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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Anne Higonnet Pretty babies


Pretty babies by Anne Higonnet


The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State By John W. Whitehead


The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State By John W. Whitehead

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”—C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Whether it’s the working mother arrested for letting her 9-year-old play unsupervised at a playground, the teenager forced to have his genitals photographed by police, the underage burglar sentenced to 23 years for shooting a retired police dog, or the 43-year-old man who died of a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers allegedly over the sale of untaxed cigarettes, the theater of the absurd that passes for life in the American police state grows more tragic and incomprehensible by the day.

Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old South Carolina working mother, was arrested, charged with abandonment and had her child placed in state custody after allowing the 9-year-old to spend unsupervised time at a neighborhood playground while the mom worked a shift at McDonald’s. Mind you, the child asked to play outside, was given a cell phone in case she needed to reach someone, and the park—a stone’s throw from the mom’s place of work—was overrun with kids enjoying its swings, splash pad, and shade.

A Connecticut mother was charged with leaving her 11-year-old daughter in the car unsupervised while she ran inside a store—despite the fact that the child asked to stay in the car and was not overheated or in distress. A few states away, a New Jersey man was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of his children after leaving them in a car parked in a police station parking lot, windows rolled down, while he ran inside to pay a ticket.

A Virginia teenager was charged with violating the state’s sexting law after exchanging sexually provocative videos with his girlfriend. Instead of insisting that the matter be dealt with as a matter of parental concern, police charged the boy with manufacturing and distributing child pornography and issued a search warrant to “medically induce an erection” in the 17-year-old boy in order to photograph his erect penis and compare it to the images sent in the sexting exchange. The police had already taken an initial photograph of the boy’s penis against his will, upon his arrest.

In Georgia, a toddler had his face severely burned when a flash bang grenade, launched by a SWAT team during the course of a no-knock warrant, landed in his portable crib, detonating on his pillow. Also in Georgia, a police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who answered the door, reportedly with a Nintendo Wii controller in his hands. The cop claimed the teenager pointed a gun at her, thereby justifying the use of deadly force. Then there was the incident wherein a police officer, responding to a complaint that some children were “chopping off tree limbs” creating “tripping hazards,” pulled a gun on a group of 11-year-old boys who were playing in a wooded area, attempting to build a tree fort.

While the growing phenomenon of cops shooting family pets only adds to the insanity (it is estimated that a family pet is killed by law enforcement every 98 minutes in America), it’s worse for those who dare to shoot a police dog. Ivins Rosier was 16 when he broke into the home of a Florida highway patrol officer and shot (although he didn’t kill) the man’s retired police dog. For his crime, the teenager was sentenced to 23 years in prison, all the while police officers who shoot family pets are rarely reprimanded.

Meanwhile if you’re one of those hoping to live off the grid, independent of city resources, you might want to think again. Florida resident Robin Speronis was threatened with eviction for living without utilities. Speronis was accused of violating the International Property Maintenance Code by relying on rain water instead of the city water system and solar panels instead of the electric grid.

Now we can shrug these incidents off as isolated injustices happening to “other” people. We can rationalize them away by suggesting that these people “must” have done something to warrant such treatment. Or we can acknowledge that this slide into totalitarianism—helped along by overcriminalization, government surveillance, militarized police, neighbors turning in neighbors, privatized prisons, and forced labor camps, to name just a few similarities—is tracking very closely with what we saw happening in Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

When all is said and done, what these incidents reflect is a society that has become so bureaucratic, so legalistic, so politically correct, so militaristic, so locked down, so self righteous, and so willing to march in lockstep with the corporate-minded police state that any deviations from the norm—especially those that offend the sensibilities of the “government-knows-best” nanny state or challenge the powers that be—become grist for prosecution, persecution and endless tribulations for the poor souls who are caught in the crosshairs.

Then there are the incidents, less colorful perhaps but no less offensive to the sensibilities of any freedom-loving individual, which should arouse outrage among the populace but often slip under the radar of a sleeping nation.

For instance, not only is the NSA spying on and collecting the content of your communications, but it’s also going to extreme lengths to label as “extremists” anyone who attempts to protect their emails from the government’s prying eyes. Adding insult to injury, those same government employees and contractors spying on Americans’ private electronic communications are also ogling their private photos. Recent revelations indicate that NSA employees routinely pass around intercepted nude photos, considered a “fringe benefit” of surveillance positions.

