Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Privacy

Two Fourth Amendment Cases Prove the Constitution Still Works

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 8, 2017:  

A nurse in Utah and a couple in Texas stood up for their rights as guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights. The Utah nurse hasn’t filed suit, but the Texas couple did, and in both cases law-enforcement officials have been exposed and shamed for their illegal conduct. Both cases were aided with the help of videos taken of the incidents.

The first has caught national attention and has stirred national outrage. On July 26 Alex Wubbels was on duty as head nurse of the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit when a truck driver was wheeled in suffering from severe burns. He had been hit by a driver fleeing police and was comatose when he arrived in the ER.

Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne arrived at the hospital with instructions to obtain a blood sample from the comatose driver to test for elicit substances and ran into nurse Wubbels who knew the hospital’s rules: There would be no blood drawn unless

Keep Reading…

3,500 Colorado Voters Cancel Their Registrations in Protest

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 17, 2017:

Von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky

When Colorado voters learned that their state is responding to President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request for voter information, nearly 3,500 of them deregistered. The Hill made it political, claiming that they “have withdrawn their registrations … citing distrust of the [commission].” The news outlet also allowed that many didn’t know just how much of their personal information was already open to the public and, for whatever reason, decided to exercise their right to privacy.

The request from the commission stated simply that each state, and the District of Columbia,

provide all publicly-available voter roll data including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of Social Security number if available, [and] voter history from 2006 onward.

This was enough to trigger pushback and in some cases outrage at the obviously political overtones and implications of the request, in light of President Trump’s claim of voter fraud in the last election, and his selection of Hans von Spakovsky (shown) to the commission. Spakovsky’s initial appointment to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by President George W. Bush back in 2005 was contested by Democrats and his nomination was withdrawn.

Some Democrats are claiming a witch hunt is taking place, and an effort to keep illegals from voting. As Alex Padilla, the Democrat activist who is California’s secretary of state, noted:

They’re clearly reached their conclusions already and have set up a commission to try to justify voter suppression measures being made nationally. It’s pretty shocking, the data request of a lot of personal information. I can’t even begin to entertain responding to this commission….

If you want to do [Russian President] Vladimir Putin a favor, put all of this personal voter information in one place, online, on the Internet.

Another Democrat who is also upset is Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Grimes, also echoed the “voter suppression” scheme of Padilla:

We don’t want to be a part of an attempt to nationalize voter suppression efforts across the state. Americans didn’t want, unanimously, a national gun registry, and they don’t want a national voter registry.

She added that the commission was “formulated on a sham premise” and violates states’ rights to run their own elections.

To hear von Spakovsky tell it, it’s all about the 2012 study done by the Pew Center on the States: “The whole point of this commission is to research and look at all of these issues, the issues the Pew study raised.” That study claimed that America’s voter registration system is “inaccurate, costly, and inefficient.” It also said the system “reflects its 19th century origins [which] has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society.”

Its conclusions included these:

Approximately 24 million — one of every eight — voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate;

More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters; and

Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

Although the author of the study said it didn’t indicate voter fraud, “these findings underscore the need for states to improve accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.”

The study, however, provided too great a temptation for the federal government to get involved — innocently involved, of course. Marc Lotter, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, claimed that the request was innocuous, and von Spakovsky claimed that opposition to the commission’s request was “bizarre” because the request only asks for information that is already publicly available. But Lotter let slip that the information would be “housed through a federally secure system”, adding that “this is nothing unusual.” (Emphasis added.)

This is a variation on the theme: “Trust us; we know what we’re doing. Go back to sleep.”

Instead of having the executive branch of the government get involved with vote-fraud investigating, which is unconstitutional, David Becker, a Pew director, has already organized a joint pilot project involving eight states to try to make their voter lists more accurate. Said Becker: “What this system will do is it will take in data from the states who choose to participate … and it will be matched … [with] national change of address data from the Postal Service.”

Note the words “who choose to participate” as opposed to the innocuous “request” from Trump’s commission that comes with the unspoken threat of force. According to von Spakovsky, federal statutes already give the public the right to inspect publicly available voter registration records, adding that the attorney general can demand copies of records related to federal elections, if it comes to that.

How much better to keep the federales out of the matter altogether, and let Becker’s pilot program accomplish the same thing.

Perhaps Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann from Mississippi has the right idea. In response to the commission’s “request”, he replied:

They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.

Connecticut Bill Would Allow Police to Arm Drones

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 31, 2017: 

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

The Connecticut State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow local police to weaponize drones. The vote by the Judiciary Committee was 34-7 and the bill’s threats to privacy were downplayed by the committee’s co-chair, Republican John Kissel:

Keep Reading…

Trump Aims “Name and Shame” Policy at Sanctuary Cities

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 26, 2017:

In his Executive Order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” issued on Wednesday, President Donald Trump directed his Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, on a weekly basis, to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

At the moment such jurisdictions include nearly 300 so-called sanctuary cities harboring more than 2,000 known criminals residing illegally in the United States. The Washington Times called the move “Name and Shame” while Breitbart News is hopeful that

Keep Reading…

Officers’ Lawsuit Against Marilyn Mosby in Freddie Gray Case Allowed to Proceed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 12, 2017:

Five of the six officers charged as accessories in the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015 filed suit against Baltimore’s state attorney Marilyn Mosby (shown) for malicious prosecution, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy, among other claims. Last Friday U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis, in a 65-page ruling, ruled that their lawsuit against Mosby may move forward.

