by taking a knee during the pre-game playing of our national anthem.  Also coincidentally, his filing comes after a year in which he led his last employer, the San Francisco 49ers, to a 1-10 record before the team tired of losing and benched him.