A trove of leaked documents reveals the government’s unmitigated gall in labeling Americans as terrorists for little more than being suspected of committing “any act that is ‘dangerous’ to property and intended to influence government policy through intimidation.” As The Intercept reports: “This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets.” All the while, the TSA, despite the billions of dollars we spend on the agency annually and the liberties to which its agents subject travelers, has yet to catch a single terrorist.

No less disconcerting are the rash of incidents in which undercover government agents encourage individuals to commit crimes they might not have engaged in otherwise. This “make work” entrapment scheme runs the gamut from terrorism to drugs. In fact, a recent report released by Human Rights Watch reveals that “nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the ‘direct involvement’ of government agents or informants.”

Most outrageous of all are the asset forfeiture laws that empower law enforcement to rake in huge sums of money by confiscating cash, cars, and even homes based on little more than a suspicion of wrongdoing. In this way, Americans who haven’t been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of wrongdoing, are literally being subjected to highway robbery by government agents offering profit-driven, cash-for-freedom deals.

So who or what is to blame for this bureaucratic nightmare delivered by way of the police state? Is it the White House? Is it Congress? Is it the Department of Homeland Security, with its mobster mindset? Is it some shadowy, power-hungry entity operating off a nefarious plan?

Or is it, as Holocaust survivor Hannah Arendt suggests, the sheepish masses who mindlessly march in lockstep with the government’s dictates—expressing no outrage, demanding no reform, and issuing no challenge to the status quo—who are to blame for the prison walls being erected around us? The author of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt warned that “the greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.”

This is where democracy falls to ruin, and bureaucracy and tyranny prevail.

As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we have only ourselves to blame for this bureaucratic hell that has grown up around us. Too many of us willingly, knowingly and deliberately comprise what Arendt refers to as “cogs in the mass-murder machine.”

These cogs are none other than those of us who have turned a blind eye to the government corruption, or shrugged dismissively at the ongoing injustices, or tuned out the mayhem in favor of entertainment distractions. Just as guilty are those who have traded in their freedoms for a phantom promise of security, not to mention those who feed the machine unquestioningly with their tax dollars and partisan politics.

And then there are those who work for the government, federal, state, local or contractor. These government employees—the soldiers, the cops, the technicians, the social workers, etc.—are neither evil nor sadistic. They’re simply minions being paid to do a job, whether that job is to arrest you, spy on you, investigate you, crash through your door, etc. However, we would do well to remember that those who worked at the concentration camps and ferried the victims to the gas chambers were also just “doing their jobs.”

Then again, if we must blame anyone, blame the faceless, nameless, bureaucratic government machine—which having been erected and set into motion is nearly impossible to shut down—for the relentless erosion of our freedoms through a million laws, statutes, and prohibitions.

If there is any glimmer of hope to be found, it will be at the local level, but we cannot wait for things to get completely out of control. If you wait to act until the SWAT team is crashing through your door, until your name is placed on a terror watch list, until you are reported for such outlawed activities as collecting rainwater or letting your children play outside unsupervised, then it will be too late.

Obedience is the precondition to totalitarianism, and the precondition to obedience is fear. Regimes of the past and present understand this. “The very first essential for success,” Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.” Is this not what we are seeing now with the SWAT teams and the security checkpoints and the endless wars?

This much I know: we are not faceless numbers. We are not cogs in the machine. We are not slaves. We are people, and free people at that. As the Founders understood, our freedoms do not flow from the government. They were not given to us, to be taken away at the will of the State; they are inherently ours. In the same way, the government’s appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.

Until we can get back to this way of thinking, until we can remind Americans what it really means to be a free American, and learn to stand our ground in the face of threats to those freedoms, and encourage our fellow citizens to stop being cogs in the machine, we will continue as slaves in thrall to the bureaucratic police state.


THE CATEGORICAL FAILURE OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAW by Laura E. Avery

THE CATEGORICAL FAILURE OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAW by Laura E. Avery


You Can Have Sex With Them; Just Don't Photograph Them....A former cop's 15-year prison sentence illustrates the absurdity of federal child porn laws, by Radley Balko

You Can Have Sex With Them; Just Don't Photograph Them....A former cop's 15-year prison sentence illustrates the absurdity of federal child porn laws, by Radley Balko



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Should it really be a crime to look at child pornography? by Rod Liddle


Should it really be a crime to look at child pornography?

