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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sons of Anarchy' spoilers: Ending has two opposing elements

In the latest "Sons of Anarchy" season 6 spoilers revealed by series creator, Kurt Sutter, the show's ending will have two opposing elements. In an Aug. 13 report by Zap2it, Sutter shared that the final two seasons of "Sons of Anarchy" will not leave with a happy ending. Instead, it will be "sad," but will have "hope" by the end of it all.
Sutter explained that seasons 6 and 7 of the show is entering the "endgame" phase.
Opie's ghost will play a part in at least the first half of season 6. Jax wants to do right by his memory by heading SAMCRO. Sutter explained that Opie will be living in Jax, "motivating him to … not necessarily go rogue, but perhaps pushing him down this path where he may be leaping before he looks."
As for Clay, he's used to being in a position of power. Sutter said in season 6, Clay will feel increasingly isolated and that could be more dangerous than anything since he "exiled" from a world he knew. Sutter said the ending of "Sons of Anarchy" could mean "redemption" for Clay.
Sutter touched on Clay's position now.
“I think, for me, it’s the most honest and real we’ve ever seen Clay," Sutter said. "I think it’s truly more who he is as a man than anything else we’ve seen to date.”
All in all, "Sons of Anarchy" will have a turbulent, violent ending when the series wraps. Sutter summed it up by saying it will end with a "pool of blood."
Here's what Sutter said about the "Sons of Anarchy" ending:
"You know, here’s how I describe all this: It’s a heavy world, it’s a dark world but as heavy and violent as it is, I like to think that ultimately there is some sense of hope. So that it’s sad and heavy, but there is always some sense of hope.
"Will it be a happy ending? No, but I do think that there will be something hopeful about the way it ends."
The series creator has a vision for the ending of "Sons of Anarchy," but isn't quite sure how to get there with the storylines yet.
Last week Sutter talked about the premiere of season 6 that has a school shooting scene. Read more about that HERE.
"Sons of Anarchy" season 6 premieres Sept. 10 on FX at 10 p.m., ET/PT.

Before You Sue ...


     A cursory search of the Courthouse News database turned up 53 class action complaints about computer printers.
     Many of these claim that multibillion-dollar corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard, arrange it so that their printers flash a warning light that the ink cartridge is empty before the cartridge really is empty.
     Here's a simple trick for you, class-action plaintiffs.
     When that light flashes, take out the cartridge, bang it on your hand a couple of times and shake it, then put it back.
     It'll keep printing for weeks.
     Trust me on this.
     I do it all the time.
     Do it the next time the light flashes, too.
     And the time after that.
     You'll get the last ounce of ink out of your printer, and you won't have to hire an expensive law firm to file a class-action lawsuit.
     OK? You morons?
     Here's another idea.
     Did you run a red light, or did someone driving your car run a red light, and did you get a traffic ticket for it because a camera took a picture of your license plate, and your car, running that red light?
     Did your city ask you to pay a fine of, say, $45, or even $145?
     Do you want to file a class action lawsuit challenging the right of your city to ticket you for the fact that your car ran a red light?
     Here's a better idea: Imagine your kid riding a bicycle through an intersection, with the light, or crossing at a crosswalk. Now imagine some jerk running a red light there. Have a nice day.
     As I wrote in a previous column, more than 5,000 sexual harassment lawsuits are filed in our civil courts each year, most of them by women suing bosses or co-workers.
     Here's an idea, women: Rather than letting it get to the courts, why not punch the guy in the face the first time it happens?
     I know, I know: Women are not raised or trained to do this.
     You could be sued for punching your boss, or just for decking a co-worker.
     Still, I think it's a better option than relying on the courts.
     The first time a guy grabs your butt at work, punch him in the face. Hard.
     Make a fist, with your thumb on the outside, not on the inside, and punch him as hard as you can in the nose.
     Think of it as a favor to the judicial system.
     Finally, to go from the vile to the ridiculous:
     Did you ever find an insect, or part of an insect, in your vegetables?
     Did seeing that bug make you feel bad?
     Did you want to sue someone?
     Think for a minute.
     Do you know where vegetables come from?
     Do you think it's reasonable to sue someone for finding an insect in your vegetables?
     Did you know that insects contain valuable protein?
     I have more ideas about how to save money and improve the courts. But let's try these for a while and see how they work. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Sam Cro Radio Show, Exclusive interview with former Sons of Anarchy cast member Tommy Gunn.

You've seen him on Grey's Anatomy , The Mentalist , NCIS:Los Angeles , and Sons of Anarchy among many others.An accomplished guitarist for over 25 years , and a man who is one of the most charitable persons I know doing food drives and helping the homeless , Tommy is the real deal.You DO NOT want to miss this interview !................
.The Sam Cro Radio Show goes live at 6:00 pm Pacific , 7:00 pm Mountain , 8:00 pm Central and 9:00 pm Eastern every Wednesday on BlogTalk Radio. Check us out!

