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FBI facial recognition program to be fully operational this summer

Ars Technica has the details. The program will include 52 million photos, on top of existing records containing 100 million fingerprints and other forms of biometric data. Much of this data was not collected through any sort of criminal process, and one of the coming changes to the process will run all searches through both the criminal and non-criminal databases.

This raises significant false-positive concerns; previously, if you had applied for a job that required a fingerprint test, for example, they would not subsequently search your fingerprints when they found prints at the scene of a break-in. Now they will, which means a partial or fuzzy match could have severe consequences.

In addition to the obvious (police officers and other government employees), concealed-carry holders in states which require fingerprints as part of the application are probably in this database.

2014-04-15 10:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supreme Court denies cert on NSA telephone surveillance case

Ars Technica has details. As far as I can see, the appeal was filed directly to the Supreme Court from the district court, which ruled against the spying program (but stayed the decision pending appeal). So the next step is for the normal appeals process to hear the case.

2014-04-15 09:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Tribune-Review calls for an IRS special prosecutor

The sooner, the better:

But Justice can't be trusted to investigate this scandal, much less prosecute. And these latest revelations make Attorney General Eric Holder's March refusal to appoint a special prosecutor seem even more damningly self-serving.

Until a special prosecutor uncompromised by Holder's obvious conflict of interest is appointed, the notion that the IRS indeed has something to hide will only be reinforced.

It is already obvious that the Internal Revenue Service has something to hide. The question is, what does Boehner have to gain by refusing to appoint a special prosecutor? What does he have to hide?

2014-04-14 13:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sharyl Attkisson talks about leaving CBS

For those who doubt that there is political bias in the media...

2014-04-14 12:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama lets NSA use zero-day exploits

... although there are a lot of weasel words involved. The new policy Obama has announced is described as a "bias towards disclosure", but with an exception to the policy if there is "a clear national security or law enforcement need". When the people he's talking about work at the National Security Agency, everything they do is going to be considered a national security need, and then add in all the requests from the other intelligence agencies, plus the FBI, plus every federal agency that has a SWAT team (and that's all of them, these days). Even if that exception isn't in play, there is only a "bias" towards disclosure. Not a policy of disclosure in the absence of national security or law enforcement, no... a "bias".

We can also take this announcement to mean that the previous policy was even less friendly.

2014-04-14 12:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Anti-gun group is anti-free-speech, too

It seems that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has been trying to prevent pro-gun speaker Andrew Branca from speaking about self-defense law on college campuses.

We often hear it argued that diminution of 2nd Amendment rights is just the start, that what they really want is to suppress not just the right to keep and bear Arms, but also your political and other speech. CSGV has offered us proof that those concerns are real, that they will not stop with your guns but also will come after your speech.

They know that if there is a real debate, they lose. Therefore, they do everything they can to prevent a real debate.

2014-04-14 11:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz calls for impeaching Holder

Sen. Ted Cruz said Attorney General Eric Holder ought to be impeached if he doesn’t take tough action against former IRS official Lois Lerner, who’s been tied to the agency’s targeting-of-tea-partyers scandal.

While I agree in principle, I see two major problems with this approach. First, just as with Obama himself, the Senate will almost certainly not convict Holder in any impeachment proceeding. It's just barely possible they might choose to throw him under the bus due to election pressure, but remember that the Republicans don't even control the Senate majority and they would need a super-majority. Impeaching Holder will not result in his removal -- or his taking action against Lerner.

The other problem is that Holder has already suggested leaving office in 2014. That would make even a successful impeachment somewhat hollow.

2014-04-14 11:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Jay Carney, White House press secretary, decorates his home with Soviet propaganda

I don't want to suggest he can't decorate his home in whatever way appeals to him. That said, I don't want a man who chooses to decorate his home that way in charge of anything... especially not anything in government.

2014-04-14 10:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The IRS is a criminal organization

Michael Walsh lays out the case at PJMedia, and explains why nothing is going to be done about it.

2014-04-14 10:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government demanding payment of debts without any evidence of debt

The whole thing is Kafkaesque — opaque, oppressive, arbitrary, and sinister in its indifference to making sure the right person pays so long as someone does. After reading the story, it’s not obvious to me what’s stopping Treasury from demanding a payment from every taxpayer whose parents are dead. If the chief witnesses are gone and the feds don’t have to prove that a child actually received any benefits from overpayment, the only “check” on this process is SSA’s willingness to tell the truth about who owes them money and how much. You trust them, don’t you?

