Tag Archives | Warrants

Future Crime Comes to Texas: Police Can Get A Warrant For Crimes You Might Commit Later

minority-report

Picture: Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’

Y’all better not let ‘em think that you’re ‘fixing’ to commit a crime.

Via Raw Story:

An appeals court in Texas ruled last week that police may obtain a search warrant based on the prediction of a future crime.

Officers in Parker County took Michael Fred Wehrenberg and some associates into custody in summer 2010, after watching his home for about a month as part of a drug investigation.

A confidential informant told police that Wehrenberg and others were “fixing to” cook methamphetamine, and investigators searched the house while he and his friends stood outside in handcuffs.

Police said they found pseudoephedrine, stripped lithium batteries and materials used to make meth and then asked a judge to grant them a warrant to search the house.

They did not mention in the warrant application that officers had already gone into the house, and instead only based their request on information supplied by the confidential informant.

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Texas Becomes First State Requiring A Warrant For Email Spying

email spyingI never thought I’d say this, but, has Texas set an example that should be followed on the federal level? Ars Technica reports:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill giving Texans more privacy over their inboxes than anywhere else in the United States.

On Friday, Perry signed HB 2268, effective immediately. The law shields residents of the Lone Star State from snooping by state and local law enforcement without a warrant. The bill’s e-mail amendment was written by Jonathan Stickland, a 29-year-old Republican who represents an area between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Under the much-maligned 1986-era Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), federal law enforcement agencies are only required to get a warrant to access recent e-mails before they are opened by the recipient. As we’ve noted many times before, there are no such provisions in federal law once the e-mail has been opened or if it has sat in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days.

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Gun Owner Is Arrested After Having His Home Illegally Searched

On Thursday January 25th, New Jersey police officers entered the apartment of Keith Pantaleon without permission, warning, warrant or explanation. After entering the apartment, they apparently had suspicion of him having a weapon, though none were visible. The police then searched his home and found multiple firearms. Keith is a legal gun owner who is registered and has permits for his firearms in multiple states. According to his close friends is currently going through the process of obtaining his permits for New Jersey. To find out more about Keith go to http://www.gofundme.com/Stand4Keith  Via WeAreChange
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They Really Are Coming for Your Guns

Language in a gun control bill in Washington state has drawn opposition even from gun control supporters, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat.

“They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”

That’s no gun-rights absolutist talking, but Lance Palmer, a Seattle trial lawyer and self-described liberal who brought the troubling Senate Bill 5737 to my attention. It’s the long-awaited assault-weapons ban, introduced last week by three Seattle Democrats.

“I’m a liberal Democrat — I’ve voted for only one Republican in my life,” Palmer told me. “But now I understand why my right-wing opponents worry about having to fight a government takeover.”

He added: “It’s exactly this sort of thing that drives people into the arms of the NRA.”

Senate Bill 5737 would permit police to make an annual, warrantless search of homes to inspect for firearms.… Read the rest

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Warrantless Government Requests For Your Twitter And Google Data Continue To Increase

It seems that using email or social networks, nothing is actually private. The Atlantic Wire reports:

Twitter has released its second biannual Transparency Report and — what do you know? — Twitter is still giving away more user information requested by the U.S. government than ever, and without a warrant.

Twitter got 815 total requests in the last six months, and more than 80 percent of the U.S. government’s asks on user data came without a warrant. Google, too, has seen an uptick in government requests, reporting a total 21,389 requests for information in 2012.

U.S. officials are asking for more of what we’re doing from more of our daily Internet activities — typically without getting a court’s permission. Google, however, is lobbying [for better privacy protection], and this year the Senate will vote on an updated version of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that requires a warrant for all email and private communication stored over the cloud.

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The Police May Soon Need A Warrant To Read Your Emails

Using electronic means to communicate shouldn’t mean that you relinquish your right to privacy. Ars Technica reports on an encouraging development in the U.S. Senate:

Right now, if the cops want to read my e-mail, it’s pretty trivial for them to do so. All they have to do is ask my online e-mail provider. But a new bill set to be introduced Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee by its chair, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), seems to stand the best chance of finally changing that situation and giving e-mail stored on remote servers the same privacy protections as e-mail stored on one’s home computer.

Leahy’s new amendement would provide a major change to the privacy standard of all electronic correspondence by finally requiring a probable cause-driven warrant. If this bill does pass, it would instantaneously provide significantly more privacy to everyone in America who sends e-mail, uses Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, or communicates online in essentially any way.

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Supreme Court Troubled By Warrantless GPS Tracking

The SupremesI guess the justices of the highest court in the land (a.k.a. the Supremes) realized that the U.S. government has the power to watch any of them without any legal action … Mark Sherman reports in the AP:

The Supreme Court invoked visions of an all-seeing Big Brother and satellites watching us from above. Then things got personal Tuesday when the justices were told police could slap GPS devices on their cars and track their movements, without asking a judge for advance approval.

The occasion for all the talk about intrusive police actions was a hearing in a case about whether the police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects. The outcome could have implications for other high-tech surveillance methods as well.

The justices expressed deep reservations about warrantless GPS tracking. But there also was no clear view about how or whether to regulate police use of the devices.

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Can The Police Search Your Digital Devices?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a “Know Your Rights” guide regarding police search and seizure of digital devices. Remember, law enforcement isn’t allowed to search your phone or computer without a warrant, your permission, or solid reason to believe that they will find incriminating evidence. Most important, only a judge or a grand jury can pry your password from you, so set one and you’re golden. Read the guide for more information.

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