This is even worse than the police union’s take on the incident, which referred to the completely expected backlash as “kneejerk.” But, hey, I guess deciding to tase an 11-year-old in the back — one who reportedly was all of 4’11” and 90 pounds — couldn’t possibly be portrayed as a kneejerk reaction by a law enforcement officer. When force isn’t truly needed, we can be sure some cops will deploy it anyway.
But Rep. John Becker’s take is the hottest take of all. Anyone tased by a cop — even an 11-year-old — is a person who brought that crackling, barbed punishment down on themselves. There’s no reason to question the wisdom or necessity of the Taser deployment. Rather, we should question ourselves. And perhaps society. But mostly ourselves.
Last year we received a well documented report from the former operator of USAWarez.com and USATorrents.com, who accused prison staff of showing pirated films to inmates.
The pirate screenings allegedly took place in Lorain Correctional Institution in Ohio and soon after the news broke the case was referred to the Ohio inspector general.
The inspector general launched an investigation and a back-up of the entire file server was made to search for traces of pirated films. In a report released last week the inspector general concludes that no pirated files were present on the server, although there were some movie traces present.
“The one movie file previously identified was no longer present on the server back-up. However, the analysis identified an additional 23 forensic artifacts of movie files, portions of movie files, or movie trailers that once existed within two other LorCI employee user profiles,” the report reads.
“…it was not possible to determine what the original files within the user profiles were, based on the artifacts found. As such, this information is being referred back to ODRC for any administrative action deemed appropriate.”
The analysis further notes that there’s no evidence that the two correction officers who allegedly showed the pirated movies had unauthorized movie copies (digital or physical) in their possession at the time of the investigation. As a result, no further action will be taken by the inspector general.
In addition to the pirated movies claim, the Ohio inspector general investigated a separate case after a complaint suggested that dozens of staffers of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) shared pirated music files on a work server.
In this case, a technical analysis found that there were indeed hundreds of files made available through the local network. In total, the report names 16 employees who shared between 33 and 463 audio files.
The files in question were stored on the prison’s “JPay” system and were available to anyone with access to the network. According to the inspector general’s report, most staffers didn’t realize that they were breaking the law by doing so.
“The majority of the 16 employees interviewed believed the folder containing the JPay audio files was visible to everyone who had access to the system, and it was permissible to play the audio files it contained,” the report reads.
“Many did not feel this was or might be a violation of copyright laws and noted that had they been aware it was a violation, they would not have accessed the folder and played or copied the files.”
CO Jayme Weber acknowledged copying several audio files after he overheard others talking about a shared folder on the system, but didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong.
“. .. I mean if somebody would have told me it was an issue, I would have deleted all the music and I would have never went into the folder. I mean, I just thought by word of mouth, that it was okay to do,” he said.
The Office of the Ohio Inspector General took the matter very seriously and contacted Homeland Security’s ICE unit to ask if they would pursue the matter.
Since there was no indication that any of the employees shared the copyrighted files to make a profit, ICE decided to let it slide.
“After being briefed of the allegations, investigators were told by the ICE duty officer that based on the allegations, barring any significant changes or evidence of sale-for-profit of the copied audio files, ICE would not pursue charges through the United States Attorney’s Office,” the report reads.
In both cases, the inspector general decided not to take any further steps against the accused employees. Instead, the report ends with a set of recommendations for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t made in the future.
Osmakac was 25 years old on January 7, 2012, when he filmed what the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice would later call a “martyrdom video.” He was also broke and struggling with mental illness.
After recording this video in a rundown Days Inn in Tampa, Florida, Osmakac prepared to deliver what he thought was a car bomb to a popular Irish bar. According to the government, Osmakac was a dangerous, lone-wolf terrorist who would have bombed the Tampa bar, then headed to a local casino where he would have taken hostages, before finally detonating his suicide vest once police arrived.
But if Osmakac was a terrorist, he was only one in his troubled mind and in the minds of ambitious federal agents. The government could not provide any evidence that he had connections to international terrorists. He didn’t have his own weapons. He didn’t even have enough money to replace the dead battery in his beat-up, green 1994 Honda Accord.
Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has arrested dozens of young men like Osmakac in controversial counterterrorism stings. One recent case involved a rudderless 20-year-old in Cincinnati, Ohio, named Christopher Cornell, who conspired with an FBI informant — seeking “favorable treatment” for his own “criminal exposure” — in a harebrained plot to build pipe bombs and attack Capitol Hill. And just last month, on February 25, the FBI arrested and charged two Brooklyn men for plotting, with the aid of a paid informant, to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State. The likelihood that the men would have stepped foot in Syria of their own accord seems low; only after they met the informant, who helped with travel applications and other hurdles, did their planning take shape.
Any regular reader of these pages will be familiar with the term “copyright troll”. These companies have made a business model out of monitoring file-sharing networks for alleged copyright infringements, tracking down alleged offenders and then demanding hard cash to make supposed lawsuits go away.
The practice is widespread in the United States but also takes place in several countries around Europe. Wherever the location, the methods employed are largely the same. ‘Trolls’ approach courts with ‘evidence’ of infringement and demand that ISPs hand over the details of their subscribers so that the copyright holder can demand money from them.
During September 2014, TorrentFreak became aware of a UK court case that had just appeared before the Chancery Division. The title – TCYK LLP v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd – raised eyebrows. From experience we know that TCYK stands for The Company You Keep and is the title of the film of the same name directed and starring Robert Redford, appearing alongside Susan Sarandon and Shia LeBeouf.
While the movie itself is reportedly unremarkable, the response to it being unlawfully made available on file-sharing networks has been significant. In the United States TCYK LLC has filed dozens of copyright infringement lawsuits against Internet subscribers in many states including Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Florida and Minnesota, to name a few. Those interested in their U.S-based activities can read about them extensively on ‘troll’ watching sites DTD and Fight Copyright Trolls.
The big news today, however, is that TCYK LLC is about to start demanding cash from customers of the UK’s second largest ISP, Sky Broadband. TorrentFreak approached Sky back in September for information on the case but after several emails back and forth the trail went cold. We can now reveal what has transpired.