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What To Do If You Are Being Followed…

(from the Art of Manliness)

What to Do If You’re Being Followed

 

 

You arrive at your favorite coffee shop in the ‘burbs and notice a guy in a green baseball cap standing behind you. You give him a friendly nod and go back to looking at the menu.

While you’re taking a bite from your Arby’s roast beef sandwich during your lunch break downtown, you notice that same guy in the green ball cap at a table outside. “Huh. Small world. What a coincidence,” you think to yourself.

Work is over, and you roll up to the gym to get your sweat on. While you’re walking to the entrance, you glance over and see Mr. Green Baseball Hat sitting in a car in the parking lot.

You get the sinking feeling that this third spotting isn’t a coincidence and that maybe this guy is following you.

What do you do? (link)

I for one, when working as a private investigator, thought I was being followed only once.  I was fairly close to home. so I lead the possible surveillant away, came to a same place, and called home to make certain my wife and infant daughter were ok, and the home secured.

Once I was assured I was no longer being followed, I took a different route home, scouting for the guy’s car.  I never saw him again, nor the car with the same license.

Of course, if it had been a team, I was toast!

Regardless, the article has some good, basic advice…

Check your six!

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You Have A Constitutional Right To Take Photos Of Police, Federal Court Affirms

Photographing and filming police officers in public is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment. That’s what a federal appeals court unanimously affirmed this week in cases involving Philadelphia officers retaliating against citizens pointing cameras at them.

Slate reports that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was for two cases. In one, a woman named Amanda Geraci was restrained across the neck by a police officer while trying to film the arrest of an anti-fracking protester. In the second, a Temple undergraduate named Richard Fields was handcuffed and prosecuted after trying to film officers breaking up a house party.

A District Court previously had ruled that both Geraci and Fields had engaged in “conduct” only and not “expressive conduct,” and that therefore their filming wasn’t a First Amendment “freedom of speech” issue. But in Friday’s ruling, the Federal Appeals Court disagreed.

“Every Circuit Court of Appeals to address this issue […] has held that there is a First Amendment right to record police activity in public,” the judges write in their opinion. “Today we join this growing consensus. Simply put, the First Amendment protects the act of photographing, filming, or otherwise recording police officers conducting their official duties in public.”

“The First Amendment protects actual photos, videos, and recordings, […] and for this protection to have meaning the Amendment must also protect the act of creating that material.”

“We ask much of our police,” the judges write in the closing statements. “They can be our shelter from the storm. Yet officers are public officials carrying out public functions, and the First Amendment requires them to bear bystanders recording their actions. This is vital to promote the access that fosters free discussion of governmental actions, especially when that discussion benefits not only citizens but the officers themselves.”

So there you have it: police officers don’t have the right to squash free speech by ordering you to stop shooting photos of them in public.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Elvert Barnes and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

h/t John Gwillam, Facebook

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Don’t you always hate it when Rights you believed to be self-evident truths have to work their way up the judicial chain just to be affirmed as valid?

Of course, this hasn’t yet reached The Supreme Court(!)

Who knows?

New York, New York – It’s A Heckava Town!

(from Wirecutter)

To Serve…..

(NEWSER) – A civilian review panel tasked with investigating complaints against New York City cops has spotted a trend: NYPD officers knocking cellphones and other video recording devices out of the hands of concerned citizens. In a three-year analysis of complaints against city officers starting in 2014, the Civilian Complaint Review Board discovered 257 complaints that contained 346 allegations of officer interference with civilian recordings of police actions, LawNewz reports, citing a CCRB report. In addition to knocking devices out of civilians’ hands, those acts of interference included verbal directions to stop recording, obstructing sightlines, and threatening to arrest or detain civilians for recording police actions. All told, 46% of the complaints alleged physical interference.
MORE

Let’s see…

It’s New York, so I cannot carry a weapon.

And the police can do as they please and interfere with lawful recording in public of questionable events.

Hardly the NYC police department as portrayed in Tom Selleck’s TV series Blue Bloods!

(Of course, Selleck is NOT the real police commissioner of NYC, either!)

Reminiscent of watching Air Force One, and seeing a President fight terrorists.  Then leaving the theater feeling great, then remembering that the real President (at the time) was Bill Clinton!

Happy Independence Day

Today is the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from the tyranny that was the British crown against the colonies.

And, it will be celebrated with fireworks, picnics, barbeques and other family get-togethers.  Some parades and even some solemn remembrances.

We should acknowledge this day, but we should also remember tyranny never stops, and government never stops growing unabated.

YES!  WE HAVE A BILL OF RIGHTS! – but how many of them are forgotten or stepped-on today?

Freedom of Speech?  Hardly.  Colleges and university restricting or stopping speech with which they disagree WHOLESALE!