And do not forget, if you want to call in live and speak with the host, be sure to dial (347)826-7753. You will be placed into the caller queue where you will still be able to hear the show while you are on hold.
If you miss this above event you can listen to the archive anytime by clicking on the same link below.
Enjoy the show,
Two ways to listen on Wednesday's
1. Call in: (347) 826-7753 ... Listen live right from your phone!
2. Stream us live on your computer:

SAN DIEGO, CA - Police cracking down on motorcyclists..

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A special Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation will be conducted by police Sunday with officers cracking down on motorcyclists found driving intoxicated, speeding or making illegal turns or other dangerous maneuvers.
On-duty and extra officers will target areas frequented by motorcyclists and those prone to motorcycle crashes.
"Motorcycle fatalities saw a phenomenal 37 percent drop from 2008 to 2010, but rose nearly 18 percent in 201l," San Diego Police officer Mark McCullough said. "Operations like this are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward."
California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle- involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs.
The San Diego Police Department is also reminding all motorists to be alert and watch out for motorcyclists, especially when turning and changing lanes.
Riders can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at www.CA-msporg or by calling 1-877-743-3411.

AUSTRALIA - Treating tattooists like criminals won't stop organised crime

he manager of a local tattoo parlour says treating tattooists like criminals won't work to crackdown on organised crime.

Under new licensing laws, NSW tattoo operators and employees can be slugged with fines of up to $11,000 a day if they are not licensed by October.

In an effort to crack down on bikie related crime the New South Wales government has introduced mandatory licensing laws for tattoo operators and employees.

Licences must be approved by the NSW Department of Fair Trading and authorised by the states' Commissioner of Police, Andrew Scipione.

Scott Raymond from Albury's Wizards of Ink Tattoo says the laws will not work and singling out the tattoo industry is not fair.

"To clean up the industry from outlawed bikie gangs and crime, god knows how a licence is going to make it any different," he said.

"The Tattooist who work here have had to have finger prints and a police check before they get issued a license to work in a tattoo shop - which is ridiculous to me."

"Because anyone who gets a tattoo is over 18 - we're not working with children."

Mr Raymond says the new laws are placing a huge burden on the industry's small businesses.

The Department of Fair Trading says licences for operators cost $2094 and individual licences cost $700.

Scott Raymond says despite putting in applications six months ago only one out of three of his staff members have had their licence approved.

He says his staff are getting anxious and he feels they have been left in the dark.

"It's been hard, even the tattooists have found it hard to get all their money together we've all struggled and managed to get our payments up there," he said.

"It's just taken so long to find out and its getting closer and closer and everyone's a little bit nervous."

"They're wondering why it's taking so long and why only one of our tattooists have got the licence so far."

"It's all just a bit nerve-wracking waiting to see whether you are going to get a licence or not."

The Albury tattooist says the regulations might help crack down on dangerous backyard trade in the industry.

Mr Raymond says his business has had to fork out over $4000 for the licences, which he hopes will help clean up the industry.

"I think it's a great thing to stop backyard tattooing and to stop people giving diseases and infections to other people," he said.

"Because you have to be tattooed in a shop that's been passed by the health department and passed by the council - you can't do it in your kitchen or your spare bedroom at home.

"But as for stopping criminal enterprises I don't think it's going to work, no."

ARIZONA - Still no charges filed in Iron Brotherhood bar figh

Eight months after the Iron Brotherhood bar fight in Prescott, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office still has not filed charges against any members.

In the Dec. 22, 2012, incident, members of the motorcycle gang - composed of retired and current law enforcement and public safety employees - broke a man's nose following a confrontation. The fight, which was captured on a surveillance camera, took place at Moctezuma's bar, which has since changed its name to The Whiskey Row Pub.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety released a report on the incident in April, and the findings were subsequently handed to the attorney's office. Although four months have passed since then, Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb said the DPS report is still under review.

"At this point, there has not been a charging decision, but we're still reviewing the case. It has not been declined," Cobb said. "We're reviewing that investigation for filing formal charges. That's what we do for every case."

Cobb could not confirm when the office would complete the review.

"Every case is different. Some are charged very quickly. Some take longer and require additional investigation," he said.

The DPS report recommended that charges of felony obstruction of criminal investigations and misdemeanor charges of false reporting to law enforcement be filed against former Prescott Valley Police Chief Bill Fessler and former Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking Sgt. Bill Suttle - both members of the Iron Brotherhood. Charges of disorderly conduct were also recommended against Justin Stafford, the man whose nose was broken in the Dec. 22, 2012, altercation.

