Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday to search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they're carrying when taken into custody.
Under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, "this loss of privacy allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee's body ... but also to open and examine what they find," the state court said in a 5-2 ruling.
The majority, led by Justice Ming Chin, relied on decisions in the 1970s by the nation's high court upholding searches of cigarette packages and clothing that officers seized during an arrest and examined later without seeking a warrant from a judge.
The dissenting justices said those rulings shouldn't be extended to modern cell phones that can store huge amounts of data.
Monday's decision allows police "to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee's person," said Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, joined in dissent by Justice Carlos Moreno.
They argued that police should obtain a warrant - by convincing a judge that they will probably find incriminating evidence - before searching a cell phone.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/03/BA5N1H3G12.DTL#ixzz1A8Hd7iov
LAURA SLATTERY and DEREK SCALLY
EURO ZONE inflation accelerated faster than expected in December, taking price rises above the European Central Bank (ECB) target for the first time in two years and prompting speculation about when the central bank will need to consider interest rate increases.
Consumer prices in the euro zone rose by 2.2 per cent last month compared to a year earlier, after increasing 1.9 per cent in the year to November, according to the European Union’s statistics office, Eurostat. This is the highest rate since October 2008.
The jump can be explained by an 8.6 per cent surge in the price of crude oil in December, which took the annual rise in crude oil prices above 15 per cent.
There has also been recent upward pressure on food prices.
The ECB, which aims to keep annual consumer price rises at or just below 2 per cent, forecast last month that euro zone inflation would average about 1.8 per cent in 2011 and 1.5 per cent in 2012.
Most economists do not expect the above-target rate of inflation to trigger price stability actions, such as interest rate increases, in the near future.
Analysts reported a calm market reaction to the data, pointing to the continued low core rate, which is the inflation rate stripped of price rises in energy, food and other categories.
“The core rate is still very weak at 1 per cent ahead of new data next week,” said Antje Praefcke, senior FX analyst with Commerzbank in Frankfurt. She sees no dramatic change likely in the coming year as long as the euro zone capacity rate remains low and jobless rates steady.
Obama Is Sending Border Officers from DHS--Which Has Failed to Secure U.S.-Mexico Border--to Help Secure Afghan-Pakistan Border | CNSnews.com
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 10:22 AM on 3rd January 2011
- Technology created 50 rainstorms in Abu Dhabi's Al Ain region last year
For centuries people living in the Middle East have dreamed of turning the sandy desert into land fit for growing crops with fresh water on tap.
Now that holy grail is a step closer after scientists employed by the ruler of Abu Dhabi claim to have generated a series of downpours.
Fifty rainstorms were created last year in the state's eastern Al Ain region using technology designed to control the weather.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1343470/Have-scientists-discovered-create-downpours-desert.html#ixzz1A4x6yY8r
Nudge, nudge, wink wink... How the Government wants to change the way we think - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
Martin Hickman lifts the lid on the secret Whitehall policy unit dreaming up psychological tricks to alter our behaviour
Shame, vanity, laziness and the desire to fit in are all to be used as tools of Government policy by ministers acting on the advice of a new psychology unit in Whitehall.
The first glimpse into the confidential work of the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team came on Tuesday when ministers suggested members of the public should be able to make small charitable donations when using cashpoints and their credit cards.
On Friday, the Cabinet Office again followed the unit's advice in proposing that learner drivers be opted in to an organ donation scheme when they apply for a licence, and also floated the idea of creating a lottery to encourage people to take tests to prove they have quit smoking.
These initiatives are examples of the application of mental techniques which, while seemingly paradoxical to the Coalition's goal of a smaller state, are likely to become a common feature of Government policy.
The public will have "social norms" heavily emphasised to them in an attempt to increase healthy eating, voluntary work and tax gathering. Appeals will be made to "egotism" in a bid to foster individual support for the Big Society, while much greater use will be made of default options to select benevolent outcomes for passive citizens – exemplified by the organ donation scheme.
A clue to the new approach came early in the life of the Coalition Government, in a sentence from its May agreement: "Our Government will be a much smarter one, shunning the bureaucratic levers of the past and finding intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves," it read.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, established the seven-strong unit in July, since when the Government has declined to divulge all its members and the full extent of its work. However, The Independent has learnt its guiding principles and some of the projects that have used its favoured techniques.
One experiment involved Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) secretly changing the wording of tens of thousands of tax letters, leading to the collection of an extra £200m in income tax.
Other ideas tried elsewhere that have been studied by the unit include reducing recidivism by changing public perception of ex-prisoners, and cutting health costs by encouraging relatives to look after family members in "patient hotels".
The unit draws inspiration from the Chicago University professor Richard H Thaler and his colleague Cass Sunstein, whose book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness is required reading for Conservative frontbenchers.
Professor Thaler, who advises the UK team, suggests that instead of forcing people to behave more virtuously through legislation, governments can guide them in the right direction using psychology. Ministers should become, in his jargon, "choice architects", making virtuous choices more attractive than unvirtuous ones. In his books he quotes the example of automatically opting workers into company pensions to raise the amount saved for old age, which will come into force in the UK in 2012 having been enacted by Labour. Another is from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, where flies were etched on to urinals to give men something to aim at, reducing spillages in the gent's toilets.
Mr Cameron embraced nudge theory two years ago in a speech about "Broken Britain", but has subsequently placed more emphasis on his own idea of the Big Society, where individuals and charities play a much greater role ias the state shrinks.
Tax Freedom Day is the day when Britons begin working for themselves rather than the taxman and falls on May 30 in 2011, compared to May 27 this year, the Adam Smith Institute revealed.
The main reason for the three extra days is the rise in Value Added Tax, which increases from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent on January 4.
Tom Clougherty, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, described Britons as being “desperately overtaxed”.
He said: “As well as hitting every household in the country, the VAT hike is going to dent consumer confidence and put a dampener on our economic recovery.”
He added: “The government is right to give priority to cutting spending and plugging the deficit. But as Tax Freedom Day shows, Britons are still desperately overtaxed. The fact that we spend almost five months working for the State – and only seven months working for ourselves and our families – is a shocking indictment of big, wasteful government.”