Power Precedes Politics

It is one of the oldest tenets of modernity: The state must establish a monopoly on violence before civil society can develop and politics can thrive. Read your Hobbes: “And covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.” Or read the Founders, who, in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, argued that rights had to be secured before they could be exercised. Power precedes politics.

via Power Precedes Politics | Washington Free Beacon.

The founders of this nation understood the concept of real, physical power, the evils of a large burdensome government in using that power, and as a consequence the constitution is a set of rules for government not rules for citizens.

This lesson about power, is artfully demonstrated in a scene from Game of Thrones where Petyr Baelish and Cersei Lannister are conversing about a missing girl, and Petyr makes the assertion that knowledge is power…

This is something many seem to confuse.  There are people who believe business is more powerful than the government, because business can buy off politicians. While that’s true, they forget the fact that business wouldn’t even bother buying off the politician if it weren’t for the governments monopoly on power.

4 Things You Need to Know If the Police Try To Search Your Phone

Good advice for if you ever have to deal with the police, irrespective of you’re guilt or innocence.

1. Keep your smartphone locked.

If they ask you to unlock it, you have every right to refuse. And this way, should you be stuck in handcuffs, they won’t be able to pore through your phone even if they wanted to.

2. Calmly repeat the following: “I do not consent to this search.”

Repeating the phrase means there’s no room for any ambiguity. And staying calm means (hopefully) no angry officers.

3. If you’re not under arrest, really don’t consent.

While a warrantless search of your phone when you’re under arrest is illegal, doing so when you’re not under arrest is extra illegal.

4. If the officer still ignores you, whatever you do, don’t get physical in any way.

If you’re at the point where a cop has snatched your phone from you, you’re probably in the middle of being arrested. And in those situations, physically intervening is just about the worst thing you can do. Remember the cop’s name for later, because even if they find anything questionable, the cop can’t use it if it was obtained illegally.

via 4 Things You Need to Know If the Police Try To Search Your Phone.

One last bit of advice; you have the right to remain silent, so do so. Don’t talk to the police at all.

We’ve Allowed A Police State To Grow Around Us

The American Civil Liberties Union has lost in its attempt to get the city of Sarasota, Florida, to hand over city records pertaining to the use of stingrays, or fake cell tower surveillance devices.

As we reported earlier this month, the ACLU asked a Florida court for an emergency motion (PDF) that would require the city to make its stingray records available via a public records request. These devices, which are also known as international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) catchers, can be used to track phones or, in some cases, intercept calls and text messages.

The term “Stingray” is a trademarked product manufactured by a Florida-based company, the Harris Corporation. But it has since come to be used as a generic term, like Xerox or Kleenex. Harris is notoriously secretive about the capabilities of its devices and generally won’t talk to the press about their capabilities or deployments.

Federal authorities frustrated the ACLU’s efforts to learn how the devices are used in Sarasota after the US Marshals Service (USMS) deputized a local police detective. The USMS then physically moved the stack of paper records hundreds of miles away.

via Judge allows US Marshals’ seizure of stingray records, dimisses lawsuit | Ars Technica.

Courts strike back at the police state

In a key transparency case, a federal judge has ordered the United States government to hand over four orders and one opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) published in secret between 2005 and 2008. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers will then review those documents in private.

via Gov’t must give up 5 secret surveillance docs for court to review, judge orders | Ars Technica.

I hope this trend continues.