Other charges include possible misdemeanor and disorderly conduct charges against Phoenix police officer Eric Amato and Ajo Ambulance paramedic Gregory Kaufmann, also members of the motorcycle gang.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mark Boan, fired last May in connection with his conduct during the DPS investigation, appealed his firing in July.

The appeal, conducted July 16, 19 and 22, ultimately upheld his termination. That appeal was heard by members of a county merit commission, said Yavapai County Assistant Human Resources Director Wendy Ross.

Others involved in the incident faced disciplinary action following internal reviews from a number of law enforcement agencies. Prescott Valley Police Department Cpl. Jason Kaufman received a week off without pay, six months of disciplinary probation and a written reprimand. Cpl. Tyran Payne's actions during the incident remain under review, said Interim Prescott Valley Police Department Police Chief James Edelstein.

"We don't know the results of the investigation yet," Edelstein said.

In July, DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said DPS Officer Bryce Bigelow faced termination for his actions during the incident.

UTAH - Law enforcement preps for Labor Day

CEDAR CITY — The upcoming Labor Day weekend will see an increased presence of law enforcement not only to deal with the normal increase of vehicles, but also with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club rally taking place near Todd’s Junction on state Route 14.

Sgt. Jimmy Roden, public information officer for the Cedar City Police Department, said there will be an increased number of vehicles on the roadways and drivers are encouraged to ensure all occupants of the vehicle are wearing seatbelts. Drivers should limit distractions, should not drive while fatigued and, as always, plan to have a designated driver when alcohol is being consumed.

While the Bandidos rally will take place in Kane County, Bandidos members are expected to visit and lodge in Cedar City. Roden said more than 1,000 members of the Bandidos may visit Southern Utah over the weekend.

Roden said the Bandidos club is recognized by the FBI as an “Outlaw Motorcycle Gxxg” and individual members of the Bandido Motorcycle Club have a “history reflecting criminal conduct.”

But while criminal history may hold true for some members, Roden said it should not be a stereotype placed on all club members.

Roden added local residents who may feel intimidated by the presence of motorcycle club members should know public safety and order will be maintained and criminal conduct will not be tolerated.

“Cedar City Police Department has taken necessary steps to ensure public safety during the Labor Day weekend,” Roden said in a press release. “Our residents will see a significant increase in the number of police officers patrolling our City this Labor Day weekend, to include police officers from other jurisdictions providing us with additional manpower and resources.

Other agencies are teaming together to beef up security in preparation for the holiday weekend and biker rally.

“We’ve called in some assistance from the state troopers and surrounding law enforcement agencies,” Kane County Chief Deputy Tracy Glover told The Spectrum and Daily News earlier this month. “We’re ready for this and we will have plenty of law enforcement out.”

Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher also confirmed his department will be assisting Kane County during this time.

“I’ve been putting my guys through some additional training to prepare for this event.” Pulsipher said.

Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower told The Spectrum and Daily News his office will be fully staffed over the weekend. Gower said while people should be aware of their surroundings, there is no reason to panic or to change holiday plans.

New Research Supports the Notion That There’s No Such Thing as a “Consensual” Police Encounter


he U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can briefly detain and search a person if they have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that he or she is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime. But cops need no such reasonable, articulable suspicions to engage people in consensual encounters: interactions that a reasonable person would feel free to decline or terminate at any time. Ordinary people are free to stop and talk to strangers, the thinking goes. Why should police officers be denied the same privilege?
And yet, as I’ve written before, a consensual police encounter is often anything but. Cops have guns, and handcuffs, and the power to arrest you or make your life difficult if you are rude or uncooperative. If a cop asks for a moment of our time, most of us will automatically give it, even if we know that we technically have the right to refuse.
This seems obvious, if you think about it. But there hasn’t been much research done to substantiate the theory. A new article in the Florida Coastal Law Review attempts to fill that gap. The article, titled “Testing Judicial Assumptions of the ‘Consensual’ Encounter: An Experimental Study” (it’s not yet online), provides some evidence supporting the contention that consensual police encounters are often less consensual than they seem.

