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Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D printer gun files must stay offline for now The federal civil suit originated three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the "Liberator," the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This letter came despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online. [Ars Technica]

This reminds me of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryption technology away from people using the same tactics. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. Here's a BitTorrent link to download the files in question.

Cops can’t even fabricate charges right
Sep 19th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Cops record them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges with suspect’s cam­era. In a fed­er­al civil rights law­suit, a Con­necti­cut man has shared footage to bol­ster his claims that police ille­gal­ly con­front­ed the pedes­tri­an because he was film­ing one of them. Author­i­ties seized Michael Picard’s cam­era and his per­mit­ted pis­tol, and the offi­cers involved then acci­den­tal­ly record­ed them­selves alleged­ly fab­ri­cat­ing charges again­st the man.

[…]

The tick­ets Picard got were for the alleged use of a high­way by a pedes­tri­an and for alleged­ly cre­at­ing a pub­lic dis­tur­bance for car­ry­ing an “exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists.” The author­i­ties even­tu­al­ly dis­missed the tick­ets. [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

Note that car­ry­ing an exposed load­ed sidearm in plain view of pass­ing motorists is per­fect­ly legal in Con­necti­cut as long as you have a car­ry per­mit, which Picard did. Not only did the jack­boots get caught fab­ri­cat­ing charges, they were so stu­pid that they couldn’t even come up with some­thing that was actu­al­ly ille­gal for their lies.

Apparently his message was heard
Sep 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Fer­gu­son Activist Dar­ren Seals Found Shot and Dead in Burn­ing Car in St. Louis. 29-year-old activist Dar­ren Seals was found dead in a burn­ing car in the Riverview sec­tion of St. Louis this week, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Seals became an anti-gun vio­lence activist after being shot in 2013, and in 2014 was among the first pro­test­ers in Fer­gu­son, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Seals helped found the group Hands Up Unit­ed and was a vocal oppo­nent of African-Americans vot­ing Democ­rat as a bloc. “Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean noth­ing,” Seals told the Wash­ing­ton Post in 2014. “The world is watch­ing us right now. It’s time to send a mes­sage of our pow­er.” [Hit & Run)]

The dan­ger of send­ing mes­sages like that in a police state is that the peo­ple in charge might actu­al­ly get the mes­sage and decide to send back one of their own.

Going green: Morocco bans use of plastic bags
Jul 1st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Going green: Moroc­co bans use of plas­tic bags [AL JAZEERA ENGLISH (AJE)]

I’ve writ­ten in the past about how absurd it is for Amer­i­cans to wor­ry about Mus­lims impos­ing Shari­ah law in the US. Now, it seems that it’s the Mus­lims who have to wor­ry about Amer­i­can Shari­ah laws being imposed in their coun­tries.

People used to go the other way
May 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Developer Of Anonymous Tor Software Dodges FBI, Leaves US. An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: FBI agents are currently trying to subpoena one of Tor's core software developers to testify in a criminal hacking investigation, CNNMoney has learned. But the developer, who goes by the name Isis Agora Lovecruft, fears that federal agents will coerce her to undermine the Tor system -- and expose Tor users around the world to potential spying. That's why, when FBI agents approached her and her family over Thanksgiving break last year, she immediately packed her suitcase and left the United States for Germany. "I was worried they'd ask me to do something that hurts innocent people -- and prevent me from telling people it's happening," she said in an exclusive interview with CNNMoney. Earlier in the month, Tech Dirt reported the Department of Homeland Security wants to subpoena the site over the identity of a hyperbolic commenter. [Slashdot]

It's depressing that I can now say that I'm old enough to remember when people defected to the US.

Cops being cops
Apr 11th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year. Here's an interesting factoid about contemporary policing: In 2014, for the first time ever, law enforcement officers took more property from American citizens than burglars did. Martin Armstrong pointed this out at his blog, Armstrong Economics, last week. [Washington Post]

I remember when bandits in uniforms were something you read about being a problem in particularly nasty third world hellholes. This also reminded me of the Utah study that found that you're more likely to be murdered by the police than by (private sector) street criminals.