I wanted to look at some pictures of child pornography from the internet this week and then tell you all about them, but I couldn't because my stupid modem broke down. I'm not sure how the law or, for that matter, society will view my failure. The intent, clearly, was there. In mitigation I suppose I could say I was planning to do it all on your behalf and would gain no pleasure from the operation myself. That's what I could say. In which case perhaps the policemen should turn up at your house instead.

Imagine the modem had worked exactly as the smug, acne-ridden computer salesman had assured me it would. Could I have told the police, and later the courts, that my motives were in the glorious traditions of Woodward and Bernstein, James Cameron and Donal MacIntyre - ie, serious campaigning investigative journalism? Would they have scoured the bedroom floor for incriminating evidence to disprove my plea of mitigation? And why, exactly, is it a plea of mitigation in the first place? Why is it any less exploitative of the unfortunate children concerned for me to download pictures of them and write about it, in a harrumphing fashion, for this newspaper? Does it hurt them any more or any less than if I had simply downloaded the pictures for my own gratification? I would be, in my own fashion, gaining from the experience and - worse, you might argue - gaining remuneratively.

And what about the police? They would have to look at the pictures, too. And the court officials and maybe the members of the jury, all united in their unbridled repulsion. What if, secretly, one of them, poring over the evidence and sweating slightly, rather enjoyed it? Does that matter, as far as the law, or society, is concerned?

The law prohibits, in theory, even an accidental visit to a child-porn website. But we are told that prosecution would be unlikely to occur if it could be proved that the visit was, indeed, accidental. How do you prove that? No, really, officer, it was all a ghastly mistake. Will that wash?

Scotland Yard is, at present, scouring its files for evidence of a telephone call made to them, supposedly, by the rock guitarist, Pete Townshend. He says he visited a child-porn website and, appalled, rang the police to tell them about it. Does that make it OK, then, telling the police about it afterwards? Can I visit a child-porn website and, perhaps having sated my paedophilic lust with various grotesque fantasies, tell the police later how horrid it was? And get away with it? Why does that make a difference?

The latest statement from Scotland Yard suggests it makes a big difference. That, after all, is why they are searching their files for the alleged telephone call. "The timing [of the call] could obviously put a different slant on it," a police spokesman said yesterday. Why? Because it would suggest Townshend hadn't really enjoyed looking at the pictures? Is it the sexual psyche of the individual we are attempting to legislate against, or the exploitation and abuse of children? Will the authorities start poking around in Townshend's mind to discern, once and for all, what his motive was in downloading the stuff? We know Townshend enjoys pornography; he has said so. What's more, he wrote what must be the first ever pop song about masturbating to pornographic magazines, Pictures of Lily. Hell, the prosecution rests its case, M'lud.

How absurd the law is. But at least it is an appropriate reflection of our collective neurosis and confusion about paedophilia generally. The one laudable and necessary aim - to protect children from abuse - has become warped by our consuming, obsessive hatred for those who find children sexually attractive. There is no causal link between viewing child porn and abusing children. And even if there were, it would not be sufficient, within the philosophy of our judicial system, to simply assume that an unpleasant penchant for the former presupposes guilt of the latter.

How much police time is tied up in Operation Ore, the police investigation which has so far uncovered the names of 7,000 people who have visited child-porn websites? And how many children will be protected from abuse as a result of the prosecutions? No matter how vile we may consider the sexual predilections of paedophiles, we should not be in the business of putting people in prison for simply looking at things. The law should be above the blind, howling, rage of Rebekah Wade's moronic vigilantes. But there is the whiff of Salem about it all.

How Often Are Teens Arrested for Sexting? Data From a National Sample of Police Cases by Janis Wolak, JD, David Finkelhor, PhD, and Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD

How Often Are Teens Arrested for Sexting? Data From a National Sample of Police Cases by Janis Wolak, JD, David Finkelhor, PhD, and Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD

SEXTING: A TYPOLOGY , by Janis Wolak & David Finkelhor

SEXTING: A TYPOLOGY , by Janis Wolak & David Finkelhor

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Proper and Improper Closing Argument by BY STEPHEN A. SALTZBURG

Proper and Improper Closing Argument by BY STEPHEN A. SALTZBURG

IG: Feds didn’t pass polygraph evidence of child abuse to investigators BY By Marisa Taylor - McClatchy Washington Bureau

IG: Feds didn’t pass polygraph evidence of child abuse to investigators BY By Marisa Taylor - McClatchy Washington Bureau.

