A leading gay activist in England is lobbying to have the legal consent age lowered from 16 to 14 because, and I quote, "if you lower the consent age, there will be less cases of child abuse." Oh. My. Gosh. Can you imagine what would happen if the Catholic Church proposed this change and with this logic.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
RICHMOND (AP) — The Virginia Court of Appeals (PDF) has upheld the use of a GPS device to track a sex offender's movements.
The court unanimously ruled Tuesday that Fairfax County Police did not violate the privacy rights of [name withheld], a registered sex offender, when they attached the device to the bumper of his work van and tracked him as he drove around.
The GPS log put [name withheld] near the scene of a sex crime, which prompted police to follow him in person the next day and arrest him during an attempted assault.
The court rejected [name withheld]'s claim that use of the GPS device amounted to an unconstitutional search and seizure and violated his privacy rights. The judges said there is no expectation of privacy on public streets.
- So basically they can track anybody, anytime they wish? Yes, that is a privacy issue, IMO.
By Claudia Cowan
As they head off to school, a growing number of students are being carefully tracked -- not only by their teachers in class, but by their parents at home.
Family monitoring software is coming out of the woodwork. From communications companies such as Verizon and AT&T to tech giants like Google, software to track children via GPS satellites can keep parents worry free and happy. But are these apps just a natural evolution of modern society, where technology is integrated deep into our lives, or do they take things too far?
Meghan Harvey is a mother of two in Livermore, California, who says it's all about peace of mind. "You just never know," she said. "In the safest of situations, something could happen whether it be a kidnapping, stranger danger, getting hurt or anything like that, and you want to keep track."
- It's called Big Brother, conditioning you to being tracked. Today's society lives in fear, and yet the crime rates have not risen as much as the main stream media and grand standing politicians would have you to believe. Back in the old days, you would see kids out everywhere, playing, roaming miles from home, not anymore.
After putting GPS devices in her kids backpacks, Harvey logs onto Life360, one of a dozen family monitoring services that, for a fee, lets her follow along virtually as her husband walks 7-year old Patrick and 5-year old Cheyenne to school. Harvey can then check in on all of them throughout the day. "It's just making sure they got where they were supposed to be -- end of story."
Hardly, say critics.
Some argue that family tracking apps could create a false sense of security: suppose a child becomes separated from the device that's supposed to be tracking her, for example. And Internet privacy experts caution that if mom can see a map of her kid's whereabouts, so can someone else.
Rebecca Jeschke with the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that before a parent decides to try this technology, they need to ask some hard questions of the company that's offering it.
"They need to know what kind of information is being gathered. How long is it being kept. Who has access to it. When is it going to get deleted," Jeschke cautioned.
Life360 C.E.O Chris Hulls acknowledges the advent of GPS family tracking raises new moral and legal issues, but he argues that tracking kids electronically will soon be the norm.
- All thanks to the sex offender (kidnapping) hysteria spread by the media, politicians, and companies with products to sell, who need you to be afraid.
"It's beyond just saftey," Hulls said. "Every single electronic device is soon going to have a location associated with it, and that brings up a whole host of new products as well as concerns. But it really is a new world, and parents are adopting this technology at a very quick rate."
- Yeah, like it says in the Bible, we'll all be tracked one day, and this is the beginning!
Parents may be adopting the technology. But whether kids like Patrick and Cheyenne will like being tracked as teenagers remains to be seen.
Our comment left on the video:
Why not stop the BS and cut to the chase, put all criminals on a registry. If it's okay for sex offenders, then it's okay for everyone else, even drunk drivers. With DUI offenders, I'm sure half of congress would be on the public registry....
By John Cook
A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the purchase of child pornography online turned up more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department -- including some with the highest available security clearance -- who used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations. But the Pentagon investigated only a handful of the cases, Defense Department records show.
The cases turned up during a 2006 ICE inquiry, called Project Flicker, which targeted overseas processing of child-porn payments. As part of the probe, ICE investigators gained access to the names and credit card information of more than 5,000 Americans who had subscribed to websites offering images of child pornography. Many of those individuals provided military email addresses or physical addresses with Army or fleet ZIP codes when they purchased the subscriptions.
