WP: Why Black Lives Matter activists are siding with Apple in its fight with the FBI

The Washington Post reported on some of the more nuanced problems with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Apple Dilemma. Putting aside the fact that the FBI claims it cannot hack an iPhone, the privacy concerns are paramount, especially among dissenters and protesters:

Black Lives Matter activists are siding with Apple in the company’s legal showdown with the FBI over a phone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters.

“We urge you to consider the dire implications for free speech and civil liberties if the FBI is permitted to force Apple to create technology to serve its investigatory purposes,” a coalition of activists and civil rights organizations wrote in letter to a California court Thursday supporting the tech company. “The FBI’s historically questionable surveillance procedures do not bode well for setting a precedent that allows the agency universal access to private smartphone data.”

Privacy — especially from the spying eyes of the government — is personal for the civil rights community at least in part because of the movement’s history with the FBI.

In the 1950s, the bureau ran an initiative called COINTELPRO. At first, it was aimed at disrupting communist activities, but the program was later expanded to target other domestic groups including the Black Panther Party, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The FBI started spying directly on the civil rights leader in 1963, not long after the March on Washington, according to historian Beverly Gage: It placed wiretaps on the phones in his home and offices, as well as bugging devices in his hotel rooms. That surveillance uncovered evidence of King’s extramarital affairs, which the bureau (unsuccessfully) pitched to the news media.

Perhaps frustrated by the lack of interest in the press, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in November 1964 publicly denounced the civil rights leader as “the most notorious liar in the country” during a news conference. A few days later, one of Hoover’s subordinates sent King a disturbing letter: It was designed to look like it was from a disenchanted supporter, but referenced audio recordings as evidence of King’s infidelity and urged the civil rights leader to kill himself.

The FBI itself now acknowledges the violations of COINTELPRO, noting on its website that the program was “later rightfully criticized by Congress and the American people for abridging first amendment rights and for other reasons.”

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U.S. Spied on 5 American Muslims, a Report Says…

http://www.northjersey.com/news/report-rutgers-university-professor-among-five-muslim-american-leaders-subjected-to-nsa-fbi-email-surveillance-1.1048486

Civil rights leaders claim the alleged surveillance is part of a pattern by law enforcement and intelligence agencies that targets people based on religion or political activity. Recently, the New York Police Department was accused of widespread surveillance on Muslim student groups, businesses and houses of worship as part of counter-terrorism work in New York and New Jersey, including Paterson, Newark and Rutgers University.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/raghead-slur-in-snowden-leak-prompts-white-house-call-for-discrimination-review-20140709

“As the NSA has said, the use of racial or ethnic stereotypes, slurs, or other similar language by employees is both unacceptable and inconsistent with the country’s core values,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “The administration takes all such allegations extremely seriously, and upon learning of this matter, the White House immediately requested that the director of National Intelligence undertake an assessment of Intelligence Community policies, training standards or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations changes or additional reforms.”

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/211676-snowden-leak-nsa-fbi-targeted-prominent-us-muslims

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/us/politics/nsa-snowden-records-glenn-greenwald-first-look.html

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/07/09/under-surveillance/

 

http://www.alternet.org/gender/how-did-fbi-miss-over-1-million-rapes

http://www.alternet.org/gender/how-did-fbi-miss-over-1-million-rapes

Sixty-nine percent of police departments surveyed in 2012 said that dispatchers…often with little training, are authorized to do the initial coding of sexual assault crimes…Yung used murder rates—the statistic with the most reliable measure of accuracy and one that is historically highly correlated with the incidence of rape—as a baseline for his analysis. After nearly two years of work, he estimates conservatively that between 796,213 and 1,145,309 sexual assault cases never made it into national FBI counts during the studied period…The estimates are conservative for two reasons. First, in order to consistently analyze the data over time, Yung looked only at cases defined by the FBI’s pre-2012 definition of rape (one established in 1927): “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” This definition did not include anal or oral rape, cases involving drugging or alcohol, or the rape of boys and men. The Federal Criminal Code was recently broadened to include these categories. Second, the FBI and crime experts estimate that anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of rapes are never reported to the police.

Yung’s analysis, which focused on cities with populations of more than 100,000, found that 22 percent of the 210 studied police departments demonstrated “substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data.”
 
Many of the jurisdictions showing consistent undercounting are also, unsurprisingly, those with rape kit backlogs (there are more than 400,000 untested kits in the United States). Many cities and states don’t even keep accurate track of the number of rape exams or of kits languishing, expired or in storerooms—but when they do, the numbers improve. The arrest rate for sex assault in New York City went from 40 percent to 70 percent after the city successfully processed an estimated 17,000 kits in the early 2000s. However, it is only in the past year, after embarrassing and critical news coverage, that most departments have begun to process backlogs. After being publicly shamed for having abandoned more than 11,000 rape kits, the Michigan State Police began testing them, identifying 100 serial rapists as a result….

While police departments are not immune from these legacies, change is possible. In 1999, the Philadelphia Police Department improperly handled 2,300 out of 2,500 rape cases. As late as 2003, the unit investigating sex crimes was jokingly referred to as “ the lying bitch unit.” In the wake of widespread criticism and protest, the department began a partnership with the Women’s Law Project to improve response to sex crimes, in an approach that subsequently became known as “the Philadelphia Model.” Both Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and WLP executive director Carol Tracy testified at a 2010 Senate hearing that reviewed police handling of sex crimes, and in 2011, Ramsey convened a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) summit. The resulting 2012 report, Improving the Police Response to Sexual Assault, which included research and commentary from multiple jurisdictions and advocacy groups, concluded that while progress is being made, many of the problems that existed in Philadelphia persist in other police jurisdictions…Yung’s report, by the way, is titled “How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis.”