Morning Links

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
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26 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  2nd of 3 | 

    Holy crap! That poor dog. People are too relaxed around elevators…and escalators for that matter.

  2. #2 |  Seth Levy | 

    There is a caveat in the laptop decryption case. From what I understand, this is not a 5th amendment issue as it would be in most cases due to the fact that the prosecution is requesting it to prosecute a third party and has granted the woman in question immunity. It sounds like the case may have turned out differently if the woman was not granted immunity and she could reasonably suspect that the information would be used against her.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    •One in 419 Americans must now register as a sex offender.

    And as the number goes up, and the cost increases, into the billions,
    the number of deliquent offenders goes up accordingly.
    Remember, 90% of sex crimes are committed by those not
    designated Scarlet Let–oops I mean Sex Offenders.
    To quote George Carlin, it’s all about giving white people
    the Illusion of Safety.

  4. #4 |  DoubleU | 

    re: Tracy Lords film. She wanted to get into legit films. John Waters as a priest is pretty damn funny.

    re: sex registry. Sadly some stupid but harmless things can get you on a sex registry, such as urinating in public but if you are on it you are labeled a child molester.

    Re: decrypt your laptop. Does that include Blackberry or other cell phone devices? “If you are not doing anything wrong… why worry?” UGH.

    In my local paper there was an article about a “standoff” with police. Of course the police had on their full military SWAT gear. I had a chuckle because the newspaper photographed a car whose driver was being told to turn around because the road was closed. The car had a “Ron Paul” bumper sticker. Nice to see the military vs freedom.

  5. #5 |  Radley Balko | 

    Remember, 90% of sex crimes are committed by those not designated . . . Sex Offenders.

    Where does that figure come from? I’ve seen it used a lot, but have never found a source.

  6. #6 |  Irving Washington | 

    Is there any good reason for treating a PGP key differently than a physical key?

  7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    re sex registry
    Where does that figure come from? I’ve seen it used a lot, but have never found a source.

    http://sueb.hubpages.com/hub/Sex-Offender-Registry
    http://sites.google.com/site/mnsorp/home/myths-and-facts

    I got it from looking around the web.
    The second link has a citation, [7].

  8. #8 |  Aaron | 

    Irving: Well, a PGP key is purely information. It’s not something you have, but something you know.

  9. #9 |  JimBob | 

    Well, as they say– you can have my PGP key when you pry it from my cold, dead brain.

    Irving– probably the biggest difference between a physical key and a PGP key is that a physical key cannot be “forgotten” in a sense that makes it disappear forever.

    The honest truth is, the act of divulging a symmetric encryption key– or the contents of an encrypted file– can incriminate oneself. It gives evidence that you have knowledge of the encrypted contents of the drive (with a ridiculously high probability– odds of “getting lucky” and picking the right key at random are smaller than the odds of winning four Powerball jackpots in a row). If I decrypt my hard drive, I’m essentially saying that, yes, these are my files.

    The government, in this case, is trying to weasel around it by saying that they aren’t requiring her to provide the password in oral or written form. They’ve made a list of documents that they want to use against her, and will allow her access to the computer so she can copy the unencrypted documents to another medium. Which is bullshit, because if she can’t produce the documents for any reason– if they don’t exist, or she forgot the key, or the computer forensics guys accidentally overwrote a critical initialization vector– they claim they can hold her in contempt of court. In other words, “give us evidence against you that may or may not exist, and to which you may or may not have access, or go to jail.”

    If the Fifth Amendment isn’t supposed to protect against these catch-22 scenarios, then we may as well do away with it altogether– we’ve already gutted all of its other provisions.

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    “One in 419 Americans must now register as a sex offender”

    If I were a propaganda minister in Iran, I would use this stat as proof that America is full of rapists and molesters.

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “one in 419 Amerricans must now register as a sex offender”

    My gut reaction to the headline was ‘is that a statistic or a quota?’

  12. #12 |  Mo | 

    Irving– probably the biggest difference between a physical key and a PGP key is that a physical key cannot be “forgotten” in a sense that makes it disappear forever.

    Sure it can. It could be lost, dropped in a large body of water, dissolved in a vat of acid when it falls out of your pocket while you’re being tormented by a Batman villain, etc.

  13. #13 |  Chris in AL | 

    One wonders when questioning the effectiveness of sex offender registries will be deemed sufficient for inclusion on such registries.

  14. #14 |  drewby | 

    Hollywood is sure to bogart the dog elevator incident. Would serve as a perfect mechanism for a dumb-ass (ie Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, etc.) to meet their new love interest.

  15. #15 |  Mike | 

    The problem with the sex offender registry is that most people on it aren’t sex offenders. Urinating in public, horny teens screwing other horny teens, people mooning out of car windows, the list goes on and on. Heard of one case (think it was reported here) where a young girl walked in front of a car. The driver slammed on the brakes, jumped out, grabbed her arm and told her to watch out. Grabbing the arm = unlawful restraint of a minor = sex offense = registry. He would have been better off plowing her down.

    Of course, any politician who speaks the truth about registries commits political suicide. The attack adds write themselves: Candidate X wants to release sex offender rapists in your neighborhood! So vote for me instead.