The nation’s spy satellite agency failed to notify authorities when some employees and contractors confessed during lie detector tests to crimes such as child molestation, an intelligence inspector general has concluded.

In other cases, the National Reconnaissance Office delayed reporting criminal admissions obtained during security clearance polygraphs, possibly jeopardizing evidence in investigations or even the safety of children, according to the inspector general report released Tuesday , almost two years after McClatchy’s reporting raised similar concerns.

In one instance, one of the agency’s top lawyers told colleagues not to bother reporting confessions by a government contractor of child molestation, viewing child pornography and sexting with a minor, the inquiry by the inspector general for the intelligence community revealed.

“Doubt we have enough to interest the FBI,” the agency’s then -assistant general counsel told another official in an email, adding, “the alleged victim is fourteen years old and fully capable of calling the police herself.” Neither party in the email was identified by name.

After the other official insisted on reporting it, the confession was eventually investigated and it turned out that the girl was still in contact with the contractor who’d confessed to the crimes. It took almost five weeks for the Department of Justice to be informed.

When confronted with the lapses by the inspector general’s investigators, the National Reconnaissance Office’s then-top lawyers said they “were not legally obligated . . . to report child sexual abuse to DOJ or law enforcement organizations because child abuse is a state crime, not a federal crime,” the report said.

“Therefore they generally chose not to report those crimes unless the admissions also involved federal crimes such as possession of child pornography.”

The conclusions confirm an investigation by McClatchy in July 2012 that found law enforcement officials were not being told of some criminal confessions obtained during the National Reconnaissance Office’s security clearance polygraphs.

“It’s hard to understand why the NRO failed to report crimes involving children immediately . . . ,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, who demanded the inquiry after reading McClatchy’s stories. “The NRO showed a complete lack of common sense in failing to require reporting of serious state crimes of this sort.”

The inspector general said that as a result of McClatchy’s reporting and congressional interest, the spy agency had improved its reporting of crimes.

McClatchy, however, learned that a second inquiry of the same polygraph division recently documented other problems. The National Reconnaissance Office’s inspector general found “significant shortcomings” in the agency’s polygraph program that it says “may result in potential negative national security implications originating at the NRO.”

That inspector general declined to immediately provide a copy of the unclassified andrecently completed report, but McClatchy was able to obtain details of its conclusions. The report quotes an NRO official as saying the polygraph program was “terribly broken” and would require a “paradigm shift” to address shortcomings. The official added that the “current status of the NRO polygraph program is bleak.”

The NRO had been warned as early as 2010 about possible problems with crime reporting by the National Security Agency’s inspector general after an outside routine review that intelligence inspectors general conduct. In an unusual arrangement, the NRO is staffed by both the CIA and Air Force employees.

While the inspector general for the intelligence community confirmed that the NRO wasn’t legally required to report certain state crimes such as child molestation, it noted that the agency wasn’t prevented from reporting them, especially when “an imminent danger” to others may exist.

The NRO polygraphed more than 30,000 people from 2009 to 2012. Less than 1 percent in the first half of 2013 made admissions that would jeopardize security clearances or trigger criminal investigations, the intelligence inspector general’s report said.

The NRO, however, did not report some alleged federal crimes that it was required to, such as possession of child pornography, in part because of “inconsistent and inaccurate advice” by the agency’s then top lawyers, the inspector general for the intelligence community found. Those lawyers are not named and are no longer in their positions, but the report did not say whether they’d moved or been fired because of the reporting problems.

Delays as long as several months, meanwhile, meant “individuals could continue the criminal activity or tamper with or destroy evidence in the interim,” said the inspector general’s office, which said it referred for investigation seven admissions related to child porn or child abuse that the NRO didn’t report.

To prosecute a polygraph confession, criminal investigators often must collect more evidence or get an admission to a crime during a separate interrogation, because polygraph confessions are not admissible in most courts as evidence against defendants.

Yet McClatchy reported that the NRO hadn’t told law enforcement agencies that an Air Force lieutenant colonel admitted in 2010 during a lie detector test that he’d touched a child in a sexual way and had downloaded child pornography on his Pentagon computer.

McClatchy determined that he later retired and was still collecting retirement benefits. The inspector general for the intelligence community confirmed that the NRO didn’t notify authorities who could have investigated the case, reporting it only to the Air Force division that handles security clearances.

After McClatchy’s report, investigators with the Department of Homeland Security looked into it. The report released Tuesday doesn’t say what resulted from that inquiry, but the officer still held a security clearance as of earlier this month, Grassley said.