In a related inquiry, the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) cross-checked the ICE list against military databases to come up with a list of Defense employees and contractors who appeared to be guilty of purchasing child pornography. The names included staffers for the secretary of defense, contractors for the ultra-secretive National Security Agency, and a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. But the DCIS opened investigations into only 20 percent of the individuals identified, and succeeded in prosecuting just a handful.
The Boston Globe first reported the Pentagon's role in Project Flicker in July, citing DCIS investigative reports (PDF) showing that at least 30 Defense Department employees were investigated.
But new Project Flicker investigative reports obtained by The Upshot through the Freedom of Information Act, which you can read here, show that DCIS investigators identified 264 Defense employees or contractors who had purchased child pornography online. Astonishingly, nine of those had "Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information" security clearances, meaning they had access to the nation's most sensitive secrets. All told, 76 of the individuals had Secret or higher clearances. But DCIS investigated only 52 of the suspects, and just 10 were ever charged with viewing or purchasing child pornography. Without greater public disclosure of how these cases wound down, it's impossible to know how or whether any of the names listed in the Project Flicker papers came in for additional scrutiny. It's conceivable that some of them were picked up by local law enforcement, but it seems likely that most of the people flagged by the investigation did not have their military careers disrupted in the context of the DCIS inquiry.
Among those charged were Gary Douglass Grant, a captain in the Army Reserves and a judge advocate general, or military prosecutor. After investigators executing a search warrant found child pornography on his computer, he pleaded guilty last year to state charges of possession of obscene matter of a minor in a sexual act in California. Others included contractors for the NSA with Top Secret clearances; one of them -- a former contractor -- fled the country after being indicted and is believed to be in Libya.
But the vast majority of those investigated, including an active-duty lieutenant colonel in the Army and an official in the office of the secretary of defense, were never charged. On top of that, 212 people on ICE's list were never investigated at all.
According to the records, DCIS prioritized the investigations by focusing on people who had security clearances -- since those who have a taste for child pornography can be vulnerable to blackmail and espionage. The documents show that the probe then concentrated on people who had been previously suspected of or convicted of sex crimes, or had access to children as part of their Defense Department duties. But at least some of the people on the Project Flicker list with security clearances were never pursued and could possibly remain on the job: DCIS only investigated 52 people, and 76 of those on the Project Flicker list had clearances.
A DCIS spokesman didn't return phone calls. But the agency's own documents obtained via The Upshot's FOIA request indicate that the decision to press investigations forward hinged largely on questions of the resources available to the investigators. "Due to DCIS headquarters' direction and other DCIS investigative priorities, this investigation is cancelled" is a common summation in the files.
A source familiar with the Project Flicker investigations -- who requested anonymity because public disclosure could jeopardize this person's job -- confirmed that departmental resources, and priorities, were decisive factors in letting inquiries lapse.
DCIS is primarily tasked with rooting out contractor fraud and investigating security breaches; its 400 staffers were already plenty busy before Project Flicker dropped 264 more names onto their caseloads. And child pornography investigations are difficult to prosecute. Many judges wouldn't issue search warrants based on years-old evidence saying the targets subscribed to a kiddie porn website once.
"We were stuck in a situation where we had some great information, but didn't have the resources to run with it," the source told The Upshot. Many of the investigative reports obtained by The Upshot end with a similar citation of scarce resources:
Of course, other federal agencies, including ICE and the FBI, may have prosecuted some of the Project Flicker names the DCIS ignored. But that's unlikely, given that some of the DCIS investigations were closed due to lack of cooperation from ICE.
In one case, involving an Army Reserve corporal in the Pittsburgh area, a DCIS agent expressed exasperation after repeatedly trying to get ICE to collaborate with him on the investigation: "Based upon the complete non-responsiveness of ICE ... it is recommended that [the] matter be closed."
As for the 212 Project Flicker names that DCIS didn't investigate, the source familiar with the investigation said there was no systematic effort to inform their superiors or commanding officers of their suspected purchases of child pornography.