In July 2018, police arrested 19-year-old Sarah Wilson and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Holden Medlin, at a traffic stop in Chesapeake, Virginia. The officers took Wilson out of the car and cuffed her hands behind her back. But after, the officers went after Medlin who tried to flee the scene. At this point, the report grows more controversial.
Denver is known nationwide for its strict laws on so-called “urban camping”. Many times, they have cracked down on homeless encampments and overnight shelters, drawing national attention since new legislation passed on the issue in 2012.
Footage from the event shows just how far Denver police are willing to go to enforce these laws. Over the years, they have faced heavy criticism.
By Indri Schaelicke and Ryan Lau | United States
Videos and images circulating on Twitter Sunday night appear to show the French government snipers shooting protesters. There is currently confusion over whether the bullets fired are made of rubber or are real bullets. Regardless, many citizens are coming away with serious injuries.
According to WRAL, North Carolina police have successfully convinced a Wake County judge to order Google to hand over the data records of citizens found to be within a digital corridor on the night or day of a specified crime scene. The state claims they have the right to access Google’s database in an effort to identify suspects in the area of a crime.
The two cases in question revolve around the murders of a taxi cab driver and another man killed in his driveway last year. Drawing on a satellite map, Raleigh police presented the Wake County judge with a highlighted area encompassing the crime scene. Any citizen that passed within this territory during an estimated time of criminal activity would be included in the digital roundup.
While privacy activists across the country criticized the news, county officials suggested that this is simply the natural evolution of forensic techniques. Raleigh police presented the tech giant with warrants to provide the digital information of any active cell phones found within the area of the two separate murders.
For one of the warrants, the judge ordered Google to hand over the data of any user within a 17 block radius of the crime scene. This area includes residential houses and businesses, meaning that the data dump could potentially include thousands of free and lawful citizen’s private information. Some have suggested this is a breach of our constitutional rights to search without due cause.
According to research, 92% of all Americans own a cellular device. While users have the option to turn off GPS location services, citizens can still be tracked by connected cellular networks that constantly monitor users. Google has remained quiet on the proceedings and offered a brief statement regarding how they decide to release information to authorities:
We have a long-established process that determines how law enforcement may request data about our users. We carefully review each request and always push back when they are overly broad. – Google
The statement suggests that Google protects the rights of its users up to a point. Without any specifics, however, it is tough to assume what their policy really is and how dedicated the tech giant is to its user’s private information. Furthermore, the data was not limited to Android users. Any user connected to a google app was targeted in the sweep. In the case of the two murders in Raleigh, perhaps the search optimization site was shown convincing evidence that compelled them to release the records of thousands of area citizens. Or perhaps this isn’t a battle the Silicon Valley enterprise wants to fight.
According to the presiding judge, this ruling does not allow for a limitless search of a user’s phone. Text messages, emails, and phone calls were precluded from the warrant although the judge suggested these could be obtained with through a different process. This ruling holds precedent in Orange County California where a digital search warrant to comb through the records of cellular users has been used in past cases.
Americans are not stupid. They know they are being watched and recognize that the monolithic tech giants of our age often have no recourse (or interest) in protecting the rights of their consumers. This decision stands and Google’s weak stance on privacy helps illuminate the reality that your right to digital privacy in The United States continues to be eroded with certainty and precision by a new grouping of technological authorities that seem not to possess an understanding or care for constitutional rights.
The fourth amendment to the constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Constitutional advocates will recognize the issue with judges ordering private data of citizens that happen to pass through a geographical territory while a crime is committed. While the information could be used to prosecute a killer, it also serves to disenfranchise the property rights of the other 99.9% of citizens who have a right to be secure in their persons against unreasonable search. Ordering the release of is an unreasonable search.
What’s worse is that this sort of legislation will undoubtedly target minorities as it already did in the taxi driver case. Crime is highest in places of poverty, and if authorities are allowed the opportunity to search private citizen’s property based on territorial generalizations, it is a certainty that the weakest among us will only get weaker. Furthermore, this new technique could possess technological challenges. For instance, this modern form of analytics could lead to false accusations based simply on being within a 17 block area of a committed crime.
As we move into the era of complete technological adoption, clarification regarding privacy and the rights of individuals in the digital age are becoming contested issues. While officials suggest these new measures are in line with a mentality required to investigate crimes of the 21st-century, where does the breach of privacy end? Every inch we give up as Americans is another inch gained by the corporate monoliths of government and business. These latest cases are simply another example of how commonplace it has become for the state to monitor its citizens without their consent.
Image Source PXHERE
By Will Arthur | USA
In today’s times, it feels like at least a few times a year a cop kills a citizen or video footage comes out that a cop killed a citizen in the past. Every time news comes out of a murder like this there are protests and much outspoken opposition: whether marches, celebrities speaking out, or social media banter. Typically, these protests revolve around the idea that the whole police force needs serious fixing and reconstruction because people being wrongly killed by police is a serious problem. In response, Conservatives and Republicans say back to these protests that “one cop does not represent the rest”, “one bad decision does not define the group, or “not all cops are bad”. These responses from the right wing need serious considering. Specifically, the phrase “not all cops are bad”. Is there really a good cop?
Another common argument the right side uses is that cops are only doing their job; they have the best intentions in mind. Cops cannot be blamed for the actions of themselves because they are only taking orders from higher-ups. Cops have the best intentions but can only do what they are told. This idea that cops can get away with terrible actions because they are just taking orders is ridiculous and goes with the saying “if someone told you to jump off a bridge would you?” No, cops should be able to logically think about what they are told to do and determine if the orders are good or bad. They should be held to the standard that every other employee is held to.
There was another side to the argument besides that cops should not be blamed for the orders they follow: cops have the best intentions. This part of the argument may very well be true for many cops. Some may just want to protect and serve the taxpayers the best way they can. While the opposite may also be true for a few police officers.
These arguments may bring another option to the table, however. It may be that yes, most of the people in police officer roles are overall good people and want to do the best for society, but the job/position of being a police officer today is not good for society.
To validate this claim that the job of a police officer may not be good for society we would have to look at where police officer’s orders are coming from. Well, police officers do not technically pledge an oath to a person, but to a thing: the law. Police officers swear to execute and enforce every law passed by the United States government. For a cop’s job to be positive to society, one would have to agree with every single law passed in America. Whether the law is putting people in jail for using cannabis, fining someone for pumping their own gas in New Jersey, unconstitutionally seizing citizens by means of the PATRIOT act, and nearly an endless amount of other unjust laws.
It is not that every single person in the position of police officer is a bad person (even though some definitely are) or that the idea of wanting to protect and serve society is a bad idea. Wanting to protect and serve people is an admirable thing to do. The problem with today’s police force, however, is that they hold the job of enforcing all of the government’s laws and regulations, and many (arguably most) laws and regulations are flawed and unjust. Until the laws are cleaned up and give the citizens their natural rights back the police force will be doing a disservice to society and be inherently bad.