Watercooler 01/12/17; Holy 4th Amendment Guess What The FBI Has Been Up To; It's Science Libs More Likely To Commit Crimes; What's 150% of 0 ?


That Pesky Constitution Keeps Getting In The Way Of Law Enforcement

Turns out the FBI has been paying computer service depots to search your computer when you bring it in to be fixed.


According to court records, Geek Squad technician John “Trey” Westphal, an FBI informant, reported he accidentally located on Rettenmaier’s computer an image of “a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck.” Westphal notified his boss, Justin Meade, also an FBI informant, who alerted colleague Randall Ratliff, another FBI informant at Best Buy, as well as the FBI. Claiming the image met the definition of child pornography and was tied to a series of illicit pictures known as the “Jenny” shots, agent Tracey Riley seized the hard drive.

—Tech Dirt

Now I don’t know how strong the expectation of privacy is at a Best Buy, but I doubt anyone would want to leave sensitive information (your password file, the emails from your bootleg server, etc) on a machine, but it turns out the FBI is operating on a bounty system.

Not necessarily a problem, considering companies performing computer/electronic device repair are legally required to report discovered child porn to law enforcement. The difference here is the paycheck. This Geek Squad member had been paid $500 for digging around in customers’ computers and reporting his findings to the FBI. That changes the motivation from legal obligation to a chance to earn extra cash by digging around in files not essential to the repair work at hand.


So privacy aside, a warrant for this would be nice. It would also be great not to have it done by someone who doesn’t get paid if they don’t find things. Either way the FBI has an obligation not to use tactics or evidence like this that risk getting cases thrown out of court and potentially letting criminals go free.

Scientific Study Shows Liberals More Likely To Commit Crimes

And not just when in office, other kinds of crimes as well.

Political ideology represents an imperfect yet important indicator of a host of personality traits and cognitive preferences. These preferences, in turn, seemingly propel liberals and conservatives towards divergent life-course experiences. Criminal behavior represents one particular domain of conduct where differences rooted in political ideology may exist. Using a national dataset, we test whether and to what extent political ideology is predictive of self-reported criminal behavior. Our results show that self-identified political ideology is mono-tonically related to criminal conduct cross-sectionally and prospectively and that liberals self-report more criminal conduct than do conservatives. We discuss potential causal mechanisms relating political ideology to individual conduct.


From the paper

There is apparent scholarly agreement that conservatives more strongly value social order, respect for authority, and social conformity and that conservatives are more religious, more conscientious, and demonstrate higher levels of self-control. These traits and values likely influence lifestyle choices in ways that better insulate conservatives against criminal behavior. Moreover, conservative narratives about “free will, personal responsibility, and morality may gel into cognitive scripts that condemn criminal conduct as immoral and worthy of social sanctions.


Shocker isn’t it ?

What’s a 150% of not quite nothing ? Venezuela’s new minimum wage

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced on Sunday a 50 percent hike in the minimum wage and pensions, the fifth increase over the last year, to help shield workers from the world’s highest inflation rate.

The measure puts the minimum monthly salary at 40,683 bolivars – about $60 at the weakest exchange level under the state’s currency controls, or $12 at the black market rate.

“To start the year, I have decided to raise salaries and pensions,” he said on his weekly TV and radio program.

“In times of economic war and mafia attacks … we must protect employment and workers’ income,” added Maduro, who has now increased the minimum wage by a cumulative 322 percent since February 2016. –Yahoo News

Hmmmmmm, mmmmmm, he keeps raising the wages in an economy that isn’t producing goods and somehow the money keeps buying less and less. I wonder if something is causing that. Nahhhh it must be yellow dog reactionaries conspiring with international oligarchs out to thwart the righteous ambitions of the peoples of Venezuela. Or, it could just be further proof inflation is indeed a monetary phenomenon, and you can’t force people to pay more than things are worth to them.


Quote of the Day

“My God, this is a hell of a job! I have no trouble with my enemies … but my damn friends, they’re the ones that keep me walking the floor nights.

—Warren G. Harding

Who Said It ?:  Match the quote to the president

This quiz was murder 17/30 was my score, and one of those was a gimme because there was only one president in history dopey enough to have said it.

Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread


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