By now you probably know the sordid case of the lost iPhone and the ongoing Apple-Gizmodo spat that culminated in the recent police raid on a Gizmodo editor’s home. The raid raises two very interesting and troubling issues. The first concerns state and federal journalist shield laws and how they apply to online journalists like Jason Chen. That deserves a separate treatment that I will defer to a later post.
The second issue is why the police descended on a home in mass to break down the door and cart away six computers in what is essentially an intellectual property dispute between two corporations. The reason, it turns out, for this strange action on the part of the high-tech crime task force is that Apple sits on their steering committee.
Meet the iPolice, Apple’s very own IP enforcement squad with handy police state powers.
When you make a call and have the police break into a citizens home and confiscate his possessions, doesn’t that qualify you as an evil corporate behemoth?
Full disclosure: I don’t own any Apple products. At this rate it not looking like I ever will.
Steve Chapman poses the question, “would you volunteer to carry a device that lets the police monitor your location 24×7, every day?” He then lets you in on a secret, you already have. In fact chances are you have the locator on your person at this very moment.
It’s called a cell phone.
Just think of the privacy implications here. The government can tell if you spend the night at someone elses house, visit a red light district, attend a political rally, drive too fast, or get a medical procedure. They can know where you are at all times, both when you are out in public or when you are in a private residence.
Oh, and the current administration (like the last one) doesn’t think a warrant should be required for any of this.
Reason has this disturbing story about an Oregon man who was taken into custody, had his house searched (without a warrant), had his property taken, and was forced to undergo a mental examination all because there was a suspicion that he might commit a violent crime in the future. He is not suspected of actually committing a crime or of actually threatening anyone, but he was a gun collector who had been place on administrative leave from his job.
Defenders of this policy will likely point out that he was released and his property was returned, so the action is warranted to make sure that he wasn’t a threat to his community. I would note that such defenders are not volunteering to have the SWAT team come to their home, search their house, and haul them to a mental facility in handcuffs.
According to this Telegraph article, the UK government is rushing ahead with putting all their citizens NHS records into a massive centralized DB. The rush is apparently intended to beat the next election.
Being the UK it should come as no surprise that they are assuming consent unless told otherwise, and aren’t going out of their way to inform the public that it’s happening and that opting out is even possible.
Beware of greeks bearing gifts, or schools issuing laptops. Of course this situation could be addressed by a simple application of electrical tape.
You have to wonder exactly what the school was thinking would happen. How do you not get sued when you do something so monumentally dumb?