Monthly Archives: March 2012

Special Order 1’s Might Could Maybe Standard

Uzma Kolsy, formerly of InFocus News, deconstructs the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Order 1 in Salon today:

SO 1 enables LAPD officers to file Suspicious Activity Reports on observed behaviors or activities. Where things get murky, however, is how SAR guidelines categorize constitutionally protected, non-criminal and commonplace activities such as using binoculars, snapping photographs and taking notes as indicators of terrorism-related activity. The SARs are coupled with the LAPD’s iWatch program, a campaign the police pioneered to encourage regular citizens to report “suspicious” activity, including “a person wearing clothes that are too big or too hot for the weather,” or things that just plain old don’t “look right.”

What does the LAPD’s use of SO1 tell us about the feds’ SARs. Maybe a lot. Kolsy reports SO1 will become the national standard. Problem is,

“…the behavior range of what can be reported is so broad that it just lends itself to discriminatory application,” said Jumana Musa, deputy director of Rights Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington. “When it comes to these innocuous activities, what people are reporting on is not necessarily the activity, but who is doing the activity.” Continue reading

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Microchips on school children

What company is developing these microchips being used to track 20,000 school children in Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil? The AP reports the city spent “$670,000 to design, test and make the microchipped T-shirts.”

The locator chip embedded uniforms are being used on grade school children, presumably because the younger students have not yet figured out how to change out of their school uniform when they skip class.

DOJ’s boilplate responses to your FOIA request

Recently posted, a delightful FOIA request by the delightful people at governmentattic.org, seeking the boilplate paragraphs used by the Department of Justice in responding to FOIA requests and administrative appeals.

The letter responding to this FOIA request was signed by Chief of Staff Carmen L. Mallon, and yes, she appears to have followed the template language in composing her response to governmentattic.org’s request for template language used in response to FOIA requests.

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