Authors Alisa L. Smith, Erik Dolgoff, and Dana Stewart Speer engineered unexpected encounters between 83 undergraduate students at a “medium-sized, southern private university” and various campus security officers, who were instructed to approach the students and request a conversation in which they would ask for the students’ names, identification, and reasons for being on campus. The security officers did not openly state that the conversation was voluntary. But Smith and her co-authors note that if “at any point during the encounter a participant ignored, walked away from, or raised questions about the encounter, security was instructed to do nothing or advise the passersby that they were under no obligation to comply.”
Security never got the chance. Every single student in the study complied with the officers and answered all their questions. None of them offered any resistance. Why were the students so docile? Out of respect for authority, primarily:
• “I did not [walk away or ignore him] because he’s my authoritative figure and I was always taught to listen to authority.” (Respondent 8)
• “Out of respect I guess.” (Respondent 11)
• “He’s security. He has authority.” (Respondent 27)
• “It’s security. You do what they say.” (Respondent 28)
• “It’s a hierarchy. They are in charge.” (Respondent 29)
• “He has authority over me.” (Respondent 31)
Now, “respect for authority” wasn’t the only reason why the students decided to talk to the security officers. (Some students said they just wanted to avoid conflict; some said they had no reason not to talk to the officers, because they were doing nothing wrong.) And there are limits to what can be extrapolated from this study. The subjects were all between 18 and 21 years old, which likely skewed the results; a wider range of ages may well have led to a wider range of reactions. Also, it’s possible that the subjects might have reacted differently, or out of different motivations, if they had been approached by, well, real cops rather than campus security officers. More research is clearly warranted.
But as Smith and her co-authors note, the results of the study still “show that judicial assumptions are flawed about the reactions of reasonable, innocent people during ‘consensual’ encounters with police.” This paper suggests, at least preliminarily, that the “consensual” police encounter is a fiction. And with more empirical research like this, maybe the courts will start rethinking consensual encounters, too.

Crime is Slate’s crime blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @slatecrime.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

USA - With cameras watching, your car isn't your castle

WASHINGTON — You can drive, but you can’t hide.
A rapidly growing network of police cameras is capturing, storing and sharing data on license plates, making it possible to stitch together people’s movements whether they are stuck in a commute, making tracks to the beach or up to no good.
For the first time, the number of license tag captures has reached the millions, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union based on information from hundreds of law enforcement agencies. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely, saying they can be crucial in tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts, finding abducted children and more.
Attached to police cars, bridges or buildings — and sometimes merely as an app on a police officer’s smartphone — scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and pinpoint their locations, uploading that information into police databases..
Over time, it’s unlikely many vehicles in a covered area escape notice. And with some of the information going into regional databases encompassing multiple jurisdictions, it’s becoming easier to build a record of where someone has been and when, over a large area.
While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge’s approval is needed to use GPS to track a car, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver’s location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners are assembling a “single, high-resolution image of our lives.”
“There’s just a fundamental question of whether we’re going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine,” said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the organization. The group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of cars not linked to any crime.
Although less thorough than GPS tracking, plate readers can produce some of the same information, the group says, revealing whether someone is frequenting a bar, joining a protest, getting medical or mental help, being unfaithful to a spouse and much more.
In Minneapolis, for example, eight mobile and two fixed cameras captured data on 4.9 million license plates from January to August 2012, the Star Tribune reported. Among those whose movements were recorded: Mayor R.T. Rybak, whose city-owned cars were tracked at 41 locations in a year.
A Star Tribune reporter’s vehicle was tracked seven times in a year, placing him at a friend’s house three times late at night, other times going to and from work — forming a picture of the dates, times and coordinates of his daily routine. Until the city temporarily classified such data late last year, anyone could ask police for a list of when and where a car had been spotted.
As the technology becomes cheaper and more widespread, even small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance systems. The federal government has been a willing partner, offering grants to help equip departments, in part as a tool against terrorism.
Law enforcement officials say the scanners are strikingly efficient. The state of Maryland told the ACLU that troopers could “maintain a normal patrol stance” while capturing up to 7,000 license plate images in a single eight-hour shift.
“At a time of fiscal and budget constraints, we need better assistance for law enforcement,” said Harvey Eisenberg, assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland.
Law enforcement officials say the technology automates a practice that’s been around for years. The ACLU found that only five states have laws governing license plate readers. New Hampshire, for example, bans the technology except in narrow circumstances, while Maine and Arkansas limit how long plate information can be stored.
“There’s no expectation of privacy” for a vehicle driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas. The department has records stretching back to 2008, although the city plans next month to begin deleting files older than two years.
In Yonkers, N.Y., just north of New York City’s Bronx, police said retaining the information indefinitely helps detectives solve future crimes. In a statement, the department said it uses license plate readers as a “reactive investigative tool” that is only accessed if detectives are looking for a particular vehicle in connection with a crime.
“These plate readers are not intended nor used to follow the movements of members of the public,” the department said.
Even so, the records add up quickly. In Jersey City, N.J., for example, the population is 250,000, but the city collected more than 2 million plate images in a year. Because the city keeps records for five years, the ACLU estimates that it has some 10 million on file, making it possible for police to plot the movements of most residents, depending upon the number and location of the scanners.
The ACLU study, based on 26,000 pages of responses from 293 police departments and state agencies across the country, found that license plate scanners produced a small fraction of “hits,” or alerts to police that a suspicious vehicle had been found.
In Maryland, for example, the state reported reading about 29 million plates between January and May of last year. Of that number, about 60,000 — or roughly 1 in every 500 license plates — were suspicious. The main offenses: a suspended or revoked registration, or a violation of the state’s emissions inspection program, altogether accounting for 97 percent of alerts.
Even so, Eisenberg, the assistant U.S. attorney, said the program has helped authorities track 132 wanted suspects and can make a critical difference in keeping an area safe.
Also, he said, Maryland has rules in place restricting access. Most records are retained for one year, and the state’s privacy policies are reviewed by an independent board, Eisenberg noted.
At least in Maryland, “there are checks, and there are balances,” he said.