The next step is discovery during which Mosby and others in her department, as well as the Sheriff’s department, will be required, under oath, to explain

Keep Reading…

The Background Check System is Working Well – at Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Citizens Without Due Process

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 10, 2016:

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

The Brady Campaign promised back in 1993 that a properly installed background check system, run by the ever-dependable and reliable FBI, would deny permission to criminals trying to buy a firearm. The latest report from the Inspector General of the Justice Department confirms that the system is working well: from 2008 to 2014, the NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] denied approval of 556,000 requests for permission to purchase a firearm with an “accuracy rate that ranges from 99.3 percent to 99.8 percent.”

But buried on page four of the report was this:

Keep Reading…

Will Mainers Make the Same Mistake as Coloradans?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, October 6, 2016:  

Question 3 on the November ballot for Mainers, if passed, would require a gun buyer and seller to meet at a licensed gun dealer and go through a background check. That requirement would also apply to a resident of Maine who loans a firearm to a friend.

The similarities to Colorado’s experience are beyond coincidence:

Keep Reading…

Beware the 300-Pound White Penguin Watching You at the Mall

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 5, 2016:  

Cover of "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother’s primary enabler was the telescreen. It could be turned down but never turned off, and it recorded all behaviors and conversations to be analyzed for traitorous intent.

Knightscope has no discoverable link to the telescreen with its big, fat white Penguin called K5, but its capabilities are astonishing. Those capabilities came to light following an incident at an upscale mall in Palo Alto last month when a K5 ran over a 16-month-old toddler by mistake. Company officials expressed “horror” at the incident, apologized, and then invited the family of the toddler to view its upgraded version of K5, which, it promised, would avoid such incidents in the future.

The rollout of K5 (version 2.0, if you will) was no doubt impressive, as K5 has an amazing array of technology designed as “an advanced anomaly detection device” – read: detect, record, analyze, and then inform its handler of suspicious activities taking place nearby. Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing told Digital Trends:

Keep Reading…

Knightscope Robots: Enhanced Safety or More Invasive Surveillance?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 5, 2016:  

NXT Robot

Not a Knightscope robot, but close

Knightscope robots — one for inside work, the other for outdoors — have been under development for three years, and have logged 35,000 hours of testing and 25,000 miles of rolling through malls, parking lots, and manufacturing facilities. And yet, within weeks of the K5 outdoor model being released in the Stanford Shopping Center, an upscale shopping mall in Palo Alto, California, one of them couldn’t avoid hitting a 16-month-old toddler and running over his foot.

It was a poor start to Knightscope’s first major public contract with the mall, and they did the best they could to ameliorate the situation:

Keep Reading…

Use of “Beware” Software by Police Is Raising Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 11, 2016:  

Cover of "George Orwell's 1984 (Max Notes...

For more than a year the Fresno, California, police department has been using “Beware” software for free before deciding to spend the $2,000 monthly fee for it. It is being touted by its maker, Intrado, as a way to inform officers responding to a 911 call about potential risks they might be facing. As Police Chief Jerry Dyer put it: “Our officers are expected to know the unknown and see the unseen. They are making split-second decisions based on limited facts. The more [we] can provide in terms of intelligence … the more safely [we] can respond to calls.”

As software that collects information and intelligence becomes cheaper and more popular (two years ago it was estimated that more than 90 percent of the 14,000 police departments in the country were using at least some of the available software), concerns about errors have grown,

Keep Reading…

China Demands High-level Silicon Valley Attendees at Seattle Conference

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 24, 2015:  

The Chinese invitation extended to senior executives at major Silicon Valley firms was no invitation but a command: Be there, or lose any chance to exploit business opportunities in China.

The annual Seattle conference in the past has been primarily directed to midlevel management at companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. But this year, taking advantage of China’s President Xi Jinping’s planned visit with President Obama, the date of the conference was moved up, and the invitation/command was extended to the senior executive officers. The carrot offered was a presentation by Xi himself.

The threat was reiterated, for anyone who didn’t get the message, in an interview the Wall Street Journal did with Xi:

Keep Reading…

Celebrating Second Amendment Victory May Be Premature

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 3, 2015:  

Last Friday the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRAILA) chortled that “anti-gun doctors may need to get their own blood pressure checked after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit again upheld Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act.”

The ruling was the second one for the court and was decided by a three-judge panel, with one of them writing a lengthy and blistering critique of the majority opinion.

At issue is the law passed overwhelmingly in June 2011 by the state of Florida which, on the surface, seemed tame enough:

Keep Reading…

It Was Bound to Happen: The First Amendment Versus the Second

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 3, 2015:  

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

It’s a proverb: silence is golden. It’s in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:7b: “[There is] a time for silence and a time for speech.”