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms?  I will acknowledge much improvement has happened over the past 20 years in this area, but we must not sit on out laurels.  Just this past week, the Supreme Court declined to hear how possession (carrying) of weapons outside the home factors in.  Leaving an erroneous District Court finding to stand.

Search and Seizure?  Do we even have a Fourth Amendment, anymore?  Blanket wiretapping of cellular phone and Internet communications.  DUI checkpoints.  The TSA.  Anyone see any warrants affiliated with these actions?

Trial by a Jury of one’s Peers?  Seriously?  How often?

And don’t even get me started on seizure of assets and jury nullification!

I thank God that we didn’t elect Barack 2.0 (aka Hillary).  This doesn’t mean that the current White House occupant is close to being a diamond in the rough.

He is a populist, and certainly NOT a libertarian!  And surrounds himself with statist conservatives.

We have won some battles, but are nowhere close to winning the war.

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is often mistakenly attributed to the Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran and frequently to Thomas Jefferson.

In fact, Curran’s line was somewhat different. What he actually said, in a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was:

       “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

And, according to Jefferson scholars there is “no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ or any of its variants.”

Whoever said it, it is TRUE!  Stay vigilant, My Friends!

Happy Independence Day

 

ASM826 and Borepatch Bring Bayou Renaissance Man’s Take On The Trump Wiretap

…and ALL of ours!  (It takes a village of bloggers?  Sorry.)  🙂

Wiretapping is so 1980

When you have the power of a fully operational Stasi Ministry of State Secrets NSA collection of every phone and email, you use it. The Obama Administration didn’t need to tap the phones in the Trump Tower. They just need access to the data collection that is being performed on all of us every day.

I was going to write this up, but Bayou Renaissance Man already hit the thing out of the park. 

“Hell yes, Donald Trump was “wiretapped.” So were you, by the way. And me. From open source information shared by defectors the intelligence community was too incompetent to keep from defecting, we know that every single electronic communication we send is collected in the NSA mainframes. Every single one. And the NSA has algorithms they can use to search it. You don’t go plant a bug in Trump Tower. You wiretap the opposition party’s nominee for president by running a search through the communications that the government “incidentally” collected. And if you find something juicy, then you call up your buddy at the Post and hand it over.”

We Are FOOLS For The Internet

Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)

Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:

Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and the NSA

Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you.  The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:

As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.

What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service

How’s the security of these devices?  You can’t know.  What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy?  You can’t know:

Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.

Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…

So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want.  The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations.  And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:

In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.

And so would NSA listen in?  The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in.  How much data do they have?  Who knows?

It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.

It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler cannot afford such things.  My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys!  Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli?  They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating.  If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
Sigh.

 

Honorable?

(from Brock Townsend)

Attorney General Lynch Signed Off on ALL FISA Applications to WireTap Trump

Via Billy

According to ABC, all applications to the FISA Court were signed off on by the Attorney General and therefore if any applications were processed in the past year, they were signed off on by Loretta Lynch.  This means that Lynch signed off on any requests for wire tapping President Donald Trump during the Presidential race.   This is disheartening knowing that she released a video over the weekend calling for the need for more marching, blood and death on the streets.  This also means that she chose not to investigate the Clinton Foundation for illegal activities but rather signed an application to wire tap President Trump.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch.  With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through 2015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court is very disturbing.  The odds of this happening were 0.02%.

The Obama Presidency is now arguably the most corrupt in US history.

The HONORABLE Loretta Lynch?  Seriously?
I know historically AGs have played fast and loose with the law.  From XXX to John Mitchell, and beyond…
People speaking of political corruption often invoke Watergate and the Plumbers.
We are so far beyond that it pales by comparison!
And, the whole FISA thing makes it stink even more.
“The Obama Presidency is now arguably the most corrupt in US history.”
Perhaps, not so arguably.
(PS – shouldn’t it read candidate or president-elect?)

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

I was recently asked (by a liberal friend) my thoughts on the Sanctuary Cities controversy.

To be honest, I’d not given it much thought.

Initially, my gut response was (as I suspect it is with most conservatives in the Republic) they (the cities and States creating Sanctuary Zones) are in violation of federal law.

Period.

But then the libertarian part of my brain became engaged.  Have these cities and States (or even those therein who are seeking Sanctuary) received due process for their actions?  Or is it just the power of the federal government that is forcing these political entities to bow to their will?  And, of course those individuals, too.

I remembered, the Republic antebellum, when the States held much more power.  But Lincoln killed that concept.

And the federal government has continued to grow ever since!  Have you ever seen a warrant, signed by a judge, used for the searches at the airport?  Or DUI checkpoints?  Or when ‘they’ spy on your computer?

