Law and Disorder Radio – NYPD Chief Bill Bratton, Broken Windows and Stop and Frisk – Secret Meetings Behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership – Reform Measures for Metadata Collection – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

NYPD Chief Bill Bratton – Broken Windows and Stop and Frisk

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced Mr. Bratton’s appointment as the new commissioner of the New York Police Department this month. He lauded Mr. Bratton’s work in Los Angeles, saying he could police fairly while still bringing down crime. After 7 years of Bratton leading the Los Angeles Police Department there’s been an increase in police presence among the homeless in and around Skid Row, plus excessive stops of pedestrians, especially in poorer communities.

Attorney Carol Sobel:

  • Broken Windows is a program that Bratton began in New York with a sociologist that he worked with.
  • It’s basically the theory that if you stop the petty issues, you prevent greater crime.
  • I use that example because in Los Angeles that’s exactly what they started doing – arresting people on Skid Row for littering, and littering could be the ashes that fell off their cigarette.
  • It didn’t reduce crime; it created a statistical reduction.
  • Bratton used to do a radio show called “Ask the Chief” on one of the radio stations in Los Angeles.
  • I sued him early and often on Skid Row in particular.
  • They would stop every black man on the street, or someone they thought was homeless. If they didn’t have a good ID they’d take them to the station.
  • I do think that Bratton was good for the department at that time, and that he changed, from the time that he came until he left.
  • We had one of the biggest police assaults on a peaceful crowd on May 1, 2006.
  • The one thing I think is fair to say about Bratton is that he will take direction, which is one thing he didn’t do before.

Guest – Attorney Carol Sobel is a solo practitioner in Santa Monica, California. Prior to going into private practice, she spent 20 years working in various positions for the ACLU, including as Senior Staff Attorney for the last seven years she was at the ACLU. She has been involved in numerous significant cases in federal and state courts. Carol serves as local counsel for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft and served on the Rampart Blue Ribbon Panel. In 2002 she was named as one of Los Angeles’ Super Lawyers for Civil Rights. Attorney Carol Sobel is a graduate of the Peoples College of Law.

 Wikileaks Reveals Quiet Plans and Secret Meetings Behind Trans-Pacific Partnership

Have you heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership? We mentioned it in an update a couple weeks ago. It’s described as an agreement to enhance trade and investments and promote innovation and economic growth among 12 trans-Pacific countries. Those countries include the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. As negotiations and talks continue among the countries, much of it is done in secret, despite the fact that this international trade treaty that could have far-reaching effects on internet services, copyright law and civil liberties.

George Kohl:

  • The TPP masquerades as a trade deal but it’s really an economic integration agreement which represents 40 percent of the world’s economy between this series of countries that circle the Pacific Ocean.
  • It’s secret negotiations, unlike most negotiations where you would know what the objectives are of this trade deal. What are the objectives our country is seeking? None of that’s available.
  • Congress can’t see what the text is and yet there are 600 corporate lobbyists who get to weigh in and make suggestions.
  • It’s a major economic agreement that governs investment. It governs the rights of companies to sue corporations. It governs environmental regulations in our country.
  • It governs health and safety regulations here. It will impact food labeling, for example.
  • CWA was pushing a bill that said if you talk to a call center, you should know where that person works. You should be able to talk to somebody in the United States and that your information should be protected.
  • A bill like that could be viewed as interfering with trade and the TPP would supplant the ability to implement language like that.
  • The TPP codifies situations that already exist in which companies can sue a country for having environmental protections. Right now there are $14 billion worth of suits where companies are saying, “my right to make a profit was obstructed by these environmental or other kind of regulations.”
  • Why is it that we are open to a trade agreement with Vietnam, which pays 20 cents an hour as a minimum wage, which only drives down our wages?
  • The objective that we have when looking at a trade agreement is, how do we promote collective bargaining? How do we create growth that benefits working people? And that’s not in this picture.
  • We’ve got a government that is supposed to be acting of and by the people and instead our government is acting of and by international corporate interests.
  • All of this is about creating a structure that lets companies maximize profit but really doesn’t deal with people in their daily lives.
  • Where we are at right at this moment is telling Congress that NAFTA didn’t work. There was a promise of 200,000 jobs; we lost 700,000 jobs.
  • Recently we had a Korean trade deal and were promised 70,000 jobs but we lost 40,000 jobs.
  • People need to reach out to their Congressperson now and say, be against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • You have to ask, why is our government acting on behalf of these corporations, why isn’t it acting on our behalf?

Guest – George Kohl, Senior Director at the Communications Workers of America.

 Reform Measures for Metadata Collection, the NSA and EPIC

We take a wide look on recent stories about data mining and privacy, data aggregator corporations, the legal fights to protect personal information and the NSA. Recently a Congressional inquiry revealed how local law enforcement made nearly 10,000 requests last year for what are called “tower dumps.”

Attorney Alan Butler:

I think that the core issues that were identified in the letter from the six companies are important issues. Especially the issue of ending bulk surveillance, of increasing transparency of the intelligence process and of improving oversight.

There are reforms in a number of different areas. We’ve been pushing for transparency of NSA intelligence gathering in the context of criminal investigations for example.

We’ve been pushing on the intelligence and judiciary committees of Congress and the government to provide public accountability for these programs so people can understand how they function.

The bulk collection of metadata–that program needs to end.

There’s a bill in Congress right now proposed by Senator Leahy and Rep Sensenbrenner that would end the bulk collection of telephone records if passed today.

There’s a competing bill introduced by Senator Feinstein and other intelligence committee heads that would enshrine the current bulk collection of telephone records in law.

It’s great to have these companies on board for these reforms, but at the same time we’ve been pushing for a number of years for these companies to do more themselves to protect their users.

Housing this data to begin with creates the opportunity for government surveillance in the first place.

The answer has to be transparency and public oversight of the programs.

The transparency reports that Google and Apple have published have been impressive documents. They’re putting forward the type of data that they collect on users and the type of data that’s turned over to law enforcement.

Location data is uniquely sensitive in terms of telephone records because it reveals where a person is, where they go, their associations, their behaviors, and can also reveal whether they’re in a private place like a home.

EPIC is a public advocacy organization and we really seek to inform the public about current and important privacy issues.

One area of our work is the open government field. We file FOIA requests seeking records on government programs, typically federal agencies. We’re looking at what DHS is doing, what the FBI is doing.

I worked on a case where we were able to get thousands of records from the FBI on cell phone surveillance technology they use called the Stingray.

It’s a technology that can be used to intercept cell phones or content.

I believe that we can build a system where we have oversight mechanisms in place that we can all trust.

Our organization was founded on strong encryption technology in 1990s, when the NSA was trying to establish the “Clipper Chip.”

Guest – Attorney Alan Butler is Appellate Advocacy Counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). He manages the Appellate Docket at EPIC, including the Amicus Program, and authors briefs in significant privacy, civil liberties, and national security law cases. Recent cases include In re EPICUnited States v. JonesClapper v. Amnesty International USA, and Maryland v. King. Mr. Butler focuses on a range of privacy law subjects including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), location privacy, and other digital Fourth Amendment issues.