Apr 292014
 April 29, 2014  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

Mark Sherman of Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court seemed wary Tuesday of allowing police unbridled freedom to search through cellphones of people they arrest, taking on a new issue of privacy in the face of rapidly changing technology.

The justices appeared ready to reject the Obama administration’s argument that police should be able to make such searches without first getting warrants.

A key question in two cases argued Tuesday is whether Americans’ cellphones, with vast quantities of sensitive records, photographs and communications, are a private realm much like their homes.

Read more on WIST-TV.

Apr 292014
 April 29, 2014  Posted by  Workplace

Mike Masnick writes:

Last fall we wrote about some surprising allegations that Francis Gurry, the director of WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization — a part of the UN), had surreptitiously taken DNA samples from employees while trying to determine who had sent him anonymous letters. This is the same Gurry who was already involved in highly questionable scandals involving ignoring UN sanctions against both North Korea and Iran, to send them computers, which WIPO idiotically believed those countries would use to bolster their local patent systems. Because, when you think of Iran and North Korea, I’m sure you think about their patent systems.

There had been some public efforts by a few members of Congress to oppose Gurry’s re-election to WIPO because of these infractions, but all that seemed for naught a couple months ago when Gurry was re-nominated. It’s not final that he’ll remain as director, but it’s almost entirely assured. A few weeks ago, however, I saw that stories of the DNA collection had resurfaced, mainly in a blog post by noted patent lawyer and blogger Gene Quinn. While Quinn and I disagree about nearly everything patent related — sometimes angrily — his blog is still a worthwhile read, and this original story had caught my attention. Quinn had a copy of the “Report of Misconduct” filed by James Pooley, one of Gurry’s deputies, going into much more detail on Gurry’s actions with regards to the illegal DNA collection, and calling into serious question Gurry’s ability to lead WIPO. You can read much more about Pooley’s charges in a Fox News report. However, you can no longer read the report or Quinn’s analysis of it because WIPO threatened Quinn with criminal charges for posting it.

Read more on TechDirt.

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for this link.

Apr 292014
 April 29, 2014  Posted by  Court

Courtney Bowman writes:

Last month, a federal district court in the Northern District of California issued an order that may affect the policies of any company that records telephone conversations with consumers.

The trouble began when plaintiff John Lofton began receiving calls from Collecto, Verizon’s third-party collections agency, on his cell phone.  The calls were made in error – Lofton did not owe Verizon any money because he wasn’t even a Verizon customer – but Lofton decided to take action when he discovered that Collecto had been recording its conversations with him without prior notice.  Lofton brought a class action against Verizon under California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, theorizing that Verizon was vicariously responsible for Collecto’s actions because Collecto was Verizon’s third-party vendor and because Verizon’s call-monitoring disclosure policy did not require the disclosure of recordings in certain situations. Verizon filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the recordings did not invade Lofton’s privacy and therefore did not run afoul of the statute.

Read more on Proskauer.

Apr 292014
 April 29, 2014  Posted by  Surveillance

Joe Silver reports:

What if there was a way for law enforcement to track suspects fleeing crime scenes in cars without the danger of a high speed pursuit that could put suspects, officers, and civilians at risk? One company claims to have just the solution. Is it legal?

Over the past few years, companies like Starchase have begun developing technologies like its “GPS bullet” pursuit management system, which the company describes as a “real-time tagging and tracking tool to reduce dangerous high-speed pursuits.”

Read more on Ars Technica.