Tag Archives | Crime

No Fare!

copolla

Monday

As usual, the weekend off messed with my circadian rhythm and I have not had a wink of sleep, even with my generic iPhone harp alarm set to a late 5 o’clock. But the hour later setting was not an attempt at extending my sleepless bed time for a chance that I might actually get some. It was in the hopes that Tony will call me preemptively from the Citizen’s Cab office asking if I want to take the day off and get covered by one of the (now defunct) Arrow Cab transplants hoping to go out. Tony has gotten wise to my all too frequent call-ins on Mondays asking to get covered, on account of lack of sleep. Hence, he’s taken to sometimes calling me first, around 5. Anyway, the last thing a cabbie wants is to start out a 10-hour shift on the cutthroat streets of San Francisco tired and set like a trap ready to spring.

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When The Language Of Freedom Dies

When The Language Of Freedom Dies, Freedom Dies With It

Freedom is in peril stencil
Image by Leo Reynolds

Back in March (2015) a UK parliamentary select committee published a report [1] which expounded, amongst other things, its views on the police uploading arrest photographs, including those of people not subsequently convicted, into a facial recognition database. The police started doing this on the quiet, without any public announcement or public debate on their reasons for doing it or its impact on individual freedoms.

Here is what the Select Committee had to say:

“We fully appreciate the positive impact that facial recognition software could have on the detection and prevention of crime. However, it is troubling that the governance arrangements were not fully considered and implemented prior to the software being `switched on’. This appears to be a further example of a lack of oversight by the Government where biometrics is concerned; a situation that could have been avoided had a comprehensive biometrics strategy been developed and published.”

[‘Current and future uses of biometric data and technologies’ report, House of Commons Science and Technology select committee, 2015]

Oh boy, strong words, they must have been pretty annoyed – oh no, hang on a minute – “fully appreciate the positive impact”, “governance arrangements were not fully considered”, “lack of oversight”… There must have been a mistake at the printers, they appear to have accidentally printed a sermon on the merits of doing nothing other than producing yet more administrative red tape.… Read the rest

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Instead of Playing Golf, the World’s Elderly Are Staging Heists and Robbing Banks

Phil Spector, mugshot (2009)

Phil Spector’s crimes were a bit extreme, even for the elderly.

Just how bored are senior citizens that they’d risk swapping the comforts of retirement homes for prisons? Or are the former not that different than the latter, other than the cost? Bloomberg reports that “loneliness and poverty are two factors blamed for increased criminal activity among senior citizens”:

British tabloids were abuzz after a dramatic recent heist in London’s Hatton Garden diamond district, as thieves made off with more than £10 million ($15.5 million) in cash and gems from a heavily secured vault. According to one theory, the gang used a contortionist who slithered into the vault. Others held that a thirtysomething criminal genius known as the “King of Diamonds” had masterminded the caper.

But when police arrested nine suspects, the most striking thing about the crew wasn’t physical dexterity or villainous brilliance. It was age. The youngest suspect in the case is 42, and most are much older, including two men in their mid-seventies.

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1984 Action Day, 8th June – Orwell as Relevant as Ever

On 8th June 1949 George Orwell published his novel ‘1984’. It was a warning of the society that would emerge if the totalitarian thinking he believed had taken root in the minds of intellectuals and policymakers everywhere was left unchecked.

Sixty-six years later we find that Orwell’s novel resonates as strongly as ever.

Democratic governments around the world are enacting laws that enable greater and greater monitoring of the people, curtail freedom of speech and undermine protections once enshrined in our legal systems.

Bill C-51 in Canada, a new pro surveillance law in France, the Counter-Terrorism Legislative Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act 2014 in Australia, a 1.6M euros system to track social media in Spain… And In the UK the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, a proposed new Counter-Extremism Bill and plans to re-introduce the “snoopers charter” to spy on all communications. To name but a few!

All this removal of freedoms is being done under the guise of protecting those very freedoms using a skewed human rights agenda that justifies anything in the name of “national security”, for example the UK’s so-called ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’.… Read the rest

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Diablo III Players Stole Virtual Armor and Gold — Prosecuted IRL

Proving that the lines between your video game life and your real life are becoming increasingly fuzzy, two gamers who stole a load of loot in Diablo III have pled guilty in a real life case based on their virtual crimes, reports Fusion:

These days, we all have shadow selves that exist in virtual environments — be it on Facebook, Twitter, or in video games. And those digital avatars, it turns out, can get us in IRL trouble. Last year, in a first-of-its-kind legal case that has not previously been reported, two men pled guilty to misdemeanors in California and Maryland that stemmed from their robbing video game characters of gold, weapons and armor.

D3-inventory-smaller.jpg

Diablo III‍ ’​s inventory and HUD.

 

In the summer of 2012, Patrick Nepomuceno of California and Michael Stinger of Maryland, who had met each other through gaming chat platform TeamSpeak, committed a series of virtual “hold-ups” in the role-playing video game Diablo III.

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Oklahoma man pleads guilty in deadly ‘atomic wedgie’ case

Williana (CC BY 2.0)

Williana (CC BY 2.0)

A man from Oklahoma (not Florida!) has plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter for giving a deadly atomic wedgie to his stepfather.

via Reuters:

An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for asphyxiating his stepfather with the underwear he was wearing in a move police dubbed an “atomic wedgie,” court officials said on Tuesday.

Brad Davis, 34, who pleaded guilty on Monday, faces between four to 35 years in prison for the death of Denver St. Clair, 58, in December 2013 in McLoud, east of Oklahoma City. A mitigation hearing is set for Wednesday with sentencing scheduled for July.

Davis pulled St. Clair’s underwear over his head and around his neck, where the elastic band left ligature marks, police said.

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Freddie Gray Had Pre-Existing Conditions, Just Not Ones You’ve Heard

freddie-gray

Via People’s Pundit Daily:

Reports have been circulating on the Internet suggesting Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died last week from a spinal cord injury suffered either before or while in police custody, had a pre-existing injury. The initial report from the New Republic — which PPD found serious discrepancies with — cites Howard County court records as proof that a pre-existing injury “may have possibly” led to his death in April 19.

The Baltimore Sun first pushed back on the report citing court records examined Wednesday, showing the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury.

“Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint,” The BS report said (yes, pun intended).

However, according to a PPD investigation into the claims made in both reports, there are a number of relevant questions still unanswered.

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