“The NRO has made important strides in reducing the time it takes to report crimes from over 100 days to an average of three days, but quite frankly, sometimes that’s still too long,” Grassley said. “It’s unacceptable to give a person who has admitted to viewing child pornography or of sexually abusing children any time to destroy evidence or strike again.”

McClatchy also reported that Escondido, Calif., police and school district officials said they weren’t informed when a former substitute teacher in their region confessed in 2010 to the NRO that he’d molested a former student.

The federal contractor said that if he were asked, “Have you ever molested a nine-year-old?’ I’d have to say yes,” an internal document obtained by McClatchy said.

At the time, the NRO, the Justice Department and the FBI refused to comment on the case.

The inspector general determined that the NRO had reported it to the Justice Department and the FBI’s Innocent Images International Task Force. The NRO said it was told the matter had been referred to local law enforcement.

The Escondido police, however, said they’d scoured their records looking for any notification and found nothing. The department is not part of that FBI task force but is part of other bureau task forces, a spokesman said. School officials hadn’t heard about it until a McClatchy reporter called them in 2012.

At that point, the Escondido police launched a criminal investigation but couldn’t locate a victim and the former substitute teacher refused to be questioned.

“We went to great lengths to investigate this guy, but ultimately we could not file a case with the district attorney,” Neal Griffin, a lieutenant with the Escondido police department, said last week. “The extensive delay in reporting made for a major stumbling block.”

The inspector general noted there were signs of similar problems at other intelligence agencies. “It’s my view this issue is systemic,” said I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community. The FBI did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday.

McClatchy also reported that the NRO polygraphers had accused their agency of pressuring them to collect information during the lie detector tests that was against Pentagon policy. The Pentagon permits the NRO to ask direct questions during security clearance investigations only about intelligence matters.

Polygraphers told McClatchy they were being pressured to go after prohibited personal matters during security clearance polygraphs, including, in one case, interrogating a longtime contractor about her molestation as a child. The Pentagon has told the NRO it doesn’t have the authority to ask directly about crimes during its polygraph screenings. It’s supposed to directly ask only about national security issues such as spying and terrorism, the Pentagon has said.

Polygraphers said they were being rewarded with bonuses or penalized based on the number of admissions they obtained. McClatchy reviewed orders given to polygraphers that confirmed they were told in some cases to collect the more personal information. The polygraphers said it was not a written policy, but an off-the-books requirement.

The NRO’s inspector general found instances in which polygraphers went beyond those limits, but it blamed “inefficient testing practices.”

That inspector general accused McClatchy of taking facts “out of context.”

“While these instances may lend to perceptions that the NRO is exceeding its authority in asking questions beyond the scope . . . we found no evidence of programmatic directives or policies expressly instructing examiners to do so,” the inspector general’s office concluded in its separate inquiry.

The inspector general, however, found 1,800 people with current or previous NRO access who never underwent polygraph exams. More than 600 people didn’t get polygraphed within a year of gaining access to classified information.

“These shortfalls diminish the integrity of the NRO polygraph program and may cast uncertainty onto particular test results,” the inspector general’s office said.

Although the inspectors general for the NRO and intelligence community confirmed aspects of allegations raised by polygraphers who talked to McClatchy, one of the polygraphers was denied whistle-blower status by a third inspector general.

Former NRO polygrapher Mark Phillips resigned after objecting to the agency’s practices. He told the Pentagon inspector general he was retaliated against as a result of blowing the whistle.

His lawyer said he tried to persuade the Pentagon to look more deeply into the overall allegations, but officials there refused. The Pentagon inspector general’s office noted that NRO supervisors’ knowledge of Phillips’ complaints prior to the disciplinary action “could demonstrate that the disclosures were a contributing factor” but ultimately concluded that Phillips was punished for other legitimate reasons.

“In some ways, these reports are vindication of a whistle-blower who has been retaliated against and ignored,” said Mark Zaid, Phillips’ lawyer. “At the same time, this shows there needs to be legitimate oversight of the intelligence community’s polygraph programs and that review needs to come from Congress in public hearings.”

