Posts Tagged Alexis Madrigal

Technology – Alexis Madrigal – If 10 Berkeley Cops Can’t Get the Chief’s Son’s Phone Back, Your Vigilante Recovery Won’t Work Either – The Atlantic


If 10 Berkeley Cops Can’t Get the Chief’s Son’s Phone Back, Your Vigilante Recovery Won’t Work Either 

MAY 22 2012

The iPhone comes with this great little app called “Find My Phone.” Launch it from a computer and the software will use your phone’s built-in communication tools to locate the device on a map. This is great if you’ve simply misplaced your phone. But what if it’s actually been stolen?

Our own Jared Keller discovered the perils of tracking down your phone. He knew roughly where it was — an apartment building in northeast Washington, DC — but had no idea how to get it back. The Washington police were not interested in going door to door in a big apartment building looking for some kid’s phone, and besides nine other cell phones had been stolen on the same night.

The problem isn’t specific to Keller, though. It’s general. If someone or someones are holding a piece of your stolen property, how are you actually going to retrieve it? The situation holds the potential for confrontation, violent or otherwise, and the resolution of the phone tracking isn’t so precise that you can be 100% for sure where the device is.

This is true even if you happen to be the police chief of a mid-size American city like Berkeley, California. The Oakland Tribune reports that Berkeley’s police chief sent 10 police officers to track down his son’s iPhone, after the kid had it jacked from his gym locker at Berkeley High. Civic discussions aside, the real kicker in the story is that even with all those cops swarming around San Pablo and 55th (a couple miles from where I’m sitting), they were not able to locate the phone! So, they had an active tracking signal and 10 cops and still came up empty handed.

The boy alerted his father and Meehan pulled out his own cell phone and showed a property crimes detective sergeant the real time movement of the stolen phone.

Given the active signal of the stolen phone, the detective sergeant took his team to try to locate it. As the signal was moving into the city of Oakland, the detective sergeant called the drug task force to ask for some additional assistance and members of that team offered to help, said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, department spokeswoman..

The four sergeants followed the signal to the area of 55th and San Pablo avenues in North Oakland, where they contacted residents at several homes looking for the phone. It was never located.

If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can’t find an iPhone that’s broadcasting its location, that shouldn’t give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct. Just saying. Consider this a PSA: just buy a new phone.

 Technology – Alexis Madrigal – If 10 Berkeley Cops Can’t Get the Chief’s Son’s Phone Back, Your Vigilante Recovery Won’t Work Either – The Atlantic.

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Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask for Your Facebook Login? – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic


Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask for Your Facebook Login? 

FEB 19 2011

Update 2/22, 5:11pm: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has suspended the practice of asking for Facebook login information for 45 days, according to an email they sent to The Atlantic. See our full story on the development.

The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of a Maryland man who was forced to cough up his Facebook password during a job interview with the Department of Corrections in that state. 

According to an ACLU letter sent to the Maryland Department of Corrections, the organization requires that new applicants and those applying for recertifications give the government “their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks.”

The ACLU calls this policy “a frightening and illegal invasion of privacy” and I can’t say that I disagree. Keep in mind that this isn’t looking at what you’ve posted to a public Twitter account; the government agency here could look through private Facebook messages, which seems a lot like reading through your mail, paper or digital.

While it’s not surprising that some employers might want to snoop in your social media life, it strikes me as a remarkable misapprehension of what Facebook is to think that it should be wholly open for background investigations. Legally, things are probably more complex, but it seems commonsensical that carte blanche access to your communications should be off-limits.

The case also shows a downside to Facebook’s scale. It stands to reason that the bigger they get, the more that employers and others concerned with the age-old enterprise of covering their asses will feel the need to know what their employees are up to on the service. That alone isn’t going to derail the Facebook juggernaut, but it might slow down people’s engagement on the site as they realize maybe a private, unknown e-mail account is a better way of sending sensitive messages.

Here’s the Maryland man, Officer Robert Collins, describing what happened in his specific case:

<embed src=’http://www.aclu.org/swfobject/mediaplayer.swf’ height=’493′ width=’600′ allowscriptaccess=’always’ allowfullscreen=’true’ flashvars=”&bandwidth=5000&dock=false&file=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DbDaX5DTmbfY&image=http%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FbDaX5DTmbfY%2F0.jpg&level=0&plugins=viral-2d”/>Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask for Your Facebook Login? – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

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