Here's the sad story of a Chicago woman who got locked up in 2016 because the court system made a mistake about minor marijuana possession charges from 1993.
Eatman was ordered held without bond, which is normally reserved for murderers and major flight risks. She spent another 29 days locked up, missing her son's birthday and Thanksgiving.
It was only when Cara Smith — a chief officer at the Cook County Sheriff's Office — ordered an audit of first-time offenders locked up in their jail that Eatman's case was given a thorough look.
Locking someone up for marijuana possession will hopefully become a thing of the past soon, but the aggressive policing of cigarette sales (using beat cops to ensure vice taxes are being adhered to) and the stunning ease with which the state snatched a woman from her life because of a series of bureaucratic errors and zero accountability from authorities are evidence of the systemic inhumanity experienced by citizens who lack the financial resources to fight back.
Image: Alcatraz Prison Cell by Derek Key/Flickr Read the rest
When a team of "vested up and gunned up" U.S. Marshals in Tennessee apprehended Tracy Hinson and began interrogating her about selling 10 Xanax tablets in 2012, she gave them answers that made it clear they had the wrong woman. The marshal in charge told Hinton he needed to make a call.
"After he went and made a call, he came back and told me that he had to do what the paper said he had to. He asked if I ever lived in Mt. Pleasant, and I said no," said Hinson. "They took me to the Dyer County Jail and I was fully processed there, and that included being shackled and strip searched. They said they were holding me until Lawrence County could come and pick me up that night."
From State Gazette:
Unfortunately for Hinson, officials from Lawrence County didn't arrive until late on Saturday, a full day after being arrested. During the time of being incarcerated, a frightened Hinson said she tried to think of how she was in the predicament, but she simply could come up with nothing.
Once Hinson arrived at the Lawrence County Jail, with a $5,000 bond, her husband Kenny was not far behind and was able to arrange for her to be bonded out of jail at 11:40 p.m. on Saturday night. The cost was $536 for the bail bondsman, something Hinson hopes at the very least to recoup, along with an apology from the law enforcement agency.
The U.S. Marshal's Office in Jackson issued the following statement: "The West Tennessee U.S. Read the rest
A stunning new Snowden leak reveals that the UK spy agency GCHQ harvested images and text from millions of Yahoo video chats, including chats in which one or both of the participants was British or American. Between 3 and 11 percent of the chats they intercepted were sexual in nature, and revealing images of thousands of people were captured and displayed to spies. The programme, called OPTIC NERVE, focused on people whose usernames were similar to those of suspects, and ran from at least 2008 until at least 2010. The leak reveals that GCHQ intended to expand the programme to Xbox 360 Kinect cameras and "fairly normal webcam traffic." The programme was part of a facial recognition research effort that GCHQ compared to "Tom Cruise in Minority Report."
While the documents do not detail efforts as widescale as those against Yahoo users, one presentation discusses with interest the potential and capabilities of the Xbox 360's Kinect camera, saying it generated "fairly normal webcam traffic" and was being evaluated as part of a wider program.
Beyond webcams and consoles, GCHQ and the NSA looked at building more detailed and accurate facial recognition tools, such as iris recognition cameras – "think Tom Cruise in Minority Report", one presentation noted. Read the rest
The ACLU has produced a video based on its Meet Jack. Or, What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data slide presentation from 2013. It's a chilling and sometimes funny look at the way that location data can be used to compromise you in ways large and small. As Josh from the ACLU notes, "It's especially interesting after the news yesterday about the DHS plan for a national license plate location history database (which got scrapped after it was exposed)."
Meet Jack. Or, What The Government Could Do With That Location Data
(Thanks, Josh!) Read the rest
Michael from Muckrock sez, "The problems with various government watch lists, particularly the TSA's, are well known, but a new release of documents shows just how problematic large-scale government tracking can be: A recent FOIA request to the FBI for the files on late Irving Adler, activist, turned up plenty of reading material, but it was about the wrong Irving: An examination of documents showed that the files another Irving Adler, an Army veteran, found himself on the wrong end of intense questioning despite universal assertions that he was a 'loyal and patriotic American." Read the rest