They are confiscating tax refunds in order to obtain the payments, without any sort of due process. They don't have any proof of the debt, just a claim that they overpaid benefits sometime in the 1970s to the parents of the people they are trying to collect from.

2014-04-14 09:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The totalitarian argument for global warming

Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Washington Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

"Shut up", the climate scientists explained.

2014-04-11 15:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More government officials accused of gunrunning

Unlike Leland Yee, a supervisor with the Federal Air Marshal's Service was allegedly using his position to obtain discounted or free firearms from Sig Sauer and reselling them to other government officials for personal use. One of the officials is Robert Bray, director of the Federal Air Marshal's Service; he is allegedly retiring for reasons directly related to the investigation.

The reducing prices sounds like either a bribe or a misappropriation of government resources, but the redistribution to other officials for personal use is what the BATFE would usually charge as being in the business of selling firearms without a license.

Remember, this is an administration that demands universal background checks for any firearm transfers. What are the chances any of these transfers came with background checks?

Something else I found interesting:

According to documents obtained by Fox, the director and former deputy director "received several firearms from [the supervisor] that included "special purchases" such as long guns and assault rifles."

The term for a politically-incorrect semi-automatic firearm is "assault weapon". An assault rifle is fully-automatic and only available (if manufactured after the magic date of 1986) to government officials.

Were these officials illegally acquiring and selling machine guns without the appropriate paperwork?

2014-04-11 14:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why is our president worrying about gender disparity in dry cleaning bills?

I figure I can go two routes on this post. I can explain, at length, the economics of pricing in a dry cleaning business, and what factors might lead a such a business to charge more for one type of garment than another, along with another explanation of why those factors don't matter so much as the fact that the business will charge what people are willing to pay them and women are obviously willing to pay the higher prices and that's that.

Or, I can simply ask... given everything else going on in the world, up to and including ongoing Russian invasions of their neighboring regions... why the fuck is the President even aware of gender disparities in dry cleaning prices? It's not like he's driving his suits and Michelle Obama's blouses to the cleaners himself and wondering about the bill.

Obviously, he's aware of it because the "Republican War On Women" meme was effective enough to win the last election, and he's already promised free birth control, free health care, free abortions... what's left but gender equity in dry cleaning?

No, wait, don't answer that.

Please, God, do NOT answer that.

2014-04-11 13:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I knew there was a reason I don't use in-flight wifi

The Commission’s ATG [air-to-ground] rules do not require licensees to implement capabilities to support law enforcement beyond those outlined in CALEA. Nevertheless, GoGo worked with federal agencies to reach agreement regarding a set of additional capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests. GoGo then implemented those functionalities into its system design.

No thanks.

2014-04-11 12:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Heartbleed: If you use anything with openssl, you're exposed

Heartbleed is the name chosen for a major security flaw in openssl, the open-source cryptography library used by damn near everything.

At this point, the probability is close to one that every target has had its private keys extracted by multiple intelligence agencies. The real question is whether or not someone deliberately inserted this bug into OpenSSL, and has had two years of unfettered access to everything. My guess is accident, but I have no proof.

I would bet money it's not an accident.

2014-04-11 12:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obamacare to cover illegal immigrants after all

If there is an application inconsistency, the Marketplace will provide the consumer with eligibility while the inconsistency is being resolved based on the information provided on the application.

An "application inconsistency" occurs when an Obamacare applicant cannot verify his or her citizenship. If it occurs, the applicant will receive subsidized health care until the inconsistency is resolved. Which could be a very, very long time, certainly at least past the elections, because the people at Obamacare are just a little busy trying to make their damned website work for actual citizens.

2014-04-11 11:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lerner referred to DoJ for prosecution

There's a good summary of the situation. I don't expect the Department of Justice to actually charge her, of course, but there is definitely probable cause to believe she committed crimes.

2014-04-11 11:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Prosecution of Dinesh D'Souza comes from biased source

When prosecutors make themselves into political tools, the First Amendment is the victim. In this case, the District Election Officer who charged D'Souza with campaign finance violations has donated to Obama and is a vocal and outspoken liberal in his workplace.

