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August 14, 2008

What Makes Legal Surveillance: Means or Ends? [3:41 pm]

Police Turn to Secret Weapon: GPS Device (pdf)

Across the country, police are using GPS devices to snare thieves, drug dealers, sexual predators and killers, often without a warrant or court order. Privacy advocates said tracking suspects electronically constitutes illegal search and seizure, violating Fourth Amendment rights of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and is another step toward George Orwell’s Big Brother society. Law enforcement officials, when they discuss the issue at all, said GPS is essentially the same as having an officer trail someone, just cheaper and more accurate. Most of the time, as was done in the Foltz case, judges have sided with police.

With the courts’ blessing, and the ever-declining cost of the technology, many analysts believe that police will increasingly rely on GPS as an effective tool in investigations and that the public will hear little about it. [...]

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WTF? [3:35 pm]

Curiouser and curioser: MIT students ordered to release more information on T security flaws (pdf)

A federal judge today ordered three MIT students to release more information on what they know about security flaws in the MBTAs electronic toll collection system.

In a hearing in a lawsuit brought by the MBTA, Jennifer Granick, an attorney for the students, told US District Judge George OToole that the students had already provided the court with the “entire universe of information” the students had developed about the system.

But Ieuan G. Mahoney, an attorney for the MBTA, said, “Theres still a good deal of information out there.”

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