> Bond v. United States, 529 U.S. 334, 337 (2000) (concluding Border Patrol agent searched a bag by squeezing it)
> Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 324–25 (1987) (holding officer searched stereo equipment by moving it so that the officer could view concealed serial numbers).
The idea seems to be that pushing the power button is what constituted a search, not taking a picture of the lock screen. Presumably if the lock screen was somehow already on at that point (which normally it wouldn't be) then it might be fair game to take a picture without a warrant.
That first one is interesting... I once stopped for a load of pumpkin bread before boarding a plane. I put it into my backpack. The tsa agent saw the buldge and started to punch my backpack! I yelled at him to stop and he said he thought it was a water bottle... Yeah, like it is a good idea to punch something you think might be explosive.
I’m pretty sure that most TSA employees forgot why water bottles aren’t allowed a long time ago (if they ever knew), and now are just searching for water bottles directly. That’s the consequence of hard and fast rules — people stop using their brains.
TSA employees are paid for security theatre - not actual security. I don't mean to denigrate these folks too much but ... they're not exactly the kind of people I'd hire to, say, walk my dog. They stand there and pretend they're doing "security" but what they're really doing is bureaucracy and political patronage.
Suppose for a moment we wanted to implement the kind of security that TSA pretends to represent. We'd thus deputize them as part of DoD (or DHS) and they'd carry MP5s and have actual training standards, weight standards, quarterly fitness reports, have to get security clearances etc. etc. They'd do drills at a mock airport, and we'd eventually do away with the "checkpoint" style of security at airports that's really just an invitation for a suicide bomber.
I once saw a TSA employee at LAX insist on putting a kid's balloon from Disneyland, that was clear and 100% see-through, through the X-ray machine. I watched this and, as I suspected, the TSA agent never even considered that because the balloon was filled with helium it of course wouldn't move through the machine on the conveyor belt and it got stuck. "Checkpoint" indefinitely shut down.
I agree with your assessment but I would not be that harsh with the TSA agents.
They are the cogs that need to make the security theatre run. I would bet that the vast majority of them know for a fact that their job is highly useless and only see it as a way to get some money at the end of the month.
What I still don't understand is how did we get here and why is it still going on even though most people would agree that it's a security theatre.
You're literally just describing security theater. Why would they need to carry MP5s? Because that's what you've seen in movies? MP5s are practically antiques at this point. Not every dude operating a bag scanner needs to be armed for the same reason your IT security doesn't need to be armed. They're not THAT KIND of "security".
Why do they need security clearances? For all that Secret-level intel they're getting briefed on? Or because you're under the impression that clearances are "security-ish"?
You want to mitigate "security theater" by making security wildly more dramatic and aimless. Someone needs to do the basic step of checking bags and passengers. That person does not need to be Jason Bourne.
No, I'm describing how a serious country would implement security at its airports.
>Why would they need to carry MP5s? Because that's what you've seen in movies?
The MP5 is a "it just works" close battle weapon that is very popular for urban combat and, speaking from experience, is a weapon that is very balanced and is also gorgeous to look at. The greatest critiques against it probably have to do with the fact it's usually chambered in 9mm. Now, HK makes a bunch or other variants but the 9mm is the most popular.
>Why do they need security clearances?
Because I don't want people who harass me to open my baggage in front of them to have questionable contacts that could otherwise be a means for a would-be terrorist (or other state actors since Cold War II just kicked off) to get a bomb onboard an aircraft.
>You want to mitigate "security theater" by making security wildly more dramatic and aimless.
I want to do away with the security theatre, and replace it with a serious organization that is trained and understands what they're doing.
Although I was very tired when I originally posted this around 2:30 AM, I think my train of thought was that if they got it from outside of the machine in the conveyor belt --> inside of the machine in the conveyor belt --> it's the same mechanism which will get it to pop out of the other end.
