Congress Wants To Spy On Your Computer

NY Post:  If Congress had to name laws honestly, it would be called the “Forcing Your Internet Provider to Spy On You Just In Case You’re a Criminal Act of 2011” — a costly, invasive mandate that even the co-author of the Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), says “runs roughshod over the rights of people who use the Internet.”

But because it’s disguised as the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act,” the House Judiciary Committee approved it last week by a wide margin — even though it’s got little to do with child porn and won’t do much to protect kids.

The centerpiece of this ill-conceived law is a sweeping requirement that commercial Internet providers retain a one-year log of all the temporary Internet Protocol addresses they assign to their users, along with customer-identification information. The Justice Department says this will help track down child-porn peddlers by linking online activity and real-world identities.  But the government would be able to access that sensitive data for all kinds of investigations, most of which would have nothing to do with child porn.
 

Expect To Give A DNA Sample If You Get Arrested By The Feds

ABA Journal: An en banc federal appeals court has upheld a law authorizing the collection of DNA samples from all federal arrestees.

In an 8-6 decision, the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that routinely collecting DNA samples from arrestees for a national database does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Legal Intelligencer covered the decision (PDF).

“DNA profiling is simply a more precise method of ascertaining identity and is thus akin to fingerprinting, which has long been accepted as part of routine booking procedures,” the majority opinion said.

Despite Privacy Concerns Law Enforcement to Use iPhone Iris Scanner

Reuters:  Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company’s already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects.

The so-called “biometric” technology, which seems to take a page from TV shows like “MI-5” or “CSI,” could improve speed and accuracy in some routine police work in the field.  However, its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues.

Is Gun Ownership Relevant to Healthcare?

From the ABA Journal:

Physicians fighting a Florida law that restricts them from asking all patients about guns or dropping a patient simply because he or she has a firearm could be facing an uphill legal battle.

During a court hearing today on a lawsuit filed by several physician groups, an assistant attorney general said the doctors are misreading the statute and a federal judge expressed skepticism about their case, reports the Associated Press.

The physicians say asking about guns, as a number of standard questionnaires do, is a legitimate inquiry about patient health.

“What’s relevant about asking about my gun when I came in with a cold?” said U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke. “Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe the questionnaire is overbroad and not the statute.”

 This article can be found on the ABA Journal’s website by clicking here.

Law Enforcement Wants To See Your Facebook

Fox News:  U.S. law-enforcement agencies are increasingly obtaining warrants to search Facebook, often gaining detailed access to users’ accounts without their knowledge.

A Reuters review of the Westlaw legal database shows that since 2008, federal judges have authorized at least two dozen warrants to search individuals’ Facebook accounts. Many of the warrants requested a laundry list of personal data such as messages, status updates, links to videos and photographs, calendars of future and past events, “Wall postings” and “rejected Friend requests.”

Family Pics May Lead to Utah Couple’s Deportation

ABC News: “What were intended to be sweet family photos instead morphed into an immigration nightmare for new Utah parents, who face deportation after a Walgreens worker flagged pictures of their naked son.  Prosecutors have cleared Sergio Diaz-Palomino and Alma Vasquez of any wrongdoing after authorities questioned family photos in which Diaz-Palomino is seen kissing the face, buttocks and genitals of their 9-month-old, American-born son.”

9th Circuit Court Rules Government Has a Right to Use GPS to Track All Citizens w/o Probable Cause

Yahoo News:  “Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.”

Police want Backdoor to Web Users’ Private Data

Cnet.com:  “CNET has reviewed a survey scheduled to be released at a federal task force meeting on Thursday, which says that law enforcement agencies are virtually unanimous in calling for such an interface to be created. Eighty-nine percent of police surveyed, it says, want to be able to “exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process” through an encrypted, police-only “nationwide computer network.” (See one excerpt and another.) . . . But the most controversial element is probably the private Web interface, which raises novel security and privacy concerns, especially in the wake of a recent inspector general’s report (PDF) from the Justice Department. The 289-page report detailed how the FBI obtained Americans’ telephone records by citing nonexistent emergencies and simply asking for the data or writing phone numbers on a sticky note rather than following procedures required by law.”

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