How FBI Lies Can Damage Civil Society, by CONOR FRIEDERSDORF

How FBI Lies Can Damage Civil Society
by CONOR FRIEDERSDORF


                                    
                                     FBI Director James Comey Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
The FBI lies a lot.
Sometimes that's fully justified. Brave agents risk their lives to infiltrate terrorist cells, organized crime, and child-pornography rings. Subterfuge is vital to these operations, and needn't harm the country if done correctly. But there are certain kinds of lies and untruths that the FBI should carefully avoid. FBI Director James Comey isn't always able to identify them.

Consider his remarks on three separate subjects.

The first is the debate about whether Apple, Google, and other device manufacturers should build security vulnerabilities into their devices so that the tiny subset that police want to search can be compromised after a warrant is obtained. Comey went on 60 Minutes and misled its audience about whether a warrant is always needed to read your email. He "clarified" his remarks during a subsequent speech at the Brookings Institution. But key details of that speech turned out to be misleading too. Perhaps these were untruths spoken out of ignorance and lack of preparation rather than lies. Either way, an FBI director should take special care to speak accurately when engaged in public debate about important matters of public policy. Comey keeps failing that standard.


Subject No. 2 concerns an FBI lie that everyone acknowledges to be deliberate. Agents in Las Vegas suspected an illegal gambling ring was being run out of a few fancy hotel rooms. But they didn't have enough evidence for a search warrant. The law forbade them from entering unless the inhabitants let them in voluntarily.

The agents hatched a scheme. They would shut off the room's Internet connection as if it had broken, pose as hotel employees coming to fix the problem, and thereby gain the "consent" of the inhabitants to come in and look around. This is an affront to the Fourth Amendment and the concept of consent. The lawyer for the defendants capably articulates why Americans should object to the FBI's logic by sketching the society that we'd have if it was used more often:



The next time you call for assistance because the Internet service in your home is not working, the "technician" who comes to your door may actually be an undercover government agent. He will have secretly disconnected the service, knowing that you will naturally call for help and—when he shows up at your door, impersonating a technician—let him in. He will walk through each room of your home, claiming to diagnose the problem. Actually, he will be videotaping everything and everyone inside. He will have no reason to suspect you have broken the law, much less probable cause to obtain a search warrant. But that makes no difference, because by letting him in, you will have "consented" to an intensive search of your home.

The next time our telephone service goes out, the "repairman" who responds may actually be an FBI agent who cut the line himself. The next time your cable service goes fuzzy, your plumbing backs up, or your lights go dark, caveat emptor: the source of the problem may actually be the government agent lurking in his car down the street, waiting for you to call for help—thereby unknowingly "consenting" to him using a secret camera to record you and the most private spaces in your home.

Even if you think that the next service outrage in your home is real, so that an actual technician has responded, don't be too sure. Your consent is just as valid when the undercover agent lies to your face to falsely reassure you—even when he misleads you by holding realistic sounding telephone calls with made-up colleagues about what is actually a nonexistent problem. So, every time any technician or service provider comes to your door, you will feel the palpable dread that by opening it you are "consenting" to the government secretly spying on you and your family—with no basis whatever. Or at least that is inevitably the government's astonishing position before this Court, because those are the appalling facts of this case.


Imagine if every government agency, from the FBI to the IRS to the local police force to the municipal code department, adopted this approach and the courts went along. Yet after The New York Times flagged this case in an editorial about problematic lies told by the FBI, Comey defended it as "acting responsibly and legally."


He also defended another case mentioned in the same editorial, where the FBI posed as a journalistic organization. Comey himself recounts the gambit that was used:



In 2007, to solve a series of bomb threats and cyberattacks directed at a Seattle-area high school, an F.B.I. agent communicated online with the anonymous suspect. Relying on an agency behavioral assessment that the anonymous suspect was a narcissist, the online undercover officer portrayed himself as an employee of The Associated Press, and asked if the suspect would be willing to review a draft article about the threats and attacks, to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly.

The suspect agreed and clicked on a link relating to the draft “story,” which then deployed court-authorized tools to find him, and the case was solved. No actual story was published, and no one except the suspect interacted with the undercover “A.P.” employee or saw the fake draft story. Only the suspect was fooled, and it led to his arrest and the end of a frightening period for a high school.


That outcome is great—there's no reason to feel sorry for the perpetrator here. But of all the sorts of subterfuge that could've been used did they have to use journalism? Jack Shafer explains the problem:


What’s so special about journalists and journalism?