But I suppose I was giving too much benefit of the doubt :)
Hey thanks for the answer. I can be too literal, so at the time I wasn't sure if that's what he was implying, or if there was some other special property about helium in a balloon in an X-ray machine that I didn't know of.
That's hilarious. The attacker can exploit the fact that the TSA agent punching the suspicious bag and using him as an detonator. I don't know. Did he suffer a serious brain damage? You're looking for a potentially explosive material and punching it is the best way to test?
From what I'm told my grandfather had fun with the cleaning ladies at the pharmacy he worked in by sprinkling flash powder ingredients on the floor, so that when they swept them up together the mix would go off, making a small poof, scaring the cleaning ladies.
> Judge Coughenour ruled that the police were within their rights to look at the lock screen at the time of Sam’s arrest, as there are circumstances in which a search can be made at the time of an arrest without a warrant.
> Investigators conducting a search later, however, need a warrant, said the judge.
That is not what the judge ruled (though it is what the article said). The judge actually refused to rule on the police search at time of arrest:
> The police’s examination of Mr. Sam’s phone raises different issues because the examination may have been a search incident to arrest or an inventory search—two special circumstances where the Government does not always need a warrant to conduct a search. Unfortunately, the Court cannot decide whether the police needed a warrant because the circumstances surrounding the police’s examination are unclear.
> The Court hereby ORDERS the parties to file supplemental briefing addressing the circumstances surrounding Office Shin’s and the Tulalip Police Department’s alleged examinations of Mr. Sam’s phone. That briefing should also address the relevant legal standard for searches incident to arrest and/or inventory searches.
Most people don't think his revelations warranted his treason. 7 years later, hardly any policy change has been implemented as a result of his leaks. Ideals aside,americans made a choice between freedom and security. He'll be tried for espionage no matter what. Impossible to grant him clemency without taking on the risk of similar leaks like his.
That's not it, I was speaking practically. The American people as a majority contradicted Snowden's opinion. He was loyal to a minority, so one can make the argument that the majority elected legitimate government has every right to consider him a saboteur.
That said,I am very glad he did what he did because I believe the basic expectation of privacy surpasses the people's right to have a government they elected that represents the voice of the majority. Democracy and evem the rule of law itself exists to preserve and enable life and liberty.
On the flip side, the intelligence community would argue a governments primary directive is to ensure the security of it's people, and that triumphs democracy.
In the end a government exists the way it does because the military and the rich are allowing it to. They decide who is right. In this case the military's inaction against the NSA means they don't consider their hostile actions against the people as illegitimate or as a rogue insider threat to the constitution. The rich who own coeporatons also stayed in the US to the large part, which means they are OK with what the NSA has been doing against them and their customers,even if it was illegal. If either elements as a collective rejected the NSA's legitimacy the gov's position with the NSA and Snowden's ability to return safely would be different.
It's a pity for him though that his situation doesn't seem to be negotiable.
The de facto stance of America is that the revelations were not shocking enough to alter the status quo. So post-hoc one could imagine that the exposed NSA could have just been a transparent NSA from the start. But the way the story unfolded, despite not shocking the system deeply, he's still left playing the part of the traitor. He probably did make life more difficult for the NSA though, as I'm pretty sure a lot of people ramped up cybersecurity.
>[M]embers of Congress, journalists and advocacy groups keep repeating the same argument: Mr. Snowden should turn himself in, mount a solid defense and all will be righted at trial.
That’s a fantasy. I served as legal adviser to two high-profile whistleblowers between 2010 and 2013, former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake and former CIA officer John Kiriakou, both charged with espionage. I also witnessed last year’s court-martial of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning), who faced charges of espionage and aiding the enemy. Here’s a run-through, to the extent that I am allowed to offer, of how such a shadowy proceeding would unfold.
Could you elaborate? His revelations were that the government kinda does what it wants despite the law; what is it that is up to me (or any other individual) to right the wrongs of that same government?
