Friday, April 23, 2010

CA - Parents of Chelsea King Speak

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


Facebook flirts with RFID

Original Article

04/22/2010

By Bill Ray

Tracking developers in meat space

Developers attending today's Facebook conference, f8, are being issued with RFID badges integrated with their Facebook profiles for clocking into site locations.

The details come from the All Facebook, which reports that Facebook is being atypically opaque about the data gathered from the radio frequency identification tags. But given the experimental nature of the service that's unsurprising - the point of the conference is to inspire people to create applications, not define their limits.

The tags are short-range, so delegates have to make an active effort to have the tag scanned, but doing so will automatically sign them up to a related Facebook group and record their presence for plotting on a wall-screen in the main hall.

It's not the first time that a conference has had RFID-enabled badges - it’s de rigeur these days - but connecting the identity to a Facebook profile opens up all sorts of opportunities for linking the online network with the real world, and for Facebook to gather yet more information about its users.

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


NY - City attorney advices council not to adopt sex offender residency law

Original Article

04/23/2010

Because State law already regulates the residency of convicted sex offenders, Batavia cannot legally enact its own residency restriction, City Attorney George Van Nest informed the City Council this week.

In a memo included in the agenda package for Monday's City Council meeting, Van Nest said that because State law gives the Division of Parole and Division of Probation the responsibility of establishing residency restrictions, local governments are preempted from establishing their own rules.

The state Constitution specifically prohibits local governments from passing laws that are already covered in New York statues.
- I am willing to bet most other states (like Florida) have the same statutes on the books.

Van Nest cited several cases that have invalidated local laws for sex offender residency, and noted that none of the cases have been heard by an appeals court.

"Based on the foregoing," Van Nest writes in the conclusion, "although passage of a local law may be viewed in isolation to have merit, a comprehensive scheme of New York State statutes already exist in this area and such State legislation will be viewed as a basis to find preemption. In addition, there are significant constitutional challenges that might be brought against a local law adopting residency restrictions. Therefore, in the event the law is passed, enforcement action is taken by the City and a third party challenges the law, it is likely that the City will be forced to expend resources defending a local law that will ultimately be deemed in effective by a reviewing court."


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


WI - Sex Offenders Arrested Following Community Meeting (Arrested simply due to allegations!)

Original Article

04/23/2010

MADISON - Madison police said that information learned during a sex offender community notification meeting led to the arrest of two convicted sex offenders on probation and parole violations.

Police held a meeting Thursday night to provide information to residents about the placement of a sex offender. _____, 30, had moved in with another registered sex offender, _____, 35, at a residence in the 1100 block of Catalpa Circle.

During the meeting citizens voiced their concerns to Madison police and Wisconsin Department of Corrections staff about the two men.

One woman told authorities that _____ been playing basketball with her 14-year old and some other juveniles. Another citizen reported loud music, the sounds of a party and a distinct odor coming from the men's' apartment, according to police.

Police said a probation and parole supervisor was at the meeting, and this information was enough to order the men arrested for violations of their probation or parole.
- Arrested on allegations alone, no proof, just allegations, or at least that is all we are hearing about.

Madison police said they immediately went to the apartment of the registered sex offenders and placed them under arrest Thursday night.
- So, did they actually do anything wrong, or are you just arresting them over allegations?

Authorities said both men were convicted of sexual assaults involving children.

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


DC - SEC porn investigation nets dozens

Original Article

04/23/2010

Dozens of Securities and Exchange Commission staffers used government computers to access and download explicit images and many of the incidents have occurred since the global financial meltdown began, according to a new watchdog investigation.

The SEC inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees, 31 of which occurred in the last two and a half years, according to a summary of the cases requested by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that first surfaced Thursday evening.

Several of employees held senior positions, earning between $99,300 and $222,418 per year, the inspector general's summary said. Three of the incidents occurred this year, ten in 2009, 16 in 2008, two in 2007 and one each in 2006 and 2005.

In one instance, a regional office staff account admitted viewing pornography on his office computer and on his SEC-issued laptop while on official government travel. Another staff account received nearly 1,800 access denials for pornography Web sites in a two-week period and had more than 600 images saved on her laptop’s hard drive, the report said.

A senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington admitted he sometimes spent as much as eight hours viewing pornography from his office computer, according to the report. The attorney’s computer ran out of space for the downloaded images, so he started storing them on CDs and DVDs that he stored in his office.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said it was “nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation's economy to the brink of collapse."

"This stunning report should make everyone question the wisdom of moving forward with plans to give regulators like the SEC even more widespread authority," Issa said in a subtle jab at ongoing financial reform efforts.

Grassley’s decision to release the summary comes as SEC investigators have filed a fraud case against Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. But a spokeswoman cautioned against reading too much into the timing.

"The IG findings that Grassley released underscore the importance of good IG work," said Grassley spokeswoman Jill Kozeny.

The behavior exposed in the watchdog report violates government ethics rules, but illegal pornography access by federal workers is nothing new:

Video Link


Quagmire receives a new job at the SEC

Video Link



"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


UK - Supreme Court rules sex offenders can challenge inclusion on registry

Original Article

04/21/2010

[JURIST] The UK Supreme Court [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Wednesday that the country's sex offender registry [Guardian backgrounder] requirement violates the right to privacy. The case involved an appeal filed by two convicted sex offenders who challenged the notification requirement [legislative materials] of Section 82 of the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which mandates indefinite notification for any individual sentenced to 30 or more months in prison for a sex offense. The trial court ruled that Section 82 of the Act was incompatible with privacy rights guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights [materials]. The Supreme Court considered several issues before affirming that dismissal, including how valuable the notification requirements are for achieving the goal of lower crime, and the extent of harm to that goal if the notification requirements were subject to review. The court considered empirical evidence that, over a 21-year period, 75 percent of sex offenders in the UK were not re-convicted, and that, despite the possibility that a convicted offender may be able to prove he will not re-offend, he or she has no recourse. Lord Phillips, writing for the court, concluded:

I think that it is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offence can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified. As the courts below have observed, it is open to the legislature to impose an appropriately high threshold for review.

As the Court suggested, the UK legislature will have to craft a review process for the notification requirement. It is not clear what will happen to individuals already on the notification register, and any change will be delayed until the upcoming general election [Telegraph backgrounder] has passed.

Wednesday's ruling is the second high-profile result regarding individual rights and sex offenders in the UK in the past week. On Monday, a Pakistani man, currently serving a jail term for a sex offense, won an appeal against deportation [Times Online report] because he has a wife and child in the UK and has lived there legally for 20 years. That ruling resulted in significant public outrage [Lancashire Telegraph report], and the Home Office [official website] has indicated it will appeal the ruling. There are currently more than 24,000 individuals in the UK subject to the registry requirement, and, in the past, the government has had to reduce the sentence [Telegraph report] of some sex offenders because of prison overcrowding [JURIST news archive].


"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin