Friday, June 28, 2013

The Truth Shall Keep Us Free by Andrew P. Napolitano --

The Truth Shall Keep Us Free by Andrew P. Napolitano --

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Apple releases information on data requests from NSA, other agencies

LA Times By Jim Puzzanghera June 17, 2013, 6:30 a.m. WASHINGTON -- Apple Inc., said it received 4,000 to 5,000 requests for customer data from U.S. officials during the six months ending in May, as it became the latest high-tech company to provide some details on its involvement in the National Security Agency's Internet surveillance program. The requests involved 9,000 to 10,000 customer accounts or devices, the company said in a statement on its website. Not all the requests involved the NSA's controversial Prism program, which the company said it did not know about until revelations in the news media on June 6. The data requests came from federal, state and local authorities and involved national security matters and criminal investigations, Apple said. "The most common form of request comes from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or hoping to prevent a suicide," the statement said. Apple said some types of data are never provided, including FaceTime conversations and requests made through its Siri voice assistant. On Friday, Facebook said it received 9,000 to 10,000 government data requests in the second half of 2012, involving 18,000 to 19,000 accounts. The company said it complied with 79% of the requests. Apple did not provide a compliance percentage. Apple said its legal team evaluates each request and "from time to time when we see inconsistencies or inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it." When a request for data is fulfilled, Apple said, the company retrieves and delivers "the narrowest possible set of information" in order to protect the privacy of its customers. "We will continue to work hard to strike the right balance between fulfilling our legal responsibilities and protecting our customers’ privacy as they expect and deserve," Apple said. Apple doesn't provide some types of information either because the company doesn't retain it or because it is encrypted, the company said. Customer video calls on FaceTime or text exchanges using iMessage have "end-to-end encryption" and Apple cannot decrypt the data, the company said. Also, Apple said it did not store identifiable data on customer location, map searches or Siri queries. Apple said in April that it records and stores Siri queries for up to two years. At the time, Apple said it kept for six months Siri data that was associated with specific customers. The data were kept for up to 18 months after that, but identifiable information was removed, it said.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Brady Violation Leads to Arrest of Former Texas Prosecutor

Reposted by ROBERT RIVERNIDER Brady Violation Leads to Arrest of Former Texas Prosecutor Prosecutors who have committed Brady violations, even those which have been later demonstrated to have resulted in wrongful convictions and lengthy terms of imprisonment for persons later proven innocent, are rarely prosecuted. Courts tend to find Brady violations inconsequential, prosecutor's offices generally defend or at the least refuse to acknowledge them, disciplinary committees overlook them, and defense lawyers, out of timidity and self-interest, rarely press for sanctions. One notable exception to this general disregard by institutions and the bar is DOJ's commendable effort, at the moment thwarted by a questionable administrative law decision, to sanction prosecutors in the Senator Ted Stevens trial (see here and here). The State of Texas, whose criminal justice system is often disparaged by commentators and defense lawyers, recently took a giant step in holding prosecutors sanctionable for egregious Brady violations. A Texas judge, acting as a court of inquiry, under Texas law, after a hearing ordered the arrest of a current Texas state court judge, Ken Anderson, for contempt and withholding evidence from the court and defense attorneys when Anderson was a District Attorney prosecuting Michael Morton, who was recently demonstrated to be actually innocent for the murder of his wife for which he served 25 years of a life sentence. See here. The inquiry judge, District Judge Louis Sturns, found probable cause to believe that Anderson had concealed two crucial pieces of evidence: a statement by Morton's three-year old son that Morton was not home at the time of the crime and a police report which revealed that an unknown suspicious man had been seen on several occasions stalking the Morton house. For denying to the trial judge that there was exculpatory evidence and for failing to provide a full copy of a police report demanded by the judge, Anderson was charged with tampering with evidence, tampering with a government document, and contempt. The most serious charge, evidence tampering, carries a maximum prison term of ten years, far short of the 25 years Morton served. Criminal prosecution of prosecutors for Brady violations has been to my knowledge totally or almost totally nonexistent. Thirty-five years ago I drafted a proposed New York State statute criminalizing intentional and knowing Brady violations. As expected, the proposal went nowhere. The statute, as I wrote it, had such strict scienter requirements that the crime was virtually unprovable. It was written more to stress to prosecutors the seriousness of such misconduct than to lead to actual prosecutions. The Anderson prosecution, if it occurs, may fill that function. (goldman)