EFF: Boston College Campus Police: “Using Prompt Commands” May Be a Sign of Criminal Activity

On Friday, EFF and the law firm of Fish and Richardson filed an emergency motion to quash [pdf]and for the return of seized property on behalf of a Boston College computer science student whose computers, cell phone, and other property were seized as part of an investigation into who sent an e-mail to a school mailing list identifying another student as gay. The problem? Not only is there no indication that any crime was committed, the investigating officer argued that the computer expertise of the student itself supported a finding of probable cause to seize the student’s property.

The warrant application [pdf] cites the following allegedly suspicious behavior:

 

 


 


Should Boston College Linux users be looking over their shoulders?

In his application, the investigating officer asked that he be permitted to seize the student’s computers and other personal effects because they might yield evidence of the crimes of “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” and “Unauthorized access to a computer system.” Aside from the remarkable overreach by campus and state police in trying to paint a student as suspicious in part because he can navigate a non-Windows computer environment, nothing cited in the warrant application could possibly constitute the cited criminal offenses. There are no assertions that a commercial (i.e. for pay) commercial service was defrauded, a necessary element of any “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” allegation. Similarly, the investigating officer doesn’t explain how sending an e-mail to a campus mailing list might constitute “unauthorized access to a computer system.”

During its March 30th search, police seized (among other things) the computer science major’s computers, storage drives, cell phone, iPod Touch, flash drives, digital camera, and Ubuntu Linux CD. None of these items have been returned. He has been suspended from his job pending the investigation. His personal documents and information are in the hands of the state police who continue to examine it without probable cause, searching for evidence to support unsupportable criminal allegations.

Next up? An emergency court hearing as soon as the court will hear us in which we will ask that the search warrant be voided and the student’s property returned. Stay tuned…

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Supreme Court rules police can initiate suspect’s questioning

From Reuters.com (Edits by FactsNews)

Tue May 26, 2009 12:34pm EDT

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that police, under certain circumstances, (which could be ANYTHING) can initiate an interrogation of a suspect without the defendant’s lawyer being present.

By a 5-4 (please, its ALWAYS 5-4) vote, the conservative majority overruled a 23-year-old Supreme Court decision that barred the police from initiating questioning after a defendant asserted the right to an attorney at an arraignment or similar proceeding.

The 1986 decision held that once a defendant invoked the right to counsel, only the suspect, and not the police, can initiate the contact.

The ruling was the latest in a recent string by conservative justices expanding the power of police to question suspects, but it does not change the landmark 1966 ruling barring the police from questioning a suspect who invoked the right to remain silent or have a lawyer present. (This is double speak, they said above that they can question you “under certain circumstances” which is ANYTHING!!!) (So much for the 6th Amendment)

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(Editing by Vicki Allen)

FBI planting spies in U.S. mosques, Muslim groups say

FactsNews – We don’t usually support corporate media, however, this is an important story that needs to be shared…

(CNN) — Ten U.S. Muslim organizations threatened this week to cease working with the FBI, citing “McCarthy-era tactics” by the agency, including efforts to covertly infiltrate California mosques.

Stephen Tidwell, then of the FBI's Los Angeles office, speaks at the Islamic Center of Irvine in 2006.

Stephen Tidwell, then of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, speaks at the Islamic Center of Irvine in 2006.

The groups claim the FBI has sent undercover agents posing as worshippers into mosques, pressured Muslims to become informants, labeled civil rights advocates as criminals and spread misinformation.

The FBI declined to comment on specific allegations but called the proposed move unproductive.

“Limiting honest dialogue, especially when complex issues are on the table, is generally not an effective advocacy strategy,” spokesman John Miller said in a statement. “The FBI has continued our outreach efforts, across the board, with a number of concerned groups and where we agree — or disagree — most have concluded the best results are achieved through continued conversation. We believe that, too.”

The group’s statement, dated Tuesday, said several incidents of the FBI “targeting Muslim Americans lead us to consider suspending ongoing outreach efforts.”

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