During 2013, Exactly Zero MA Wiretaps Resulted In Arrests Or Convictions

by Alex Marthews on July 22, 2014

The official system of electronic wiretaps in the US predates and is separate from the unconstitutional mass surveillance conducted by the NSA and other surveillance agencies. Typically, electronic wiretaps comply fully with the Fourth Amendment by requiring an individualized warrant based on probable cause before the wiretap begins. But it’s still interesting to look at […]

One Ring To Rule Them All: Surveillance and the Massachusetts Governor’s Race

by Alex Marthews on February 5, 2014

While most Massachusetts voters are digging out from a ferocious winter storm, state politics goes on. In particular, ten brave souls are running for this November’s election for Massachusetts governor – five Democrats, two Republicans and three Independents. It seems recently that candidates campaigning against the surveillance state have been getting some traction, probably because […]

MA-05: In their only debate, Clark and Addivinola spar over surveillance

by Alex Marthews on December 9, 2013

Democratic nominee Katherine Clark and Republican nominee Frank Addivinola spent a substantial portion of their only televised debate sparring over privacy and surveillance. It has been great to see these issues playing such an important role in a Congressional campaign. However, there have been two less good outcomes, independent of who wins. First, it’s still […]

Clark Primary Victory May Be Good For Digital Privacy

by Alex Marthews on October 23, 2013

In a seven-way primary with an all-star cast, Sen. Katherine Clark won the nomination for Democratic candidate for the U. S. House in my own district of MA-5, one of the most Democratic districts in the nation (D+22). She now faces Boston resident Frank Addivinola in the general, but it would essentially take a meteor […]

Commonwealth v. Marcus Mitchell: When Can You Use What You Learn From A Wiretap?

by Alex Marthews on September 25, 2013

The second Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case coming down the pike is Commonwealth vs. Marcus Mitchell. This deals with our favorite law here at Digital Fourth, Massachusetts’ electronic wiretapping statute, which forms part of the forbiddingly named Mass. General Laws Chapter 272: CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER. Electronic wiretapping was never intended […]

Mass Judiciary Committee Holds Privacypalooza, Will Report Out Bills By March 2014

by Alex Marthews on July 10, 2013

Yesterday, starting at 1pm and stretching long into the night, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on pending legislation, including on many privacy and surveillance-related bills. Members of the public started lining up more than an hour beforehand, trying to get on the list to testify not just on the […]

#MassWiretap: The AG’s Office Responds

by Alex Marthews on June 19, 2013

After I posted an article giving Digital Fourth’s view on the wiretapping law on Blue Mass Group, Massachusetts’ largest Democratic blog, we got some attention from Mr. Brad Puffer, Director of Communications for the Mass Attorney General’s office. They seem put out. Maybe they didn’t like the lede, “Coakley Channeling the NSA?” The above blog […]

Major Crimes Plunge, But AG’s Office Still Pressing To Wiretap All The Things

by Alex Marthews on April 5, 2013

One Catch-22 of criminal justice reform is that law enforcement will always ask for more powers, whether crime is down or crime is up. If crime is up, they need more powers to deal with criminals who have “gotten the upper hand.” If crime is down, they need more powers to keep it from rising […]

“Time to Get Smart on Crime”: New Report Pans Massachusetts’ Criminal Justice Practices

by Alex Marthews on March 26, 2013

The Boston Globe is publicizing a new report from Community Resources for Justice and MassInc, focusing on Massachusetts’ unexpectedly draconian and wasteful criminal justice policies. We heartily recommend that you read the whole thing, but here are the striking take-aways. We are spending 6% more on incarceration than we are spending on education. Low-level drug […]

Microscope Monday: Massachusetts’ proposed Electronic Privacy Act (S. 796 / HD 1014)

by Alex Marthews on March 25, 2013

Howdy and good morning, lovers of the Internet freedoms! It’s time for another in our “Microscope Mondays” series, where we take a good hard look at pending legislation here in Massachusetts relevant to surveillance. Previously, we’ve covered a praiseworthy effort to restrict the use of drones for law enforcement purposes and Martha Coakley’s should-be-better-known “Let’s […]