Creepy Big Brother Tech in your iPhone
Your iPhone and that fancy new iPad collect your location tracking data wherever you go and periodically send all the information to Apple, with law enforcement agencies accessing the information whenever they please. And they please a lot: According to one researcher, Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers' (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009." It's not just iPhones, either: "an HTC Android phone determined its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least a few times an hour, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal." I'll try and learn more going forward about how or if this technology is being used in Texas. MORE: From Popular Mechanics, "Should cops be allowed to scan your phone during a traffic stop?"
CCA: Grammarians unwanted among judicial ranks
Mark Bennett at Defending People critiques what he describes as Humpty-Dumptyesque legal reasoning from Judge Barbara Hervey and the Court of Criminal Appeals to uphold a search warrant that the trial court and the appellate court both held invalid. At Liberty and Justice for Y'all, B.W. Barnett blogs on the same case, explaining why, henceforth, Texas judges interpreting police statements in search-warrant affidavits need no longer feel constrained by grammatical rules that might normally guide interpretation of a sentence in other contexts - say, in a sophomore high-school English class.
Psychology and the law
From In the News, Karen Franklin turns us onto a special issue on psychology and law from the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science which includes a number of articles from a who's-who authors list that may interest Grits readers (all pdfs):
- Interviewing cooperative witnesses
- Current issues ad advances in misinformation research
- Eyewitness identifcation
- Outsmarting the Liars: Toward a Cognitive Lie Detection Approach
- Suspect interviews and false confessions
- Current directions in violence risk assessment
In part as a result of my interest in the brain science behind eyewitness identification errors, I've recently been studying optical illusions and learned that I can't see some of them. On Huevos Rancheros I published a rumination on how much of what we see comes from information filled in by our memory, a subject with implications for eyewitness testimony and perhaps other aspects of the criminal justice system.