U.S. Dominates Volume Of Government Requests For Facebook User Info Worldwide

August 27, 2013 by Ben Bullard 

Facebook has released a tally sheet enumerating how many times governments have requested information on individual users over the first six months of 2013. In all, there have been more than 25,000 requests from national governments worldwide – and, as you might have guessed, the U.S. is at the front of the pack.

The release, dubbed the “Global Government Requests Report,” not only shows the frequency with which Facebook is approached by governments requesting information, but the number of times Facebook has complied.

Facebook honored 79 percent of the estimated 12,000 U.S. government requests it received in an effort to gain information on an estimated 20,000 individual users.

As Adi Robertson of tech website The Verge explains, the nature of the requests range from trifling to significant.

The table lists anything made by any government branch, from standard law enforcement to more covert activities, and it includes requests for all kinds of information. That means we’re looking at everything from a police subpoena asking for a burglar’s account email address to a secret court order for the IP address of a protestor.

… These numbers appear to have risen slightly from Facebook’s estimates in 2012. Unlike all other country data, the US numbers can’t even be reported exactly. The gag orders associated with FBI national security letters and FISA court requests make it difficult to talk about many orders at all, and Facebook was only allowed to start mentioning them in ranges in June.

As you’ll see on the Facebook press release page, the U.S. is indeed the only country whose numbers are mere estimates; all others are presented with single-digit precision.

Filed Under: Liberty News, Staff Reports

NEW YORK - Appeals Court: Asking For Lawyer Doesn’t Imply Guilt

August 27, 2013 by UPI - United Press International, Inc. 

NEW YORK, (UPI) – Prosecutors may not use a suspect’s request for a lawyer during police questioning as evidence of guilt, a U.S. appeals court in New York ruled.

A suspect’s silence alone in police interrogations isn’t enough to trigger Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, citing a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

But requesting an attorney during a police interrogation before arrest automatically triggers such protections and the government was wrong when it used a suspect’s sudden silence during the interrogation in making a case for his guilt, the appeals court said.

“A request for a lawyer in response to law enforcement questioning suffices to put an officer on notice that the individual means to invoke the privilege,” the court said in a case involving a man convicted of trying to sneak a foreign national into the United States.

The appeals ordered a new trial for Tayfun Okatan, convicted by a jury in 2011 of three charges of trying to bring German citizen Munir Uysal illegally into the United States.

Okatan did not bring Uysal into the United States, and the evidence of his guilt “was purely circumstantial and far from overwhelming,” the court said in recounting the lower court proceedings in Albany, N.Y.

Yet, a federal prosecutor told the Albany jury the defendant’s sudden silence after asking for a lawyer revealed the “kind of conduct that someone who’s been caught engaged in,” the appeals court said.

That is unconstitutional, the court ruled.

“The Fifth Amendment guaranteed Okatan a right to react to the question without incriminating himself, and he successfully invoked that right,” said the court, whose ruling can be found at

The prosecutor’s comment to the jury about the defendant’s failure to testify was, in effect, a penalty “for exercising a constitutional privilege,” the court said, quoting the Supreme Court.

“In order for the privilege to be given full effect, individuals must not be forced to choose between making potentially incriminating statements and being penalized for refusing to make them,” the appeals court said.

“Accordingly, we conclude that where, as here, an individual is interrogated by an officer, even prior to arrest, his invocation of the privilege against self-incrimination and his subsequent silence cannot be used by the government in its case in chief as substantive evidence of guilt,” the court ruled.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Filed Under: Breaking Now, From The Wire, Liberty News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Protect your privacy from event data recorders

