The Evansville (IN) Police Department has seen a drug bust go up in a cloud of flashbang smoke. A search warrant for drugs and weapons, based on an informant’s tip, was executed perfectly… if you’re the sort of person who believes it takes a dozen heavily-armed officers, a Lenco Bearcat, and two flashbangs to grab a suspect no one felt like arresting when he was outside alone taking out his trash.
The state appeals court decision hinges on the deployment of a flashbang grenade into a room containing a toddler. Fortunately, in this case, the toddler was only frightened, rather than severely burned. But it was this tossed flashbang that ultimately undoes the PD’s case. The evidence is suppressed and the conviction reversed.
Serial litigator was asking for $600,000 damages and still fighting over online sale
JPay, a company that provides digital communications systems to corrections facilities in at least 19 states, is charging inmates and their families an unusual fee to stay in touch: the intellectual property rights to everything sent through its network.
The corrections industry is undergoing a technological renaissance when it comes to inmate communication, with prison contractors offering increasingly sophisticated digital services, such as email and video visitation. These companies promise safer and more efficient alternatives to traditional snail mail and in-person visits, but they come at a high price for prisoners and their families, who may be unaware of the extent of the fees and surcharges until they get the bill.
With JPay, though, there’s an extra charge that won’t show up on any credit card statement: the user’s rights to their letters, pictures, videos, and other forms of creative expression.
As Bloomberg reported, JPay aims to be the “Apple of the U.S. Prison System,” offering an array of digital services to inmates, including video visitation, money transfers, and multimedia tablets that inmates can use to listen to music or read books. The company also offers a telecommunications system that allows inmates to send and receive emails (including “videograms”) from their tablets or from kiosks within corrections facilities.
These services aren’t cheap, of course, but many users won’t realize they are handing over more than money. When an inmate or their family member on the outside uses JPay, they agree to a lengthy Terms of Service contract that contains this buried clause:
You … acknowledge that JPay owns all of the content, including any text, data, information, images, or other material, that you transmit through the Service.
In other words, JPay is leveraging its exclusive access to prisoner communications to claim rights over anything they or their friends and family transmit.
On Thursday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced plans to avoid the state of Indiana for any future company events following the passage of that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination,” Benioff wrote on his personal Twitter account. He then emphasized his “employees’ and customers’ outrage” over the bill and said that he would “dramatically reduce” the company’s investment in Indiana as a result.
Benioff spent much of Thursday posting links to stories about the bill’s passage, most of which referred to its discriminatory aspects and its potential negative impact on Indiana’s LGBTQ community. He also urged technology CEOs to “pay attention to what is happening in Indiana and how it will impact your employees and customers.”