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September 28, 2012

Reporter tracks stolen iPad to home of TSA security officer

Reporter Tracks Stolen iPad To House Of TSA Officer – The Consumerist
According to the TSA, 381 of its employees have been given the boot since 2003 for theft. There have already been 11 officers fired in 2012 for having sticky fingers. Among them is an Orlando-area man who was caught by ABC News with a pilfered iPad — and then blamed it all on his wife. This particular iPad wasn’t just a random tablet taken at a security checkpoint. It was one of ten left behind by ABC at airports around the country. Nine out of ten of the left-behind iPads were given back to the owners, whose contact information was clearly written on each device’s case. But within two hours of being left at an Orlando International Airport security checkpoint, a tracker on the iPad showed it was on its way to a new home. . . . “I’m so embarrassed,” he explained to ABC. “My wife says she got the iPad and brought it home.” When asked how his wife, who is not a TSA officer, could have “found” the iPad when it had been left at an airport security checkpoint, the man decided the interview was over and shut the door. The TSA says the hundreds of thieving employees represent a “less than one-half of one percent” of TSA officers. . . .

August 09, 2012

Google fined $22.5 million for lying to people, tracking their every move online

The Consumerist -- Google On The Hook For A Record $22.5 Million In Safari Privacy Case
The FTC said that for many months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a particular advertising tracking cookie on Safari users' computers who were visiting sites within Google's DoubleClick advertising network. That way, Google could serve ads based on what users were surfing for. But the funny thing was that Google had already told users they'd be automatically opted out of that tracking because it was supposed to be a default setting in Macs, iPhones and iPads using Safari. Nope! According to the FTC's complaint, Google went around all this by putting a temporary cookie from DoubleClick's domain in the browser, circumventing the default setting. That first little cookie then opened the floodgate for any other DoubleClick cookies, including that pesky advertising tracking cookie Google had said would be blocked from Safari. The earlier privacy settlement that the FTC said Google crossed was from October 2011, which told Google it couldn't misrepresent how much control users have over how their information is collected.

July 21, 2012

As a nation we have traded our mental hospitals for prisons ad imprisoned those who need treatment

Patients, Prisoners, and Mass Shootings | Wired Science | Wired.com
Harcourt isn’t arguing that everyone in prison should be in mental hospitals; the rise in prison population is far more complex than just jailing the unstable. Yet he and many others note that we are imprisoning many people who are mentally ill — essentially because, as a nation, we’re far more enthusiastic about imprisoning people who commit crimes than we are about treating people who are mentally ill. We should not be surprised that there are so many persons with mental illness behind bars today. We deal with perceived deviance differently than we did in the past: instead of getting treatment, persons who are viewed as deviant or dangerous are going to jail rather than mental hospitals. The second is that we should not be surprised that our mental health systems are in crisis today. The infrastructure is simply not there. This is evident in states across the country where persons with mental illness are being housed in jails rather than treatment facilities. He’s not arguing for more institutionalization — but for better treatment. . . .

July 05, 2012

ACLU releases app to help you record your encounters with cops

It also explains exactly what your rights are, vis-a-vis recording said cops. Joe. My. God.: ACLU Issues App To Record Cops
The ACLU of New Jersey has launched a smartphone app that will secretly record your encounters with the police. The ACLU’s Alexander Shalom said the app is easy to use. “There’s really only three buttons that the user needs to deal with,” Shalom said. “There’s a know your rights button that educates the citizen about their rights when encountering police on the street, in a car, in their home or when they’re going to be placed under arrest, and there’s a button to record audio and a button to record video.” The app lets users record audio and video discretely with a stealth mode that hides the fact that the recording is happening. Shalom said officers would also have a harder time deleting the recorded incidents. The app can also send your recording directly to the ACLU.