Take ActionProtect your privacy from event data recorders 
Urge your representative to support federal legislation!
On June 18, U.S. Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced H.R. 2414, the Black Box Privacy Protection Act.
The bill will protect motorcyclists’ rights by requiring manufacturers to prominently disclose to consumers if an event data recorder (commonly known as a black box) is installed on their motorcycle, the data collection capabilities of such a device, and how such data may be used. The bill clarifies that the owner of the motorcycle owns the data and it may not be accessed without the permission of the owner. Furthermore, this bill requires that manufacturers provide consumers with the option of controlling the recording function in automobiles or motorcycles manufactured in the future that are equipped with black boxes.
In other words, consumers would have the ability to turn the black box on or off.
Currently, no federal law exists that clarifies the rights of vehicle owners to ownership of the recorded data.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring black boxes in all cars manufactured after Sept. 1, 2014. The NHTSA already has disclosure requirements, but the Black Box Privacy Protection Act would make the disclosure more prominent and give consumers even greater choice and privacy protections.
The American Motorcyclist Association protects motorcyclists’ freedom to ride and we support this bipartisan bill. If you are concerned that your insurer will selectively use data from a black box recorder to increase your rates, or that recorded data may be used to target you in a civil or criminal proceeding, then you—the motorcyclist—should urge your representative to support the Black Box Privacy Protection Act.
Be sure to follow the "Take Action" option to send a pre-written email directly to your representative.
You can make a donation today using our secure online feature. Every donation, no matter the amount, is appreciated. Contributions are not-tax deductible.
Make a donation today!
Now more than ever, it is crucial that you become a member of the AMA to help us protect your freedom to ride. More members means more clout against the opponents of motorcycling, and your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go
Read about this bill
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USA - ACLU raises privacy concerns about police technology tracking drivers

By Michael Martinez, CNN
  • NEW: Union says technology helps to keep officers and the public safe
  • Police around country track every vehicle passing a license plate reader
  • The readers are surveillance technology using high speed cameras
  • There's little, if any, privacy protection for innocent motorists, the ACLU says
(CNN) -- Police around the United States are recording the license plates of passing drivers and storing the information for years with little privacy protection, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday.
The information potentially allows authorities to track the movements of everyone who drives a car.
The ACLU documented the police surveillance after reviewing 26,000 pages of material gathered through public records requests to almost 600 local and state police departments in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
Police are gathering the vehicle information with surveillance technology called automatic license plate readers, and it's being stored -- sometimes indefinitely -- with few or no privacy protections, the ACLU said.
"The documents paint a startling picture of a technology deployed with too few rules that is becoming a tool for mass routine location tracking and surveillance," the ACLU said in a written statement.
The license plate readers alert police to an automobile associated with an investigation, "but such instances account for a tiny fraction of license plate scans, and too many police departments are storing millions of records about innocent drivers," the ACLU said.
"Private companies are also using license plate readers and sharing the information they collect with police with little or no oversight or privacy protections. A lack of regulation means that policies governing how long our location data is kept vary widely," the ACLU said.
The civil liberties group is advocating legislation regulating the use of the technology.
The readers have been proliferating at "worrying speed" and are typically mounted on bridges, overpasses and patrol cars, the ACLU said.
The devices use high-speed cameras, and the software analyzes the photographs to retrieve the plate number, the group said.
The system then runs the data against "hot lists" of plate numbers and produces an instant alert when a match, or "hit," registers, the group said. The hot lists include the National Crime Information Center file, which includes stolen cars and vehicles used in the commission of a crime.
"License plate readers would pose few civil liberties risks if they only checked plates against hot lists and these hot lists were implemented soundly. But these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen — not just the data of vehicles that generate hits," the ACLU report said.
The growing collection of data allows police to create "a single, high-resolution image of our lives," and the constant monitoring "can chill the exercise of our cherished rights to free speech and association," the group said.
"If not properly secured, license plate reader databases open the door to abusive tracking, enabling anyone with access to pry into the lives of his boss, his ex-wife, or his romantic, political, or workplace rivals," the ACLU said.
Law enforcement argues the tools keep officers and the public safe.
In a blog post last week, the Los Angeles Police Protective League said that license plate recognition (LPR) technology has helped with "literally thousands of cases nationwide."
"LPR is not an invasion of privacy, but rather a tool for law enforcement to better accomplish its mission to protect and serve. The onus is on law enforcement agencies and governing bodies to ensure that they have proper policies in place for disciplined and responsible use, with appropriate punishments for anyone operating outside of policy," the union said.
The ACLU report cited how the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2012 tracked the movement of the Mayor R.T. Rybak's car 41 times at a license police reader in the prior year. The newspaper put the information on a map and gathered the data through public records requests.
The newspaper found that the police department's plate readers yielded hits of fewer than 1% of the 805,000 plate scans made in June 2012, according to the ACLU.
A hit means that a read matched a listing in a database of vehicles law enforcement was interested in, for whatever reason. They might be reported stolen, for instance, or belonging to missing persons.

As a result, the mayor directed the police chief to recommend a new policy on data retention, the group said.