I hope my explanations don’t sound like special-interest pleading when I state that such acts corrupt the very existence of journalism. Whenever police officers masquerade as journalists, they introduce doubt into the public’s mind about whether the next person purporting to be a journalist is actually a police officer or the stories in the news are really bait set by police. It won’t take too many acts of imposture like the FBI’s in Seattle before the credibility of the press and the willingness of news sources to speak to reporters begins to fall, plugging the flow of information that nourishes a free society.

The FBI has institutional needs and a law-enforcement mission. But it ought not think so narrowly of its agenda, the consequences be damned. When FBI leaders participate in policy debates, they have a civic obligation to speak truthfully and accurately. Agents trying to catch bad guys have a legal obligation to respect the Fourth Amendment, and should refrain from bringing about a society with pervasive mistrust of anyone claiming to be a Wi-Fi repairman or an investigative journalist.

Given the FBI's long history of immoral and illegal conduct (it doesn't get much worse than urging Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide after threatening to expose his sex life to the public) you'd hope it would try to err on the side of caution. Comey claims that the FBI's use of deception "is subject to close oversight, both internally and by the courts that review our work." If so, the oversight isn't enough.

Friday, September 18, 2015

From Jailbird to Jailbait: Age of Consent Law and the Construction of Teenage Sexualities, by Kate Sutherland

From Jailbird to Jailbait: Age of Consent Law and the Construction of Teenage Sexualities, by Kate Sutherland

Legislating Teen Sex: What’s (Terribly) Wrong With Our Age of Consent Laws by martha Kemper

Legislating Teen Sex: What’s (Terribly) Wrong With Our Age of Consent Laws by martha Kemper
Legislating Teen Sex: What’s (Terribly) Wrong With Our Age of Consent Laws by martha Kemper



W5 exposes tactics behind online predators, police who bust them, by Litsa Sourtzis & Sarah Stevens

W5 exposes tactics behind online predators, police who bust them, by Litsa Sourtzis & Sarah Stevens,
W5 exposes tactics behind online predators, police who bust them, by Litsa Sourtzis & Sarah Stevens


Child Pornography the internet and offending, by MAX TAYLOR, ETHEL QUAYLE AND GEMMA HOLLAND

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CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND LABELING by Gabriel Holguin and David J. Hansen

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Moral Panic Analysis Past, Present and Future by Chas Critcher

Moral Panic Analysis Past, Present and Future by Chas Critcher



Child pornography offenses are a valid diagnostic indicator of pedophilia by Michael Seto, James Cantor, Ray Blanchard

Child pornography offenses are a valid diagnostic indicator of pedophilia by Michael Seto, James Cantor, Ray Blanchard

Understanding online child pornography use Applying sexual offense theory to by Elliott & Beech

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Public Perceptions of Internet Grooming Predicting perceived prevalence of safety, by Matthew L. Williams & Kirsty Hudson

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RECIDIVISM BY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENDERS

RECIDIVISM BY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENDERS

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hacking Team hacked: 10 things learned from massive data breach of spying company


Hacking Team hacked: 10 things learned from massive data breach of spying company

Hacking Team malware in Exploit Kits
The source code for Hacking Team's powerful surveillance software includes at least three zero-day vulnerabilities and one of these has already been intergated into exploit kits being sold by cybercriminals.YouTube/Hacking Team


Controversial seller of spying software Hacking Team has been the focus of a huge amount of attention of the last three days since a massive leak of sensitive internal data was posted online.
What is Hacking Team?
Italian company Hacking Team sells sophisticated spying software to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world.
They have been criticised for selling their services to repressive regimes with questionable human rights records in countries such as Sudan, Bahrain and Kazakhstan.
On 5 July a trove of 400GB of data stolen from the company was posted online by an unknown hacker. This included sensitive documents, government tender details, client invoices, internal emails, and crucially, source code and explicit details on how the mass surveillance software operates.


In the wake of the data breach, the company has attempted to defend its actions, claiming it has "broken no laws and acted in a completely ethical manner"despite widespread condemnation of its practice of selling its powerful surveillance tools to countries which have less than stellar human rights records.

With over 400GB of data to sift through, there are still many revelations to come, but here we round up 10 snippets of info which may have passed you by to date.
1. Hacking Team has terrible OpSec


According to the leaked data, the employees at Hacking Team were clearly not overly concerned about becoming the target of an attack themselves, as the passwords they used were extremely weak.

Christian Pozzi, a security engineer at the company who briefly tried to deny the validity of the leak on Twitter before having his account hacked, used the password "Passw0rd" across all systems, according to the leaked documents.

