Crime and Police

Revealed: 'Collect It All' NSA Targets Those Seeking Web Privacy

'Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user's IP address to be logged into an NSA database,' says new report.

- Jon Queally, Commondreams staff writer

(Image: via Boing Boing)

Internet users who use online privacy tools or read certain websites may themselves become targets of NSA surveillance, according to a new investigation by public broadcasting outlets in Germany published on Thursday.

Report: Militarization of Police Turning Communities into 'War Zones'

SWAT raids disproportionately affecting people of color

- Lauren McCauley, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/06/24-4

The city of Manchester, NH parading around their special armored SWAT vehicle. (Photo: Manchester City Library/ CC/ Flickr)

The rapid militarization of American police forces is turning our communities into "war zones" with tactics of war used disproportionately against people of color, charged a new report by the ACLU on Tuesday. 

Thousands of Rapists Are Not Behind Bars Because Cops Focus on Marijuana Users

by Bill Piper/Drug Policy Alliance

A recent piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer.  Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of police and tax resources spent targeting drug crimes, particularly marijuana possession.

The backlog is a disgrace. The total number of rape test kits that have never been sent to laboratories for testing exceeds 100,000. In some cases, the kits have been sitting in storage for decades. From the Washington Post:

10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZENS/POLICE RELATIONS

10 WAYS LAW ENFORCEMENT COULD IMPROVE CITIZEN RELATIONS

10 THINGS LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZEN-POLICE RELATIONS:
 
1) End the Drug War now. No one should be arrested or prosecuted for possession
or selling any recreational intoxicant to a consenting adult. Disband all narcotic units,
release all prisoners who are currently incarcerated for drug possession and drug selling,
and expunge all criminal records of everyone whoever suffered under this hypocritical, draconian and ineffective policy for the last 40 years. 
 
2) Publish the pictures, names, and badge numbers of all officers; and post this
listing in the lobby of the Champaign Police Department, the lobby of the public
safety building at the U of I and the sheriff's office or courthouse, like is done over at Urbana's 
municipal building. Police officers are government employees and, like politicians, have no reasonable expectation to "employee privacy." (residency exempted, of course.)

Victory: Judge Releases Information about Police Use of Stingray Cell Phone Trackers

by Nathan Freed Wessler

Stingrays “emulate a cellphone tower” and “force” cell phones to register their location and identifying information with the stingray instead of with real cell towers in the area.

Study released on handling of minor marijuana cases in Illinois

Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.

by ICDP/Roosevelt University

Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.

An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.

Reset the Net: Don't Ask for Privacy, Take It Back

Some of the world's largest websites and rights groups are planning a coordinated day of action on June 5, the first anniversary of Snowden's revelations, to oppose mass online surveillance. The Reset the Net campaign, launched by Fight for the Future, will feature a splash screen offering tips for direct action, like installing “NSA-resistant” encryption tools, to ensure Internet privacy.

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