Any democratic government is simply a body elected to represent the wishes of the people.
If the government isn't righting its wrongs, it's because you (not necessarily you specifically, but "the people" as a whole) have explicitly put in power the people who are doing the bad things.
This is everybody's fault. Yours included. We all enabled this to happen.
That's the beauty of a democratic system. It clarifies and cuts through to the core of our culture. Americans fear the idea of foreign terrorists more than we fear privacy encroachment, and thus, we were delivered the results of that belief.
The system worked! It represented our wishes perfectly. The problem isn't "them" (the government). It's us.
That may have been true for Americans living two hundred years ago when constituents voted for the people who birthed the two party system, but it certainly isn't today. Gerrymandering of House districts, the limit on the number of Representatives, the nature of the Senate in our bicameral legislature, and the electoral college all guarantee that some votes will count significantly more than others. That's not a democracy, it's a facade that replaced democracy a long time ago (and one could argue was never a democracy to begin with, since many people alive today gained the right to vote in living memory).
There's two options when your government isn't doing what you (read "the people") want them to do:
1) Vote them out
I'm rather a firm believer that option 1 is still on the table and we don't have to resort to likely bloody methods. But in either case it is up to the people in the end. I am not convinced that there's been coalitions formed to actually do #1. I'm not actually convinced most people are upset, even though I think they should be.
Still on us though. Unless we want to see the nation invaded, there really is no one else with standing to address the growing problem.
A class level action is needed. When things reach clearly, can't miss it, can't live with it levels of unacceptable, we may see that happen.
Or, maybe we see just enough placating and theatre to trundle along for decades.
Last time we moved like that, it was the 30's.
People struck the crap out of basically everyone, handing FDR position to go and get the New Deal done. Those strikes and actions were illegal and legal. A whole class in high solidarity acting right out.
His follow on was never seriously discussed and in the decades since, we have seen many moves to prevent a similar scenario from happening again.
What we do not know is whether that history can be repeated.
They are clearly reading Federalist 10 out of context. He clearly says, among other things, there is a mean between to little representation vs to much.
> It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representative too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects.
A democracy doesn't have representation. So while his definition maybe different than what we tend to understand today, neither is he arguing that "republic" is the same as what we mean by "democracy" today.
Didn't realize that it wasn't sourced to him. I still think it's a good quote either way and given my understanding of Franklin from reading his autobiography, I reckon he would agree with it in spirit. He spent much of his life pushing against the British Empire and fighting for liberty.
It's hard for me to read the article you linked and draw any conclusions whatsoever about his motives. The whole article is just a series of vague insinuations hoping the reader is stupid enough and lacking in enough critical thinking skills to see two apparently contradictory facts like "he liked attention but played a lot of video games" and from there jump to the conclusion that he's a villain.
How many citizens outside of people who understand tech actually understand how big of a deal it was? Also, the media hardly covered it and pretty much presented him as a traitor every time they did. What percent of the U.S. population would you guess has heard of the name Edward Snowden?
I think it's worse than that. The things Snowden leaked were simply the details of what I would think most people assumed to be true anyway. Not in a conspiracy theory way, but just an accepted thing. Most people don't really know the difference and supposed limitations of each three letter agency's powers.
Whether that's due to the media's portrail of them in film and TV over the years with their omnipotent powers or just the view that the government is an all seeing entity.
So in most people's view he just leaked the governments methods, not the fact they were doing it (and abusin their power in doing so). Because of this the Government can spin this as him leaking their secret sauce rather than them being in the wrong.
Snowden disclosed programs that were unsavoury to some. But that doesn’t mean they’re illegal (even if only by reason of black letter law technicality). That’s not to mention all the other unrelated classified information. It’s not surprising that he has zero defence under whistleblower laws.
To take advantage of whistleblower laws (or at least, gain public sympathy as one), the criminality you’re uncovering would need to be far, far worse.