  16. #16 |  SamK | 

    I can’t find the paper itself but:

    The vast majority of sex crimes are committed by someone who is not on the Sex Offender Registry. During 2005-2006, approximately 94 percent of the persons arrested for sexual offenses in New York State had no prior sex convictions. As a result, these people would not have been on the Sex Offender Registry (New York Sex Offender Management Grant, 2007).

  17. #17 |  SamK | 

    There are a host of problems with the registry; the fact that people are on it who did nothing resembling a sex crime is one. Its very existence is another. If the only people who were on it were horrible creatures who lived and breathed evil the registry would still be a horrid thing. It is ineffective at best and serves as a target list for vengeful vendetta seekers at worst, it soaks up cash and time that could be used for actual law enforcement or (god forbid) treatment programs, and it is a daily reminder that the constitutional provision against ex post facto laws got its dick knocked in the dirt with finality a long time ago.

    If someone is dangerous, lock them up. If they’re not, leave them the fuck alone. If you’re not sure, then you’re being appropriately paranoid and still need to leave them the fuck alone.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Michele Ghiani, 21, a children’s entertainer, managed, with the help of other colleagues, to safely return 23 children to their families.

    I’d make sure Michele had financial security if she took care of my kids like that.

    Luckily, this didn’t happen in US waters or else we’d already have draft legislation outlawing reefs hitting ships.

  19. #19 |  Ted S. | 

    A few months back, Sports Illustrated had an article on a former college football player who fell afoul of the sex offender registry back when he was in high school, and how it’s ruined his life.

    Just as infuriating as the Johnny Jolly case.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    Re: The Costa Concordia

    If captain Francesco Schettino had been a military officer, he would be up on charges of deserting his post, resulting in the deaths of those under his command.

    Not being military, I’m not sure if that is still a death penalty offense.

  21. #21 |  US Citizens May Be Forced to Decrypt Hard Drives « Well Known Biases | 

    [...] tip to The Agitator for posting the article link.) Share this:FacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  22. #22 |  StrangeOne | 

    Even if it was a case where they tried to force a decryption of your own computer; its interesting that the feds never consider that you could lie to them about something they could never prove.

    “whats the decryption key?”
    I don’t know.
    “It’s a felony to lie to us”
    Yeah, but I actually don’t know it. My key is a 30 digit random collection of letters and numbers. You probably destroyed or seized the piece of paper I had it written on at my house. There’s no way for me to give you the key.

    I’ll bet you could be convicted of “Obstruction of Justice” even if there was no way for you to aid “justice”. Nevermind those pesky constitutional issues about self-incrimination.

    Re: SamK 16 & 17

    I wouldn’t doubt that was true a few years ago, but obviously the more people on the registry the more likely “a repeat offender” is to occur. 1 in ~400 is actually pretty good if you are just randomly fishing for criminals.

    I think the loosening of standards on the sex offender registry is deliberate, and the powers that be would have no problem if the ratio was something monstrous, like 1 in 5. We already see the sex offender thing getting hammered into plea bargains; five years in jail if you loose the trial or six months probation and sex offender status. It makes future convictions so much easier, if say by sheer chance a “sex offender” lives down the street from a murder scene. I can see the headlines now “Sex Offender Primary Suspect in Murder Charge”. No need to investigate or even collect a reasonable degree of evidence, the trial in public and the stigma associated with the status virtually gauntness conviction or a plea.

    If you think of it as “how can we best protect the public?” the system makes no sense. But if you consider the issue as “how can prosecutors easily ensure future convictions and plea bargains?” then it makes a sickening amount of sense. Sex offenders are easy pickings for unsolved crimes, or difficult cases, or really an crime you wish to charge them with.

  23. #23 |  Goober | 

    The problem with a password is that by giving it up, you aren’t just giving them access to property that is within the scope of the search warrant, you are also implicitly aknowledging that those are your files, that you have the password for them, and that you know what is in there because you have the password. This isn’t like having a key to a woodshed or a building. Having the key to a building does not implicitly imply knowledge of what is inside the building. Having the password to a file pretty much does.

    This is a strict violation of the 5th amendment guarantee against self-incrimination.

    I also like the comments above about truly, honestly not knowing the password. This is totally possible. It is probable that there are files on my computer that I don’t know the password to. If it is assumed that you d, and that if you don’t give it up, you are in contempt of court, how do we avoid punishing honest folks who have truly just forgotten their password?

  24. #24 |  albatross | 

    An additional problem with giving up one password is that most people can’t remember very many good ones. (The thing you want in a good password is more-or-less the thing that makes it hard to remember–high entropy.). So if you tell me your password for one file or encrypted drive for which it has been demanded, you are probably giving me a big hint about what your passwords are everywhere else: most likely, you either reuse the same one elsewhere, or generate variations on a theme like “jones123″ and “smith123″ and “johnson123″.

    Related to this, companies you do business with will probably give your password up upon request. So you really, really don’t want your PGP key or full drive encryption password to have anything to do with those passwords.

  25. #25 |  EBL | 

    Do you think we may have gone over the top with registered sex offenders? The problem (beyond destroying people’s lives who are not really sex offenders) is the real dangerous sex offenders can hide in plain sight if you expand the list too far. It is just a new version of the Scarlet Letter.

  26. #26 |  Fascist Nation | 

    1 in 317 adults (over 18) in the USA. Wow!

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