For Sir Thomas More, however, his refusal to speak about why he refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage cost him his life. For Amber Ullman the consequences weren’t nearly as severe.

Ullman, a 26-year-old mother of 4-month-old Temperance living in Summerfield, Florida, had just taken her child to her pediatrician for a checkup and shots when her doctor asked:

Keep Reading…

Congress, by Voice Vote, Foists International ID Cards on Everyone

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 12, 2015: 

Politicians have a knack for naming their bills with titles that are backwards, intended to deceive. There’s the Patriot Act, instead of the Fourth Amendment Obliteration Act. There’s the Affordable Care Act, which makes healthcare more expensive and less available.

And then there’s the Girls Count Act, a deceptive title designed to lead one to believe that it has something to do with empowering girls worldwide, making certain that they have access to services and are able to exercise all their rights. Even the opening paragraph expands the deceit:

Keep Reading…

January 2016: TSA Will Require REAL ID for Flight Check-in

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 11, 2105: 

Anyone checking in for an airline flight on January 1, 2016 and thereafter will be turned away if his driver’s license isn’t “REAL ID compliant,” according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials.

But, “it’s a choice,” according to Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles Public Information Officer David Fierro: “It’s not mandatory. It’s a choice for secured identification. If you use a passport when you’re travelling you won’t have any problems. If you use your driver’s license for identification, you’ll need to either apply for the REAL ID card, or get a passport.”

To be compliant, driver’s licenses must capture specific identifying details about the person and then associate them with a unique identification number. DMV.org lists those details: 

Keep Reading…

Rand Paul’s “Carpe Diem” Moment and the Patriot Act

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 1, 2015: 

When Kentucky Senator Rand Paul learned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had called the Senate into special session on Sunday afternoon to reconsider extending the Patriot Act (and most likely the USA Freedom Act which the House just passed), he saw his opportunity. It was a “carpe diem” moment (“seize the day”).

He gave this to Politico:

Keep Reading…

Passage of the Freedom Act Assures Continuation of the Surveillance State

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 15, 2015: 

Passage of The Freedom Act in the House on Wednesday, May 13, 338-88, was for show only. The bill with real teeth that would have done something substantial about rolling back the surveillance state is collecting dust in Speaker John Boehner’s inbox.

Freedom Act 2.0 is even weaker than the one the House passed last year, which the Senate essentially ignored until it was too close to the midterms for it to vote on. It does not, as sponsor Rep. James Sensenbrenner hoped it would, end the surveillance state, nor even slow it down. It merely shifts the collection center from Utah to the phone companies. Under the bill,

Keep Reading…

Wikipedia, ACLU sue NSA over Constitutional Violations

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 13, 2015:

On Tuesday Wikimedia (the foundation behind Wikipedia) joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) for violating the Constitution and exceeding authority granted to it by Congress. The lawsuit

challenges the suspicionless seizure and searching of internet traffic by the National Security Agency (NSA) on U.S. soil….

 

The NSA is seizing Americans’ communications en masse while they are in transit [in the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that make up the internet], and it is searching the contents of substantially all international text-based communications – and many domestic communications as well – for tens of thousands of search terms.

 

The surveillance exceeds the scope of the authority that Congress provided in the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) and violates the First and Fourth Amendments.

Because Wikipedia serves as an anonymous source of information for more than 500 million readers every month, and because its content is continually being updated by an estimated 75,000 contributors from around the world every month, such unrestricted and blatant invasion of privacy is having a dampening effect on Wiki and its customers, according to the lawsuit.

For example,

Keep Reading…

Patriot Act’s Illegal Section 215 due to Expire June 1

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 18, 2015:

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire June 1, and each side in the upcoming battle to renew, reform, or let expire this unconstitutional abridgement of freedoms is rolling out its arguments.

Section 215 is often referred to as the Patriot Act’s “library records” provision because it allows the FBI to order a library or any other source to produce, without a warrant showing probable cause (as required under the Fourth Amendment), all “tangible things” belonging to its target of interest including “books, records, papers, documents, and other items.” That includes books borrowed and websites visited by the target while at the library. Niceties demanded by the Fourth Amendment are ignored in Section 215 as long as the FBI “specifies” that its order is “for an authorized investigation … to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

One of those favoring renewal of Section 215 is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Keep Reading…

Dollree Mapp, Defendant in Landmark Fourth Amendment Case, Dead at 91

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 10, 2014: 

3,927 days Earl Warren from 1943 to 1953

Chief Justice Earl Warren

When Dollree Mapp answered the door on May 23, 1957, she had no idea of the impact her next move would have on jurisprudence in the United States. 

At her door were three local police officers who were searching for a suspect in a bombing, and they asked permission to enter her home, having been given information that he might be hiding there. She asked them if they had a search warrant. When they said no, she refused entry. 

Two officers left, leaving one behind to maintain surveillance. Three hours later the two officers returned, along with several others who demanded entry into her home. At that point, according to Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, writing for the majority in Mapp v. Ohio, 

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.