The real shariah threat
Apr 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

In recent years it’s been com­mon for neo-Nazis to oppose Mus­lims liv­ing in the US by claim­ing that they want to impose shari­ah here. How­ev­er, that’s just an Ara­bic word for laws inspired by religion–what used to be crit­i­cized here as “leg­is­lat­ing moral­i­ty” before most of the crit­ics start­ed doing it them­selves. The truth is that the US is already dom­i­nat­ed by shari­ah laws, many of which have the full approval and sup­port of the neo-Nazis. Not a sin­gle one of them was inspired by Islam, though–in the US they almost all come from Chris­tian­i­ty and Envi­ron­men­tal­ism. I decid­ed to keep a list of every news sto­ry I saw about a shari­ah law in the US for a mon­th, and here it is:

More about why Feds hate encryption
Mar 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Gov’t acci­den­tal­ly pub­lish­es tar­get of Lavabit probe: It’s Snow­den. In the sum­mer of 2013, secure e-mail ser­vice Lavabit was ordered by a fed­er­al judge to provide real-time e-mail mon­i­tor­ing of one of its users. Rather than com­ply with the order, Lev­i­son shut down his entire com­pa­ny. He said what the gov­ern­ment was seek­ing would have endan­gered the pri­va­cy of all of his 410,000 users.

Lat­er, he did provide the pri­vate key as a lengthy print­out in tiny type.

In court papers relat­ed to the Lavabit con­tro­ver­sy, the tar­get of the inves­ti­ga­tion was redact­ed, but it was wide­ly assumed to be Edward Snow­den. He was known to have used the ser­vice, and the charges again­st the tar­get were espi­onage and theft of gov­ern­ment prop­er­ty, the same charges Snow­den faced. [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

This is anoth­er illus­tra­tion of what the Fed­er­al Baby Incin­er­a­tors are talk­ing about when they demand that encryp­tion be ren­dered worth­less in order to fight “ter­ror­ism.” What they real­ly mean is to spy on polit­i­cal dis­si­dents, along with oth­er Gestapo-worthy goals such as impris­on­ing peo­ple who pre­vent pup­py­cide.

Lucky woman escapes the legal system
Mar 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Jury Acquits Wom­an Arrest­ed for Pro­tect­ing Her Dog From a Cop. [Hit & Run]

There are a few note­wor­thy things in this sto­ry. First, there’s this quote:

…[the cop] “tes­ti­fied that he was not afraid of the dog, but was fol­low­ing train­ing that required him to kill all dogs that approach him, even if it was chained and wag­ging its tail as Bud­dy was doing in this case.”

It’s been obvi­ous for years that this is the case, but I’ve nev­er heard of a cop actu­al­ly admit­ting it in pub­lic before. Then there’s this:

Hupp told PINAC her case hinged on her husband’s video, which they did not have for weeks after the inci­dent because Cook con­fis­cat­ed the phone, which he was unable to access because it was pro­tect­ed by a pass­word.

When the Evil Empire insists that it needs to be able to break into your phone at will in order to con­vict crim­i­nals, this is exact­ly what they mean.

Crimethink must be punished
Feb 29th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Child Faces Crim­i­nal Charges After Using Weapon Emo­jis on Insta­gram. A Vir­ginia 12-year-old faces crim­i­nal harass­ment charges after post­ing an Insta­gram mes­sage that said “meet me in the library Tues­day” fol­lowed by gun, knife, and bomb emo­jis. [Hit & Run]

The charges are a smoke­screen. What this girl is real­ly being per­se­cut­ed for is thought­crime, for using an emo­ji of a gun. They don’t have to actu­al­ly get a con­vic­tion, just send a mes­sage to show the oth­er peas­ants what will hap­pen to them. If they didn’t, peo­ple might esca­late to more seri­ous thoughctrimes like draw­ing pic­tures of guns with their crayons, or even some­thing tru­ly unfor­giv­able like point­ing their fin­gers and say­ing “bang.” By going after one girl, no mat­ter the out­come, they’ve given the oth­er inmates of their gov­ern­ment school a pow­er­ful lesson on why they should “exer­cise [them­selves] in crimestop.”

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