"While there is no doubt that federal employees are entitled to make political donations, DEOs who make decisions on the investigation and prosecution of election crimes should not make such donations," Von Spakovsky said. "Doing so inevitably compromises their credibility and will raise the appearance of bias and a conflict of interest in the eyes of the public."

There is an appearance of bias here, not merely from the individual's contributions and expressed opinions, but also from the disparity of the charges with the facts of the case.

2014-04-11 10:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mark Boughton is Anti-Gun

Mark Boughton has recently disassociated himself from Bloomberg's Illegal Mayors while running for the Republican nomination for governor in Connecticut. But leaving a gun control organization doesn't make you pro-gun, no matter what party label you use.

2014-04-11 10:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another small town buys a tank

Oh, excuse me, did I say "buy"? I meant, got it for free.

Police forces should not have military hardware. When they get it, they cease to be police forces.

2014-04-11 09:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why I don't trust the Justice System

A man was convicted of a murder that took place in New York while he was at Disney World in Florida. The conviction was recently vacated after 25 years behind bars:

Fleming has always maintained he was on a family trip to Disney World in Florida when Rush was shot to death early on the morning of August 15, 1989, in a dispute over stolen money. After years of reviewing documents and re-interviewing witnesses as part of a joint investigation between his attorneys and the Brooklyn district attorney's Conviction Review Unit, it was determined that the only evidence tying him to the crime was an alleged witness who later recanted her statement.

He had a receipt from a phone call proving he was in Florida at the time of the murder in his pocket when he was arrested. He asked for it to present the evidence at trial. The police claimed it didn't exist, even though it was later retrieved from his possessions.

The only witness against him recanted and claimed she was pressured into testifying:

The prosecution also produced a witness who said she saw Fleming commit the crime. According to Koss, the woman recanted her testimony weeks after Fleming's conviction. She later testified in front of a judge that she was on parole and had been arrested with another woman for being in a stolen van the night of the killing. She said police persuaded her to give a statement against Fleming to avoid going back to jail.

If the police and prosecution are willing to coerce testimony from completely unrelated people to obtain convictions against a man who is clearly innocent and has the evidence to prove it, then the system is completely corrupt and cannot be trusted.

That it happened at all is bad enough. That it took 25 years to correct the error when the prosecution witness recanted and claimed police pressure should result in criminal charges for everyone who was involved in pressuring the witness.

2014-04-10 17:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama pivoting back to gun control

Obama and his Department of Justice are requesting over a billion dollars for gun control. The measures include $2 million for smart gun research:

Plus the usual platitudes about background checks, banning assault weapons, limiting magazines to 10 rounds, and so on. They even managed to dredge up an "armor piercing bullet" to complain about (it's not actually anything new).

It seems to me like a lot of those items are legislative issues that require laws, rather than administrative issues that just need a line item in the budget.

Furthermore, "smart guns" are expensive, unreliable, and would almost certainly include a "remote disable" feature... rendering them completely useless to anyone with a government radio transmitter. Including a criminal with a stolen transmitter, or a criminal who happens to be a police officer.

Any firearm with a remote-disable switch violates the 2nd Amendment.

2014-04-10 15:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Adding insult to injury

Following his outrageous conviction for "attempted possession of ammunition", Emily Miller reports on the DC Office of Tax and Revenue engaging in a political fishing expedition for the business and tax records of Mr. Witaschek, It seems that the Tax and Revenue office is just the IRS writ small, and not at all above political harassment of someone who has embarrassed the city's political leaders by exposing their gun control laws as both silly and unjust.

2014-04-10 13:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Jurisdiction is meaningless

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a 21-page memorandum with comments and recommendation to the DOJ. Specifically, the ACLU fears "jurisdictional overreach," which under the new rules would allow a magistrate judge in any district to impose a "remote access search warrant" in any other district. The memo is authored by Nathan Freed Wessler, Chris Soghoian, Alex Abdo, and Rita Cant, who are attorneys and fellows at the ACLU.

The government is seeking to expand remote access warrants, which is pretty much what it sounds like -- a warrant to hack into a computer to which the government does not have physical access.

I suppose they expect us to be grateful that they are even bothering with warrants.

2014-04-10 12:55:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What's good for the goose doesn't sit well with the gander

The LAPD agreed to require its officers to wear microphones while on duty to deter abuse. Now, they are removing the antennas that make the system work. Lots of privacy arguments from the police when they are the ones being watched.

2014-04-10 12:48:33.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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