How to serve a warrant: 1972 versus today, by Lt. Harry Thomas


This past week I was over on trying to convince some hot-headed, patriot-hating young cops that the Constitution is actually the law of the land. I failed. One of them refers to open carriers as “attention whores.” I was denounced as a traitor to law enforcement for insisting that gun owners actually have rights that LEO’s are legally and morally bound to respect.
It got me thinking about the great gulf that separates the law enforcement profession that I knew as compared to the one that exists today. I never thought I’d be one of those geezers that says, “I just don’t understand this younger generation today!” But the fact is, I am, and I don’t.
I offer this retrospective and comparison:

1) The warrant officer at your station gives you a warrant for someone who lives on your beat. It’s for an old drug possession beef. The suspect has no criminal history. Ho-hum.
(Source: WCNC Charlotte) 
(Source: WCNC Charlotte)
2) You go to the location. You knock on the door. If no one answers, you leave and come back another time. If your man answers the door, you either arrest him or cite him to court. If you know he’s there (TV is on, curtains move as he peeks out the window at you, etc.) but he won’t answer the door, you call another car to watch the back while you go in the front and get him. If he submits, fine. If he resists you thump him (tasers are years in the future). If he goes for a weapon you shoot him.
Fairly simple, no?
1) Bring a few more cops.
2) Bring shotguns.*
*The only full-autos that your department owns are a row of 1921 Thompson sub-machine guns with 50 round drum magazines, and, strangely enough, a single M-3 greasegun, that are standing in a rack in the armory at the Criminal Investigation Section (detective bureau). The last time that one of them was deployed was in the late 1950’s at a late-night stakeout inside a closed Kroger grocery store where a gun battle occurred between stakeout officers and a gang of professional burglars and safecrackers. One of your department’s last old cigar-chewing detectives from the gangster era used the chopper to fatally ventilate the bad guys. The old chatterguns have never been fired for effect since, and never will be again. You are not qualified on them, and know no one in your 1000 man department who is. If, through some miracle, you were to be qualified on one of the old warhorses, the thought of taking one to a warrant service would never even occur to you, and the chances of you being able to sign one out for that purpose would be nil anyway. Cops use alley sweepers, not trench brooms.

