The Canadian Border Fence Is the Climax of Isolationism

“This is not 1812, and the US isn’t going to be invaded from the North. Canada is not only a US ally, it is a member of the ‘Five Eyes‘ group­ — an unparalleled intelligence sharing relationship that exists between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Illegal immigrants are not flooding over the border, and any security threats quickly known by both countries security forces. Securing the Canadian border is both pointless and absurd, and the estimated $15 billion price tag would make even Donald Trump think twice.  Thankfully, not all Republicans share Walker’s policy preferences.  Both Rand Paul and Jeb Bush both ridiculed Walker’s idea.”

Blogging about Cops Is Not a Crime – Even If You’re on Probation

“Darren Chaker was under supervised release when he wrote on his personal blog that Ms. Leesa Fazal, an investigator with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, was ‘forced out’ of her previous post with the Las Vegas Police Department.  That statement, according to the district court ultimately overseeing Chaker’s probation, was a violation of the requirement that he ‘not … disparage or defame others on the internet’ — and so Chaker was returned to prison.  If the anti-disparagement provision of Chaker’s supervised release becomes widespread, it could easily stifle valuable speech by activists and others.”

TSA inadvertently shows the dangers of master baggage keys

“Security researchers have long warned of the dangers of using master-keyed locks — if thieves get their hands on just one key, they compromise all of the compatible locks at the same time. And unfortunately, the US’ Transportation Security Administration is learning this lesson the hard way. It briefly let the Washington Post show a photo (we’ve blurred the details) of the master baggage keys it uses for approved locks, giving crooks a crude guide to making duplicates. And you can’t just switch to a non-standard lock to get around this, since TSA agents will rip it off if they catch it during an inspection.”

U.S. police seek ‘blunt impact projectile’ weapons

“Police have long had what they considered ‘non-lethal’ weapons at their disposal, including pepper spray, stun guns and bean bag projectiles. But even those weapons have caused deaths, leading to a search for ‘less lethal’ alternatives.  Micron Products Inc., based in Fitchburg, makes the new ammunition, which are much larger than rubber bullets and have silicone heads that expand and flatten on impact, enhancing the pain and incapacitating a suspect.  Sixteen law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and six in Canada have purchased the projectiles, including SWAT units of the Los Angeles County and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Departments in California.”

California pushes 350-foot no-fly drone law; government exempt

“The drone wars are heating up in California as legislators move to ban unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from flying within 350 feet above property ground level without the operators having received express permission.  Senate Bill 142 contains an exemption for lawful flights of government and law enforcement drones.  In other words, you can consider it a proposed ban on private and commercial UAV use – a dismal prospect for companies such as Amazon, with its plans to fill the sky with delivery drones; Google, with its own drone delivery service; and GoPro, the body-wearable camera maker that recently announced it was making its own drone.

New law permits cop drones to fire beanbag rounds from the sky

“Legal experts are very concerned that a new North Dakota law which allows law enforcement drones to be armed with so-called less-than-lethal weapons—including stun guns and beanbag rounds—could be highly problematic. Among other reasons, such weapons have been shown that they can, in fact, kill people.  North Dakota is believed to be the first state in the union to allow such weapons aboard state and local police drones. The law, known as House Bill 1328, which took effect earlier this month, imposes a significant pro-privacy victory: requiring that police and sheriff’s deputies get a warrant when deploying a drone for surveillance.”

Jeffrey Tucker, Captured, Cuffed, and Jailed: A Personal Story

“He stared at me and said: put your hands behind your back. I was cuffed and led to the car.  My car would be towed to a wrecker lot, he explained. If I get out on bail, I could pay to get it back. Would the lot still be open by then? I asked. The policeman had no answer, no concern. And this is generally what you come to realize. Once arrested, you are a captured animal. Nothing else matters. You are no longer a consumer, a citizen, a person with a job, a normal human being. You are now just fodder, a thing they can use as they see fit.  The notion that you have any rights at all once you are arrested is a joke. What happens to you is entirely the decision of your captors.”

Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes

“The suitcase-size tracking systems, which can cost as much as $400,000, allow the police to pinpoint a phone’s location within a few yards by posing as a cell tower. In the process, they can intercept information from the phones of nearly everyone else who happens to be nearby, including innocent bystanders. Dozens of police departments from Miami to Los Angeles own similar devices. A USA TODAY Media Network investigation identified more than 35 of them in 2013 and 2014, and the American Civil Liberties Union has found 18 more. When and how the police have used those devices is mostly a mystery, in part because the FBI swore them to secrecy.”

Taxpayers Sue IRS For Illegal Account Access In Data Breach

“The action was filed [after] 330,000 taxpayer accounts were illegally accessed by criminals using the ‘Get Transcript’ application on the IRS web site.  The complaint alleges that the illegal access of the system ‘would have been prevented, had the IRS fixed the known security deficits in its data storage system,’ that IRS security was inadequate despite the fact that IRS ‘knew that cyber-criminals were highly motivated to hack the IRS system in order to steal taxpayer information that has significant value in the black market.’ Finally, the suit says that IRS ‘deliberately and intentionally decided not to implement the security measures needed to prevent the subject data breach.'”

IRS: 330K Taxpayers Hit by ‘Get Transcript’ Scam

“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disclosed today that identity thieves abused a feature on the agency’s Web site to pull sensitive data on more than 330,000 potential victims as part of a scheme to file fraudulent tax refund requests. The new figure is far larger than the number of Americans the IRS said were potentially impacted when it first acknowledged the vulnerability in May 2015 — two months after KrebsOnSecurity first raised alarms about the weakness. The IRS’s experience should tell consumers something about the effectiveness of the technology that the IRS, banks and countless other organizations use to screen requests for sensitive information.”