Monday links (7/14/14)

42% of Bostonians are skeptical of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's guilt in the Boston Marathon bombing attacks. ACLU files lawsuit against the federal government after "Joint Terrorism Task Force" officials harass 76-year-old professional photographer for taking pictures of a gas storage tank in Boston.

Report says prison officials are not qualified to run Bridgewater State Hospital and routinely violate the rights of the patients there.

Worcester police chief defends his decision to spend the past seven years trying to ensure a police officer he fired stays fired.

The Sun writes that NEMLEC's funding should be cut off if it contonues to comply with public records requests

Monday links (7/7/14)

Defense attorneys question the appropriateness of the charges brought against several friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. DCF has been failing to comply with the Massachusetts public records law since it became the center of controversy.

Two recent federal court cases limit the detention of immigrants.

Just say no to the Olympics in Boston.

The NSA tracks 10 times as many people as it supposedly "targets."

Monday links (6/23/24)

Friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev says feds detained him and threatened him with deportation after he refused to wear a wire. The secretary of the commonwealth, who is responsible for oversight of the state public records law, failed to respond to a records request for information about his spending in the 10 days required by law, then charged $5,300 in fees.

Interesting public records dispute going on in Billerica.

Protesters defy Boston's ban on smoking in public parks.

Meet the local ex-narc who says it's time to legalize all drugs.

Glenn Greenwald on why privacy is important even if you "have nothing to hide."

Thursday links (6/19/14)

The state is spending $2.6 million on police escorts for trucks carrying sand to Winthrop beach. Is this really necessary?

Attorneys for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are trying to get the trial moved to Washington DC, arguing he can't receive a fair trial in Massachusetts. The judge in the case also ruled that prosecutors can't use Tsarnaev's status as an immigrant as a reason for seeking the death penalty.

Boston police: We don't have any documents on cell phone surveillance guidelines. And if we do, you can't have them.

Justina Pelletier has finally been reunited with her family.

A former regional director for the Department of Transportation was sentenced to probation in a procurement fraud case.

Gun rights activists rally outside the State House in protest of Speaker DeLeo's proposed "gun control" bill.

Soon, Massachusetts will no longer be producing electricity using coal.

Monday links (6/9/14)

The Boston Globe editorializes that the government's prosecution of Khairullozhon Matanov as part of the Boston Marathon bombing case looks "like a vindictive overreach." At least four more Massachusetts doctors involved with medical marijuana have been threatened by the DEA.

Activists occupy a vacant house in Boston and launch a pirate radio broadcast in protest against foreclosures and the lack of affordable housing.

Firefighters and ambulance crews in Tewksbury given anti-overdose medication to save lives.

A New Hampshire woman who was wrongfully arrested for recording police has been given a $57,500 settlement.

A Boston-based Vietnam veteran offers his perspective on the Bowe Bergdahl controversy.

Many of the claims you've probably been hearing about the five Gitmo detainees traded for Bowe Bergdahl are false.

Why did the government send a SWAT team after Khairullozhon Matanov?

Last Friday, Quincy resident Khairullozhon Matanov was arrested at his apartment by a SWAT team and several FBI agents as part of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. According to The Boston Globe:

Matanov was charged with obstruction of justice by destruction, alteration, and falsification of records or documents in a federal investigation, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. He was also charged with three counts of making false statements to agents in a terrorism investigation, each of which carries a punishment of up to eight years in prison.

Matanov, a friend of the Tsarnaevs, is accused of lying to investigators and deleting files from his computer. There are no allegations that he played a role in the bombing.

The government had been conducting aerial surveillance of Matanov since shortly after the bombing and had interviewed him a number of times over the past year before deciding to charge him.

One interesting aspect of this story that hasn't gotten enough attention is the government's decision to conduct a forced-entry raid on Matanov's home when they arrested him. As Kade Crockford of the Privacy SOS blog writes, "The FBI spent considerable resources monitoring Matanov from the sky and physically at his apartment for over a year, but despite officials’ familiarity with him and his home, they sent a SWAT team to break down his door at four in the morning to arrest him."

The crimes Matanov is accused of are all nonviolent. Even if Matanov lied to investigators and deleted relevant information from his computer, it sounds as though he was otherwise cooperative, so what was the point of breaking down his door at 4 A.M. and freaking out his neighbors?

Was it to intimidate Matanov? Or was it a piece of theater to make Matanov seem scarier to the public than he really is?

Monday links (6/2/14)

A man from Quincy is the latest person to be arrested as part of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. The government says Khairullozhon Matanov, a friend of the Tsarnaevs, lied to investigators and deleted files from his computer. So far, he has not been accused of any direct involvement in the bombing. When the Boston police spy on free speech, democracy suffers.

Brockton is trying to force private businesses to install surveillance cameras.

Two representatives from Massachusetts voted against restricting the federal government from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries (it passed anyway).

The NSA is collecting millions of photographs from the internet to develop facial recognition technology.

Friday links (5/23/14)

The government now claims that the Tsarnaevs had help building the bombs used in the Boston Marathon bombing and that the bombs were built outside Tamerlan Tsarnaev's apartment. But that's the exact opposite of what they previously claimed. Yesterday marked one year since the fatal shooting of Ibragim Todashev by the FBI, but we still have more questions than answers.

Man sues the Boston Police Department after they failed to act on his complaint about being falsely arrested for more than a year.

A Fall River police lieutenant who was just arrested for domestic violence is being allowed to retire which means he will be able to collect his full pension. This was his third arrest. The previous two were for drunk driving and public masturbation.

Massachusetts state Senate passes bill to remove licensing requirement for buying pepper spray.

Kade Crockford of the ACLU looks at the new Justice Department policy requiring the FBI to record interrogations and says it's full of loopholes and won't affect the majority of FBI interrogations.

The USA FREEDOM Act, which was supposed to curb NSA surveillance, has been passed by the House, but in watered-down form. Many of the bills original supporters have spoken out against the changes to the bill.