If you are wondering how someone could make off with 400GB of data without anyone noticing, the fact that Hacking Team's servers used passwords like"P4ssword" and "HTPassw0rd" might give you some indication.
Hacking Team's weak passwords
Hacking Team's server passwords were not exactly bulletproofTwitter/@micahflee
2. Antivirus failure

As part of the Hacking Team leak, the anonymous hacker behind the attack leaked the source code for the company's surveillance tools. Running some of Hacking Team's signatures through VirusTotal showed that none of the 56 antivirus solutions it checks flagged the malware.

While we will no doubt begin to see these signatures flagged by security companies in the coming days and weeks, it just highlights how broken antivirus is.
3. iPhone remains secure (for now)

According to security expert Bruce Schneier, Hacking Team has no exploits to hack iPhones that are not jailbroken. However, documents within the leaked trove of data show that the company has the ability to jailbreak and infect an iPhone when it is connected to a malware-infected trusted computer.

Additionally, a leaked email referring to a demonstration for the Kurdistan Region Security agency suggests that support for non-jailbroken iOS devices was being worked on by Hacking Team - though that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
4. Child porn references in source code

Following the massive data leak, some researchers discovered child porn references within the source code for the company's Remote Control System (also known as Galileo), which led some to suggest that Hacking Team may have built and sold a "child porn fabrication tool".


The code relating to the tool was uploaded briefly to Github before being removed, and experts have since backed away from the initial claim, and have instead suggested that it was simply there for demo purposes rather than anything more nefarious.
Come on people, that "childporn" Hacking Team thing is clearly not for planting evidence. Let's not spread misleading rumours.
— Claudio (@botherder) July 6, 2015
5. Finding Hacking Team targets

Hacking Team surveillance software has been used by law enforcement agencies and governments around the world to monitor citizens. Many of those citizens are thought to be activists and journalists, but in the wake of the data leak, the users of the Galileo software are likely scrambling to remove traces of its presence from infected devices.

In a bid to prevent this from happening, some developers have launched what they call the Hacking Team Sweeper which aims to identify signatures associated with the company's software and write scripts to automate the discovery of it. It is seeking help from the research and security community to identify these signatures.
6. DEA: We want all the Columbian traffic

One leaked email shows that the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) was looking to integrate Hacking Team's Remote Control System with another spy tool which allowed them receive "all the traffic for Columbian ISPs".

It is unclear what this other spying tool is, but the leaked email was sent on 9 June, 2015 following a meeting between a Hacking Team representative and the DEA's man on the ground in Bogota.
Hacking Team's Enemies
Hacking Team's perceived threatsTwitter/@rj_gallagher
7. Hacking Team's enemies
A leaked document lists groups which Hacking Team saw as a threat to its business. As well as groups like Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and Citizen Lab which have been very vocal in their condemnation of the company's willingness to sell to oppressive regimes, the hacktivist group Anonymous is also listed among Hacking Team's threats.

8. CEO David Vincenzitti jokes about a leak

In an email sent less than a month before the massive data dump, Hacking Team CEO Vincenzitti joked with company employees about what would happen if someone leaked information:

"Imagine this: a leak on WikiLeaks showing YOU explaining the evilest technology on earth! :-). You would be demonised by our dearest friends the activists, and normal people would point their fingers at you."

Oh dear.

9. Brazil could be Hacking Team's biggest customer in 2015

According to a projection for revenues in 2015, the Brazilian federal police force is/was set to be the company's biggest customer with a potential windfall of €1.7m (£1.22m). Next comes Kazakhstan with potential revenue of €1.5m and Ethiopia contributing up to €1m to Hacking Team's coffers this year.

Rounding out the top five revenue generators for the company in 2015 are Columbia and Denmark, both of whom are using US-Israeli company Nice Systems.

10. Mexico however is by far its biggest client to date
#HackingTeam revenues per country. Over €3 million and you get coloured in green. pic.twitter.com/uKbqTflUqw
— Richard Tynan (@richietynan) July 6, 2015

While Brazil may represent the future for Hacking Team, Mexico has been its biggest customer to date, paying out $6.3m (£4.1m) to the company. Up to 14 separate Mexican states have signed up with Hacking Team to date, and the Mexican interior ministry is the most recent recruit.

At $1.9m spent, Italy is the next biggest state customer, where Hacking Team is headquartered. This is followed by Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Chile, and Hungary.
Measure
Measure

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Monday, September 7, 2015

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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