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July 2017
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People-Based Advertising: The SRAX Guide

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The SRAX guide unlocks how to turbo-charge ad targeting strategy through cross-device targeting precision. SRAX, an advertising technology company providing the tools to automate digital marketers and content owners’ campaigns across digital channels, announced the release of a new guide: People-Based Advertising: How to Get Bigger Results by Targeting the Most Precise Audience. SRAX's guide [...]

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jul-2017
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Massachusetts Lawmaker Wants To Make It A Felony To Have Secret Compartments In Your Car

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A Massachusetts lawmaker is looking to give law enforcement another way to bust people and seize vehicles. Modify a vehicle you own in a certain way and you can expect to never see that vehicle again.

Blame it on the war on drugs and pressure from law enforcement lobbying. Stephan Hay, a Democrat state representative for Fitchburg, has introduced a bill that would criminalize operating a vehicle with a hidden compartment designed for the purpose of secretly transporting drugs and related contraband, equipment, currency, or weapons.The bill, H.1266, separately criminalizes the process of altering a vehicle with the intent of creating such hidden compartments. In each case the bill calls for a two-year mandatory minimum sentence, five years for subsequent offenses. The bill also allows police to seize the modified vehicle.
Notably, the bill wouldn't limit "secret compartment" busts to those containing contraband. The presence of an aftermarket "concealed storage space" is enough to trigger an arrest and seizure. The state would have to prove there was intent to use the compartment to store contraband, but the wording in the bill [PDF] flips the burden of proof when it comes to the vehicle itself.
Proof that a conveyance contains a hidden compartment as defined in this section shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance was used intended for use in and for the business of unlawfully manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.
As Reason's Scott Shackford points out, Massachusetts already has the worst forfeiture laws in the nation. This built-in presumption of guilt only makes this worse. Defendants will start out in the hole, asked to prove a negative simply to have a small shot at recovering their seized vehicle. Unknowingly purchase someone's drug-running vehicle? It's as good as gone if the police discover any secret compartments. Seeing as criminal charges would result in something more aligned with due process, it will come as zero surprise if the law is used to seize vehicles but leave prima facie "drug traffickers" otherwise unharmed.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jul-2017
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Freedom Of Information Lawsuit Results In NYPD Agreeing To Follow FOI Law

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If you need any more proof the NYPD hates transparency, you need look no further than Keegan Stephan's victory in a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit:

If you can't see the tweet, it says:
Big win! To settle my lawsuit, NYPD has agreed to comply with critical component of NY Freedom of Information law
This is what we measure success with when it comes to FOIL and the NYPD: a victory is the department AGREEING TO FOLLOW THE LAW.Stephan has been seeking information on the department's use of a sound cannon for crowd control. The NYPD, of course, had no interest in releasing these records. Central to the settlement is the department agreeing to accept FOI requests by email, something it's supposed to have been doing for more than a decade.
The man, Keegan Stephan, said in the suit that the department failed to justify withholding the records he requested and that a “policy and practice” not to accept or respond to Freedom of Information requests by email violated a 2006 provision of New York State law. Mr. Stephan also argued that by not allowing email requests, the police had increased “the time, effort, and expense involved” in obtaining records.
The department's settlement contains no admission of wrongdoing -- something common to government lawsuit settlements. This means it will accept zero responsibility for a decade-long run of FOI statute violations.The "new" email request system will aid more New Yorkers in having their requests ignored by the NYPD. The NYPD's future use of email for FOI responses will ensure requesters are informed of denials in a much speedier fashion. The portal the NYPD is setting up on its website will provide instructions for requesters, as well as information on how to challenge denials and non-responses. If nothing else, the NYPD will be forced to follow the letter of the law a bit more closely, but it will take far more than a steady stream of FOI lawsuits for it to approach the law's spirit.The NYPD has made a opacity a cottage industry. It has been dubbed the least responsive government agency in the US, worse than the CIA, FBI and NSA. It has developed an in-house classification system that allows pretty much anyone to designate almost any document "top secret" for almost any reason, and reached its nadir when it refused to release a copy of its FOIL response guidelines to a FOIL requester.But this is an ugly victory -- one that should subject the department to a steady stream of ridicule. It takes a lawsuit to make a law enforcement agency follow the law. That's just depressing.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jul-2017
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