Of course, nothing’s ever really deleted you know,” [the policeman] said. “From anywhere. There’s always an electronic footprint. A record on a computer server somewhere in the world. Imagine that. Every message you ever sent, every website you ever visited, every picture you upload, every post on social media. Everything. The amount of information people are putting out into the public domain about themselves today… It’s unprecedented in human history. It’s all out there, all that data about you, stored forever. It’s just a case of knowing where to look… It’s a gold mine, as far as law enforcement goes.”
– T.M. Logan, in a mystery story entitled Lies.
Modern technology has spawned new devices and new types of data. For law enforcement and defenders, there’s a whole new world of scientific challenges in the digital age. Under Supreme Court precedent, there are serious issues of a reasonable expectation of privacy. Among them:
Prosecutor s are demanding cell site information from service providers, requiring them to turn over data on every device connected to a specific cell site. This can help identify phone’s presence at the scene of a crime
Enhanced 911 tracking
Federal law mandates that all cell phones have the ability to convey their location for emergencies when 9/11 is dialed
The “Stingray” device simulates a cell site and connects the Stingray to law enforcement instead of the cell phone service provider
Third-party online accounts
Most Americans maintain accounts with technology giants like Apple, Facebook, or Google. Content may include online communications, but also detailed data about how, when, and where a user interacts with the service
Modern bank records.
Today, these are far more than canceled check and bank statements; traditionally, there is little expectation of privacy. These are negotiable instruments, and the law is reasonably settled. But modern bank records do not clearly fit in the same pigeonhole
“Smart devices” give ordinary objects wireless connectivity. These devices track a great deal of personal information and are appealing targets for law enforcement
IF YOU HAVE A SENSE OF IRONY. “Tejanos” are proud of the fact that they lived in Texas before it ever became a republic, much less a state. For a while, opponents of Texas statehood insisted that they were not enough Americans living there. Soon, a great number of North American “immigrants” arriving in Texas.
A tongue-in-cheek friend has commented, “why didn’t the tejanos build a wall to keep the Americans out?”
MUST WE HAVE TO LEARN OVER AND OVER? One of our interesting possessions is a little Ft. Bragg pamphlet on battle fatigue, almost 50 years old. It advises leaders how to minimize traumatic stress. What a shame those good lessons about compassionate treatment of warriors with PTSD get forgotten after every war and must be relearned.
IS CONGRESS DUMB? New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell writes in the Washington Post Outlook about what many view as bumbling mistakes in the Congress.
He claims that funding was severely cut by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. Up to one third of the Congressional workforce was cut, with many government think tanks defunded. As result, representatives turned to corporate lobbying organizations to learn the facts. Lobbying expenditures between 1983 and 2013 ballooned from $200 million $3.2 billion.
Today, he claims, Congress spends absolutely nothing on independent assessment of technology issues.
WITCH HUNTS. These days, it is not unusual to hear politicians use the term “witch hunt.” Ricard L. Sjoberg writes of historical witchhunts, noting that:
- About 60,000 Europeans were executed for alleged witchcraft from the 15th to the 18th centuries
- The idea that witches were members of an ancient fertility cult – though floated repeatedly – had been debunked by scholars
- Witchhunts in fact did not rely primarily on testimony of children. To the contrary, most testimony came from adults and was typically provided under torture
VOTED OFF THE ISLAND? Gary Corby’s testing novel, The Pericles Commission is set in ancient Athens at the time democracy was first conceived. One interesting aspect: Each year, the least popular politician was exiled for a decade!
THE SERVICE READING ROOMS. True enough, there is no value as a legal “precedent” between various cases at the service corrections boards. Nevertheless, applicants would do well to find similar cases – perhaps successful – from the following list and pattern their briefs in a similar vein:
https://boards.law.af.mil/ Oct 18, 2018 … Boards of Review Reading Rooms. This is the Department of Defense Electronic Reading Room for the Military Departments Boards for the …
https://boards.law.af.mil/ARMYboards.htm Oct 1, 2018 … Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (BCMR).
https://boards.law.af.mil/NAVYboards.htm Oct 1, 2018 … Navy for Correction of Naval Records ( BCNR)
https://boards.law.af.mil/NAVY_DRB.htm Oct 16, 2018 … Enter Search Term(s):. Naval Discharge Review Board (DRB) …
https://boards.law.af.mil/AF_PDBR.htm Jan 13, 2019 … Air Force Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) …