If the illegal aliens avoiding the feds are in these places, they need due process to be extracted and deported.  If they are more than illegal aliens (like criminals) they too need due process.

That pesky Constitution so says.

As a conservative, I say go get ’em.  As a libertarian, I say wait for proper paperwork.  Just withholding gov’t funds to cities and States may be a great tactic (as ‘they’ ubiquitously do with highway funds!) but blackmail is not proper paperwork.

I am a conservative libertarian.

I am all about legal aliens to be here legally, get their ‘green’ cards, and move toward proper citizenship, if they desire.

Illegal aliens?  Should be deported.  Except is the most special circumstances.

But the paperwork needs to be in order, first.

Not just federal force.

 

 

Other Night(s) as a P.I.

(Believe me, not nearly as exciting as it sounds!)

People not in ‘the business’ often get their ideas of private investigation from movies and television.

“I’m a P.I.”

“OH! Like MAGNUM!”

Oft times, it’s more like “Oh, like a bean counter-security guard!”

Case in point.  I’m working out of a P.I. agency cum polygraph business.  The owner is a retired Phoenix Police detective.  My boss is Bob Hall (later of gun store fame).  And Bob and I have done surveillance, security, security surveys, records checks, photography, interviews, taken statements, served legal papers, located missing persons, found hidden assets – all manner of private investigation related duties.

Then there was the tank farm.

Out on the South Central part of West Phoenix lies a tank farm.  (51st Ave/Van Buren) Wherein pipelines of gasoline and related products arrive to the Valley for distribution to local gas stations.

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Once a rural edge of town, it’s now more centrally located.

Fortunately for us, whose office is just by the State Police offices at 23rd Av. and Grand. (in 1986).

It seems a rural gasoline hauler has been filling up at the tank farm, and their numbers don’t match with the fuel taken.  Hmmm.

SO, we as P.I.’s (keep thinking Magnum) get to monitor all fill-ups of these fuel trucks at the farm, compare the receipts with the pump readings, and note any discrepancies!  Whenever these guy arrive to fill up.  4 PM, Midnight, 4 AM.  Whenever.  They call when they are about 45 minutes out…

And I think they had eight trucks.

Which kept three or four private investigators busy…

Woo-Hoo!

Over a period of like two months.  Any day or night.

True, for the company, there was mileage + hourly for multiple investigators.

But, for the investigators, it was insanely boring, and tiresome.  And much comp time was taken for driving from home to the tank farm, watching and monitoring some yahoo fill his tanker truck for 20 minutes, and driving home.

Three hours? Starting @ 0200.

Well, we were young and foolish.  And hungry for money.

I’m not young, anymore.

Just In Time For Christmas!

(from my friend Borepatch)

Dangerous toys NOT to get for Christmas

I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.
I often rant about poor security in products and how “security wasn’t an afterthought, it wasn’t thought of at all.”  Mostly it’s about something that is unlikely to effect most of all y’all.  This time is different – here are some toys that can endanger children, and I STRONGLY recommend that you do NOT buy these as gifts this holiday season.

My Friend Cayla is a doll with embedded voice recognition technology similar to Apple’s Siri, that can interact with children.  It not only listens to what the child says but can respond appropriately.

While it’s somewhat concerning that the doll “phones home” over the Internet for the voice recognition to work, the issue isn’t that it’s listening in on your kid.  Mind you, I find this more than a little creepy, but I remember when there were only 3 TV channels.

The danger is that the doll is Bluetooth enabled, and the Bluetooth is completely unprotected.  What this means is that anyone within Bluetooth range (which at 100 yards is actually further than many think) can connect to the doll and start talking to your child as she plays.

Let me say that again – Joe Shmoe in the park across from your house can connect to your little Princess’ doll and have a chat.There’s a video of this, although they’re wrong to call it a “hack”.  It’s simply use of the functionality as it was designed.

Also using the exact same technology with exactly the same flaw is the i-Que robot: this isn’t just a threat to little girls.

Unconfirmed reports also include the Barbie Hello Dream House.  I don’t know whether this is vulnerable to remote Bluetooth access, and it’s almost certain that nothing definitive will be published on this before the holidays.  Given that I recommend that you don’t buy this, either.

This seems to me to be bordering on criminal negligence by the companies involved (certainly My Friend Cayla and i-Que; possibly Mattel).  The idea that a child’s toy could be released that would allow someone to remotely talk with your child his his or her own bedroom is mind bogglingly stupid.

To reiterate, I strongly recommend that you do NOT buy the My Friend Cayla doll, the i-Que robot, or the Barbie Hello Dream House as gifts due to a grotesquely dangerous security flaw in the toy’s design.

Anyone remember “My name is Talky Tina” from Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone?  These toys take that to a whole new level.

Frightening.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…