SCOTUS rules against warrantless cellphone searches in ‘sweeping endorsement of digital privacy’

Today, we bring you a tiny bit of cheer in the generally depressing privacy landscape.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police generally can’t search the contents of a cellphone seized during an arrest, unless they get a warrant.

“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the unanimous decision (PDF) finding that such warrantless cellphone searches violate the Fourth Amendment. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a separate opinion concurring in the judgment.”

SCOTUS rules against warrantless cellphone searches in ‘sweeping endorsement of digital privacy’.

Chris Christie Lying . . . Again

Christie, speaking at the annual conference of the Faith & Freedom Coalition:

Name me the one pro-life Democrat who has ever been able and allowed to speak at a Democratic National Convention since Roe v. Wade. Don’t strain yourself, because there’s never been one. Theirs is the party that’s intolerant …

It’s a flat-out lie, as has been proven in the past. In fact, in the years since Roe v. Wade, Democratic conventions have featured over a dozen anti-abortion speakers.

Chris Christie: Bite me!

Chris Christie Falsely Claims Democrats Barred Anti-Abortion Speakers From Conventions.

Charter schools pay millions to middlemen, while shortchanging education

According to the Daily News, a Brooklyn Charter school squanders $1 millioon per year on rent by paying through a middleman, rather than through the city’s normal channels. Maybe someone will get indicted, someday. But we’ll never see those tax dollars again.

Charter schools paying millions in taxpayer money to middlemen while students suffer – NY Daily News.

Defense Dept. studying protesters to prepare for ‘mass civil breakdown’

Good news, kiddies! Not only are bell bottoms fashionable again, but COINTELPRO is back, too.

This time it’s called the Minerva Initiative and it’s being run by the Department of Defense. They’re using university academics to learn how to manipulate civilian activists, neutralize protesters, and subvert perceived troublemakers.

But there is a silver lining to this thing: we’ll be able to use the techniques developed by the Minerva Initiative to put the tea party out of business.

Defense Dept. studying protesters to prepare for ‘mass civil breakdown’.

See also the Report from Iron Mountain

Rick Perry Compares Being Gay To Being An Alcoholic

When Governor Perry compares homosexuality to alcoholism, all the libs get their knickers in a twist. But your Bitemaster has a different take: I think Perry’s statement means that his views have evolved to the point where he sees homosexuals as no different than the many alcoholics who are, no doubt, among his friends, family, and political associates.

Kudos to the new, enlightened Rick Perry.

Rick Perry Compares Being Gay To Being An Alcoholic.

How Lindsey Graham Stomped the Tea Party but then there’s Eric Cantor

Yesterday morning, Molly Ball of The Atlantic wrote about how Lindsey Graham beat back a Tea Party challenge. Great news . . . I think. But then came the news that Eric Cantor was beaten by political neophyte and Tea Party darling David Brat. Brat’s margin of victory was 56% – 44%.

This does not sound like a Tea Party death knell to those of us here at Biteme HQ.

How Lindsey Graham Stomped the Tea Party – Molly Ball – The Atlantic.

Federal government to expand citizen database; only two conservative Republicans object

On April 16, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted a notice in the Federal Register, detailing a policy shift regarding the kinds of data that would be included in the expansion of the National Mortgage Database.

The proposed expansion would allow the FHFA and the CFPB to see more information than most people can remember about themselves, including your name, current and past addresses, your telephone numbers, your date of birth, race/ethnicity, gender, the languages spoken in your home, your religion, your Social Security number, education records, military status/records, and employment history. Additionally, it would include every detail of your financial history stretching back to 1998, including balances owed, payment history, how much you paid for your house, your debt-to-income ratio and a gaggle of other data points.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee issued a letter proclaiming the expansion, “an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of ordinary Americans.”

Good for them.

A New Government Database Would Know Almost Everything About You – ABC News.

Why is the VA broken? Follow the money.

Your Bitemaster is usually skeptical about claims that Congress is in the pocket of big-money interests. But reporter Ryan Grim has laid out the opposite argument: since there are no deep-pocketed lobbyists looking to lavish campaign cash on members of the Veterans Affairs committees, the committees have become the dumping ground for the youngest and least-effective members of Congress.

Grim’s article, replete with facts and figures, proves:

  • no one wants to get on the VA committees
  • those that get stuck there have little incentive to do any work
  • those few members of the committees who might care to get something done are too junior or marginal to have any clout.

Here’s The Simple Reason Congress Hasn’t Fixed The VA.

Many Governments Listen To Phone Calls Anytime They Want

Vodafone, one of the world’s largest cell phone companies, revealed the scope of government snooping into phone networks in a report that is described as the first of its kind, covering 29 countries in which it directly operates.

The most explosive revelation was that in a small number of countries, authorities require direct access to an operator’s network — bypassing legal niceties like warrants. It did not name the countries.

“In those countries, Vodafone will not receive any form of demand for lawful interception access as the relevant agencies and authorities already have permanent access to customer communications via their own direct link,” the report said.

[adapted from HuffPo]

Many Governments Listen To Phone Calls Anytime They Want: Report.