“Can Police Retaliate Against Loudmouths? 

Arctic Man is Alaska’s answer to Nevada’s more famous Burning Man. The writer Matt White once described it as “a weeklong booze and fossil-fueled Sledneck Revival bookended around the world’s craziest ski race,” during which “something like 10,000 partiers and their snowmachines disgorge onto Camp Isabel’s 300-acre pad to drink, grill, fight, drink and, at least while the sun is out, blast their sleds through the ear-deep powder in the surrounding hills one last time before it all melts away.”

As one can imagine, Arctic Man revelers sometimes attract the attention of law enforcement. One such meeting led to a casecalled Nieves v. Bartlett that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday, and that may finally resolve the question of whether a citizen can ignore or even talk back to police officers without fear of consequences.
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The Snowden Legacy, part one: What’s changed, really?

Enlarge / Remember this guy? (credit: Pardon Snowden) 

Digital privacy has come a long way since June 2013. In the five years since documents provided by Edward Snowden became the basis for a series of revelations that tore away a veil of secrecy around broad surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency, there have been shifts in both technology and policy that have changed the center of gravity for personal electronic privacy in the United States and around the world. Sadly, not all of the changes have been positive. And Snowden’s true legacy is a lot more complicated than his admirers (or his critics) will admit. Starting with that first article published by the Guardian that revealed a National Security Agency program gathering millions of phone records from Verizon—which gave the agency access to metadata about phone calls placed by or received by everyone in America—the Snowden leaks exposed the inner workings of the NSA’s biggest signals intelligence programs. Coming to light next was the PRISM program, which allowed the NSA, via the FBI, to gain access directly to customer data from nine Internet companies without notifying the customers. And then came Boundless Informant, a tool for visualizing the amount of signals intelligence being collected from each country in the world. By the time the Snowden cache had been largely mined out, hundreds of files—ranging from PowerPoint presentations to dumps of Internal Wikis and Web discussion boards—had been reviewed and revealed by journalists. “Thanks to Snowden’s disclosures, people worldwide were able to engage in an extraordinary and unprecedented debate about government surveillance,” the American Civil Liberties Union declared on the fifth anniversary of the Guardian article. 
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Silk Road’s alleged hitman, “redandwhite,” arrested in Vancouver

Enlarge (credit: Diego Torres Silvestre / Flickr)

Nearly a month ago, Canadian authorities arrested a man they believe to be “redandwhite,” a hitman allegedly hired by Ross Ulbricht. Also known as Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), Ulbricht created the infamous and now-defunct underground drug website, Silk Road. Ulbricht is now serving a double life sentence. Earlier this year, after a federal judge ended Ulbricht’s chances for a new trial, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in his case. The new suspect, James Ellingson, age 42, was released on bail earlier this month by a judge in British Columbia despite American efforts to keep him detained. Separately, Ellingson allegedly made $2 million in profits from selling drugs directly on Silk Road.
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Trio Wins $15M For Wrongful  Convictions

Three men wrongfully imprisoned for more than 20 years have won a $15 million verdict against East Cleveland, a municipality long known as being financially distressed, and where police abuses formed part of the focus for a popular podcast, reports Law.com. 

A federal jury awarded Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover and Eugene Johnson $5 million each on claims that detectives investigating the murder for which they were convicted withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from prosecutors and used improper photo array techniques to identify the three as the prime suspects. In the same suburb, a man won a $22 million verdict in state court in 2016 after police allegedly beat him and locked him in a closet for several days. 
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Criminal justice reform big winner on election day

Setting aside the bluster of soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump, the big winner on election night was criminal justice reform. 

Ballot initiatives focused on softening the impact of crime and punishment were successful in blue states and red states.  In Florida, voters approved Amendment 4, a measure that restores voting rights for people who have completed their sentences after being convicted of a felony, excluding those convicted of murder or certain sex offenses.According to Vox, the Sentencing Project, a non-profit advocacy group, estimated that nearly 1.5 million people in Florida could not vote in the midterm elections because of a conviction — about 9.2 percent of the state’s voting age population.

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EFF Unveils Virtual Reality Tool To Help People Spot Surveillance Devices in Their Communities

Law Enforcement’s Deployment of High-Tech Spying Tools On the Rise. 

San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched a virtual reality (VR) experience on its website today that teaches people how to spot and understand the surveillance technologies police are increasingly using to spy on communities.“We are living in an age of surveillance, where hard-to-spot cameras capture our faces and our license plates, drones in the sky videotape our streets, and police carry mobile biometric devices to scan people’s fingerprints,” said EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass. “We made our ‘Spot the Surveillance’ VR tool to help people recognize these spying technologies around them and understand what their capabilities are.

“Spot the Surveillance, which works best with a VR headset but will also work on standard browsers, places users in a 360-degree street scene in San Francisco. In the scene, a young resident is in an encounter with police. Users are challenged to identify surveillance tools by looking around the scene. The experience takes approximately 10 minutes to… 

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