1) The warrant officer at your station gives you a warrant for someone who lives on your beat. It’s for an old drug possession beef. The suspect has no criminal history. Drug possession! This guy is obviously a degenerate, and threatens the very fabric of civilization! There’s no time to lose!
SWAT_Entry2) You and your pals put on black ninja outfits. You put black bags over your heads with little slits for your eyes. Now you can do anything you want and no one can identify you afterwards. Hey, it works for the PLO and the IRA, right? You call all of the schools within a fifty mile radius and tell them to go on lockdown.
3) You ride to the scene in an armored personnel carrier (yes, I said an armored personnel carrier!).
4) When you arrive, you jump out and storm the house, bristling with weapons that were, at one time, only used on foreign battlefields to engage implacable enemies of the United States and its interests. Now they’re used against this country’s civilian population.
5) The family’s elderly Labrador, who is now approaching you, tail wagging, is obviously there to guard the drug kingpin’s stash, and presents a grave danger to law enforcement personnel. Hose him with your M-16, or MP5, or whatever squirt gun your agency issues. That way the neighbors will see what a baaaaadass you are.
6) Don’t knock on the door…that’s for sissies. Take it down with a battering ram. Run in and cuss a lot, like they do in those cool movies. Prone everybody out on the floor. When the family’s other dog gets excited and starts barking, blow him away like you did the other one. Do it in front of the kids. That way they’ll learn that this country’s laws must be respected!
7) There are lots of news cameras outside because you called them ahead of time and told them to be there. March your prisoner out and look really grim. Now everyone watching the news can see your armored personnel carrier (yes, I said ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER!) and they can see how awesome you are in your Ninja outfit.
8) Make sure your department spokesman is there to give an exciting account of your great victory. That way the pretty girl with too much hair mousse can do a “BREAKING NEWS” story about how you’ve struck a stunning blow to the international drug trade.
Now, there are people who are going to think I’m being facetious here. I’m not.
Since the early 80’s, the use of SWAT teams in civilian law enforcement has increased about 1500%. No, those two zeros are not a typo. At least FORTY completely innocent American citizens have been shot to death by rogue police, either because incompetent law enforcement officials hit the wrong address, or because startled homeowners attempted to defend themselves against the masked strangers violently entering their homes and were gunned down. One of them, Kathryn Johnston of Atlanta, was 92 years old.
I well remember the first time my agency pulled one of these stunts and scared an innocent old lady damned near to death. Our chief did the one thing in his career that I actually admired. He sent down word that if any of our personnel ever again kicked down an innocent citizen’s door, that they should send back the search warrant return with their badge pinned to it since they wouldn’t be needing it anymore. It never happened again.
How did this happen? How did we go, in a few short years, from a beat cop knocking on a door to a full scale military assault reminiscent of Iwo Jima, over somebody selling somebody else a bag of weed?
It’s because of the biggest failed social experiment in this country’s history, the Drug War.
I was around in the days of yore when the first drug forfeiture programs started. If you could prove that a guy’s stuff was purchased with the proceeds of drug trafficking, you could take the stuff. It was a great idea, and it hit these guys where they lived. And for a few years the law chugged along that way.
A bounty of cash seized without due process (Source: 
A bounty of cash seized without due process (Source:
Then law enforcement administrators started thinking about just how much plunder there really was out there. That thing about proving that the guy’s stuff came from drug proceeds was a real drag. They said, “HEY! We have a great idea. Let’s take people’s stuff WITHOUT proving that it came from drug proceeds!!” And they did. The law was changed. Law enforcement didn’t need to convict people of anything. They didn’t even have to CHARGE them with anything. They could just take the stuff!
The way it was explained to me in training was that the stuff was being treated as a separate entity, independent of its owner. In other words, the guy wasn’t being charged with a crime. His car, or his house, or his cash was being charged with a crime. Stuff could now commit crimes, and be convicted of them. A cop could hold a trial at the side of the road, convict someone’s money of drug trafficking, and then put the money in jail.
Agencies scrambled to create drug “interdiction” units to patrol their expressways, such as the I-75 corridor from Florida to Michigan which runs through my city.
Their mandate? Steal money.
In my agency, our higher-ups got so addicted to stolen money that there wasn’t enough in our city to satisfy them. They cut some kind of a deal with our county sheriff and got a team of our guys commissioned as deputy sheriffs. Now they could patrol our expressways all the way to the county line, miles outside city limits.
They’re still doing it. Just last week I drove I-74 into Ohio, and sure enough, there was a Cincinnati police unit just over the state line, nowhere near the city limits, watching for anyone who meets the “profile.”
His mandate? Steal money.
The only way the victim can get his money back is to sue the agency and try to prove it DIDN’T come from drug proceeds. So much for due process and the presumption of innocence. Oftentimes the cost of taking legal action exceeds the amount of money that was taken, so the victim just gives up. This is what agencies count on. Life is GOOD for law enforcement agencies! The only difference between them and pirates is the absence of an ocean. Highway robbery is back in vogue, literally!
So what to do with all that dough? No government agency ever returns money to the treasury. If they have any left at the end of the budget year they have a shopping spree.
What shall we buy? TOYS!!!
SWAT was the latest fad. Buy SWAT stuff!
An armored vehicle purchased in Alliance, Ohio (Source: YouTube) 
An armored vehicle purchased in Alliance, Ohio (Source: YouTube)
Soon agencies all over the country were buying military hardware that had never before been needed or used in civilian law enforcement (this was before Congress passed laws allowing the military to GIVE surplus hardware to the cops).
Questions were raised. SWAT is a legitimate concept, and is needed in cases of barricaded persons, hostage situations, etc. But most agencies, even big ones, go for months and sometimes years without experiencing such events. The toys gathered dust. Officials and concerned taxpayers asked, “What do you NEED this stuff for?”
No need? CREATE a need!
And that’s why things that used to be handled in a low-key, non-confrontational way by street-savvy beat cops now require SWAT intervention, including routine service of warrants for insignificant and non-violent offenses.
Are we better off? You decide.


California Begins Confiscating Legally-Purchased Guns

By  on August 23, 2013

It is not surprising that the first police raids to take legally-purchased firearms from citizens are in California. Until recently, the state had the strictest gun control laws and the liberal run state government has always looked unfavorably on the Second Amendment.
Earlier this year, the state legislature expanded the list of what they call “prohibited persons” – people who have legally registered a firearm but, for various reasons, are no longer allowed their Second Amendment rights. These reasons were expanded to include people who are behind on state taxes, did not pay toll fees in a “timely” manner and a wide range of other minor misdemeanors or reported mental health concerns.
In preparation for the crackdown, the state authorized $24 million to hire additional officers to track down 20,000 people on the list. One person on this list was Joe Mendez.
A police officer came to the door and lured Mendez out of his house with a story of a hit and run report. Once outside, he had M16s pointed within inches of his face, was taken into custody and had all weapons removed from his house.
It is important to remember that these were legally- purchased and registered firearms. That gets to the other issue about this initiative.
This case demonstrates what registration lists really are. They are tools to allow police to confiscate weapons. And, all they have to do in California is come up with a reason you should be on the prohibited persons list; a list that is continuously expanding in its scope and definition.
California gun owners beware: your firearms and rights are being confiscated by your liberal politicians.