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October 2019
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Portland Police Review Board Says It's OK For Officers To Lie To Get Someone To Stop Filming Them

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The Portland Police Department's Review Board -- a board composed almost completely of police and government officials -- concluded it's OK for a cop to lie about the law to shut down recordings.Police officers seem to struggle the most when it comes to understanding the rights and protections given to citizens. For years, officers have abused any number of inapplicable laws to arrest citizens who recorded them. When laws and policies were changed in response to court decisions, the abuse of laws continued. The only thing that changed were department policies, which some officers just decided to ignore.This hasn't always worked out well for officers, who often end up in court with their immunity stripped. Those that don't progress as far as the federal court system, however, are left in the hands of local complaint review boards. Even when the board is more independent than Portland's, board recommendations for punishment are often ignored in favor of minimal or no discipline.This case, covered by The Oregonian following the release of Police Review Board records, shows an officer knowingly lied about the law and got away with it.

The bureau’s Police Review Board found Sgt. Erin Smith didn’t knowingly violate the police directive on truthfulness.
Not even with the lying?
The sergeant acknowledged he misrepresented the law to get Kerensa to stop videotaping him during a Nov. 30, 2016, demonstration in front of fuel storage facilities in Northwest Portland over the Dakota Access Pipeline.Smith admitted to falsely telling Kerensa that he didn't have the right to film officers and threatened Kerensa that he could be arrested if he didn’t stop.
So, how does an officer lie without violating a policy directive on "truthfulness?" As it turns out, there are a few convenient exceptions to this directive. First, officers are allowed to use deception for "legitimate law enforcement purposes." But telling someone the law forbade them from filming cops isn't a "legitimate law enforcement purpose."That's the conclusion Portland PD Police Chief Danielle Outlaw (yes, that's her real name) reached. But she said this was more an issue of performance than a truthfulness violation because the officer admitted to lying about the law. Half-credit, I guess. The officer's direct supervisor was even more charitable.
Smith’s supervisor, Traffic Capt. Stephanie Lourenco, found Smith’s deception was permitted under an exception in the policy that says deception is permitted when “necessary to protect the physical safety’’ of an officer.
Lourenco did not explain how a passive recording threatened the officer's safety. The generous application of the deception exception encourages officers to invoke it any time they lie to citizens to get them to comply with unlawful orders. Good times. Thank god the PD is engaged in some form of oversight. Otherwise, we might be subjected to even stupider rationalizations...
[Board members] argued that Smith didn’t knowingly violate the directive and that “deception’’ is an acceptable de-escalation tactic.
Even assuming this was the sort of situation that necessitated a de-escalation, how does lying to people result in calmer interactions? Feeding a line of bullshit to a citizen who knows it's bullshit isn't going to nudge anything towards a more peaceful resolution. Making it a practice to lie to citizens just because you know multiple exceptions allow you to doesn't do anything to improve officers' relationships with the people they serve.Fortunately, this exoneration got a second pass from the city's far more independent Citizen Review Committee, which was thoroughly unimpressed with the PRB's logic. Chief Outlaw agreed to take a second look at the case the PRB had refused to act on. But in the end, lying to citizens about their right to record is only worth about one day's pay. Cops willing to spin the Wheel O' Accountability may find it pays off more often than not, especially when the PRB is willing to make almost any excuse for an officer's bad behavior.

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Oct-2019
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After All That, Sony Unceremoniously Rolls Out PS4 Remote Play To All Android Devices

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Remote play capability for the Playstation 4 has been something of a twisted, never ending saga. One of the most useful features of the gaming console, Sony has jealously guarded the ability to play its flagship console remotely on all kinds of devices. Originally, the only way you could connect to your PS4 was if you bought a Playstation Vita, a product all but abandoned at this point, or a Sony Xperia Android phone, a line of products the public almost universally ignored. When tinkerers on the internet went about making their own remote play apps that would work with Android phones and PCs, Sony worked tirelessly to update the console firmware to break those homebrew apps. Then Sony came out with its own PC remote play app. Subsequently, some months ago, Sony released remote play functionality for iOS devices only. The explanation at the time was that Sony was likely still trying to push Xperia phones, despite the complete lack of traction.And now, unceremoniously via yet another firmware update, Sony has given up the game and enabled remote play for all Android devices.

Fortunately, 7.0 expanded the feature, making it compatible with most Android devices. This means that anyone with an Android-compatible phone in their pocket can play PlayStation 4 games on the go. The new update also coincides with a small quality-of-life patch for iOS remote play, the game streaming app itself having been available since March of this year on the platform.
Now, the post goes on to note that there are some aspects of the remote play app that are janky, some of which weren't issues with the homebrew Android app. But the more frustrating aspect is just how long a walk Sony took in getting here. Again, enabling more remote play functionality for the PS 4 makes the console more valuable. It could have been used as a selling point for the PS4, an already immensely popular device, rather than remote play being used as selling points for the Vita and Xperia phones, which were barely adopted by the public. And what was with the odd steps in enabling all of this? Sony already had a working Android app when it decided to release remote play for iOS first, sitting on the Android version it already had for several months, seemingly for no reason.The source post calls this what it was: a hostage situation.
That said, it’s nice to see Sony finally give up on the remote play first-party hostage situation they’ve kept up for most of the generation. With Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, and Google Stadia all making moves, gaming is once again shifting away from the television, and Sony is smart to make an attempt to capitalize on this trend. This console generation may be swiftly coming to an end, but this may indicate that features of this sort will be available on day one when the PS5 drops next December.
You would really, really hope that Sony wouldn't have to learn this lesson all over again with the Playstation 5. On the other hand, it is Sony.

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