See this for one recent decision indicating that the NSA bulk collection program was both constitutional and legal.
The unfortunate reality is that it falls into a legal grey area and has, in fact, been held by certain courts to be legal.
Which comes back to my original point - any whistleblower who wants to exit with a clean slate really needs to be uncovering unambiguously and horrendously illegal activity. “Possibly illegal” PRISM just wasn’t bad enough for Snowden to get the political or legal protection of public sympathy.
As with all questions constitutional law, it is not possible to make such a broad statement .
We are going to end up with some really weird law if we leave all of this up to the supreme court. At this point the dynamic is: congress gives the IC whatever it asks for, and sometimes the supreme court walks them back a little.
We need to get congress to regulate this stuff... pronto.
>> “ We are going to end up with some really weird law if we leave all of this up to the supreme court.“
That’s a pretty bold claim, one which I am not aware of any examples of. High courts of any meaningful definition of such, regardless of country, if truly a legal court with fair rules, generally produce much clearly rules than those create by: general public, elected officials, professional governments employees, interest groups, private parties, etc.
For example, take a few mins, even hours, try drafting what to you would be fair, clear, complete, stand the test of time, etc. — then post it somewhere online, post in to HN, and comment here you have. I’ll review it, post my review online.
Even more fun if you're a foreigner visiting and no constitutional protections apply to you in the first place.
Haven't had my phone searched yet but the last two times I've crossed the border in the Niagara area for short ski trips I've had my car searched, been held for an hour, and a bunch of hostility directed my way.
The fear that the next time around they'll force me to unlock my phone and waltz through my Facebook profile etc. means that even after the border closure and lockdown is lifted, I just won't be coming to your country and spending money there anymore.
I get your point but I'm guessing it's based on assumed context. The headline is implying they assume that everyone just assumes the FBI can do whatever they want to with your phone. But it turns out they can't even look at the unlock screen.
While it is related to common uses of the word "even", the construction would usually be thought of as "not even", a single unit in two words. Other languages express "even" and "not even" differently from each other.
Although I'm favorable to this opinion, I don't treat anything in the 9th circuit as consensus anymore. Especially at federal district courts geographically within them. 2nd and 4th circuit rulings just have so much more weight in the direction of the country. 9th circuit just reminds you how irreconcilable 40% of the country's land mass is with the winning administration.
I don't agree with everything the commenter is saying but they are pointing out that the Western District Court of Washington is a federal district court under the 9th Circuit's jurisdiction, so for this new rule to have significant weight it would need to be affirmed by the 9th Circuit
You're right, it would need to be appealed. The defendant would not appeal, but the government could, and likely will if it views this as a significant burden to police practice. An important thing to note is that federal district court decisions are not binding on other federal district courts (the decisions are persuasive authority, but do not force another judge's hands). Any other judge could decide not to follow this rule. Only if the rule is announced by the 9th circuit would district courts in the 9th circuit have to follow the rule.
My main point is that while this is a promising decision, it is very far from the law of the land. And, as the original commenter pointed out, even if the 9th circuit upholds this ruling, the 9th circuit is only one circuit among many, and is often viewed as the most liberal circuit and not necessarily representative of the federal judiciary as a whole.
Even if this decision is cited as case law in another case (i.e. somebody leverages the precedent) and a judgment is made, that judgment can be appealed arguing that the lower court was wrong in this instance, and then it would be up to the 9th Circuit to decide.
After the 9th Circuit makes their decision, it could still be appealed to the Supreme Court (which I think is the country’s overall direction the root commenter was referring to).
This kind of issue will come up very frequently in court because everyone has a phone, and it’s very easy for a lock screen to contain incriminating notifications. That kind of evidence is often decisive in court, which makes it an attractive/persuasive argument for appeals. Very likely this will end up in Supreme Court, which means decisions in lower courts are less consequential. The lower courts aren’t going to get to decide this one.