Archive for the ‘LEGAL COURT POLICE’ Category


Monday, February 7th, 2011

Bikies’ BlackBerrys

beat law

Natalie O’Brien

February 6, 2011


Bikie gangs and organised crime groups are believed to have foiled police attempts to tap their phones by importing untraceable, encrypted BlackBerrys from Mexico.

The telecommunications black hole exploited by the Comanchero gang and drug cartels has come to light after countries around the world – worried about terrorism and national security – threatened to ban BlackBerrys unless they were given the codes to break the encryption on emails and messages.

This website understands that the Comanchero have linked up with a Mexican drug cartel importing cocaine into Australia and are sharing technology.

”There is nothing strange in organised crime having better access to technology than the authorities,” said Michael Kennedy, a former NSW detective and an academic at the University of Western Sydney. ”The bikies are becoming more entrepreneurial and, after all, organised crime is a business enterprise. Crime groups will share technology if it helps them.”

The Comanchero are thought to use the Mexican phones with global roam activated. It costs a great deal of money to constantly use the roaming facility but for criminals, communications that cannot be monitored are priceless.

What makes the BlackBerrys so hard to tap is that Mexico has no reliable register of handsets, mobile numbers or users. Vendors are unregistered and sell the phones and SIM cards for cash, no questions asked. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports Mexico has 83 million mobile phones and government attempts to set up an official registry are failing.

As well, the encrypted BlackBerry messaging service is routed through a server Australian authorities haven’t been able to access.

It is not known how many of the phones are in Australia and in the hands of organised crime groups. But experts agree the criminals will keep the technology among themselves as long as they can.

”The Australian Crime Commission is aware that organised crime networks will continually take opportunities, some real and some imagined, to use new technologies to try to escape the law,” said its chief executive John Lawler.

The Australian Federal Police would not say whether they had seized Mexican phones. But a spokesman said they were working with national and international authorities and industry groups to ensure it was up to speed ”on the challenges posed by criminal networks”.

Last year,  this website revealed that the feared Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel was regularly importing cocaine into Australia. It was also revealed that several men with ties to Mexico, the US and Guatemala had set up a drug distribution network in NSW, which is now understood to have included links to the Comanchero group.

Former NSW Police assistant commissioner Clive Small said the Mexican operators were trying to expand their drug markets in Australia, so would be seeking out new contacts like the bikie gangs to buy their shipments.

Just over a year ago, Clayton Roueche, head of a Canadian drug smuggling ring with Australian connections, was jailed for 30 years. The boss of the drug gang known as the ”United Nations” had been running his empire using a coded BlackBerry telephone. He was eventually caught – not by telephone surveillance but by border security officials in Mexico.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 31st, 2011

‘La-la land’ law:

Call to ban iPods

and phones

while crossing roads

Asher Moses

January 31, 2011 – 12:30PM

Would you stop your iPod to cross the road?

Are people in NSW prepared to put down their iPods, mobile phones and other electronic devices while crossing the road?

NSW Police said it would support laws banning the use of iPods, mobile phones and other electronic devices while crossing the road and while riding bicycles.

It is the latest attempt to improve traffic safety by legislating against technological distraction, but questions have been raised over whether such rules could ever be properly enforced.

In New York, a bill is pending in the transport committee that would ban pedestrians, including joggers, from using gadgets while crossing the street.

Lambs to slaughter ... the image used in the Pedestrian Council of Australia's campaign.Lambs to slaughter … the image used in the Pedestrian Council of Australia’s campaign.

Other states including Oregon, Virginia and California are moving to ban devices such as iPods from being used while riding a bicycle. Culprits would be fined between $US20 and $US100.

Similar legislation has yet to be introduced in Australia but NSW Police said “should legislation such as that described be introduced, it would receive our support and ongoing attention”.

The position is a marked turnaround from the views of NSW Police State Traffic Commander John Hartley, who said in 2007, when the US laws were first talked about, that “you can’t legislate stupidity”.

The reason for the change in position is unclear – national pedestrian road deaths have been falling consistently, from 351 in 1996 to 173 last year. In NSW, there has been a slight rise in pedestrian road deaths from 59 to 64 between 2009 and 2010, the RTA says.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia has been running advertisements showing people with lamb heads using their gadgets while crossing the road at a red light under the banner “Lambs to the slaughter, wait for the green”.

The council’s spokesman, Harold Scruby, said there should be a much stricter legislation and enforcement campaign to complement his awareness campaign. He also said device manufacturers had a “moral and corporate responsibility” to put warnings on their mobiles and music players.

In September last year a 46-year-old Sydney woman from Glebe was knocked down and killed by an ambulance – reportedlywhile wearing headphones – as she crossed Parramatta Road.

“They put you in la-la land, aside from the fact that, if you’re using two buds you’ve lost the stop, look and listen awareness of things around you,” Mr Scruby said.

He also criticised current laws that allowed drivers to operate vehicles and bicycles with an earbud in each ear (“they don’t hear tooting, fire engines, police vehicles, ambulances … “) and said police were generally not enforcing laws governing people crossing roads.

“You step off the footpath against a red light in America and they book you [but] in Australia they don’t touch you – you see cops standing next to people who are walking against the lights,” he said.

Already, Australian motorists face significant fines and three demerit points for driving or riding a vehicle while using a mobile phone, even when stopped at traffic lights. Hands-free kits are allowed but not “if it causes you to lose proper control of your vehicle”, the RTA says.

People with learner or P1 provisional licenses are prohibited from using their phones while driving, with or without a hands-free.

But with drivers now gadget-free, attention is turning to pedestrians and their risk of walking into oncoming traffic while zoning out with their music players or sending texts.

The ability of mobiles to distract people from the outside world was brought home to a global audience this month when a US woman tumbled head first into a shopping centre fountainwhile texting. She later threatened to sue the mall.

The New York senator who has been pushing the new rules for pedestrians, Carl Kruger, said people could not be fully aware of their surroundings while “fiddling with a BlackBerry, dialling a phone number, playing Super Mario Brothers on a Game Boy or listening to music on an iPod”.

He cited a rise in “accidents stemming from pedestrian distraction”, including the death of a 21-year-old man crushed by a Mack truck while listening to music.

In Australia, official figures do not allow one to drill down to see the number of people killed or injured while distracted by their gadgets.

However, according to the Department of Infrastructure, 173 pedestrians were killed on Australian roads last year, down slightly from 195 in 2009.

NSW Police said the community should be mindful that road use – whether as a driver, rider or pedestrian – was a complex task requiring alertness, awareness, compliance with the road rules and good judgment at all times.

“Any distraction from the task of safely using our roads has the potential consequence of reducing road safety and for that reason we encourage all road users to apply their best efforts and full attention to the task at hand when on our roads,” it said.

Spokespeople for the NSW Police and transport ministers directed requests for comment to the office of the Roads Minister, David Borger.

Mr Borger’s office did not immediately respond to questions over whether any legislation similar to that adopted in the US would be introduced in NSW

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Murdoch link

to phone hacking

fallout deepens

Paola Totaro

January 25, 2011

David Cameron ... friendly dinners.
David Cameron … friendly dinners. Photo: Reuters

LONDON: The political fallout from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal has intensified amid claims of a Scotland Yard cover-up and friendly dinners between Downing Street and the Murdoch family.

Despite the resignation of Andy Coulson as Downing Street’s director of communications, the links between the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Rupert Murdoch’s empire have once again been thrown into the spotlight just days before the media tycoon is due to fly to London.

The Independent revealed that James Murdoch, son of Rupert and chairman of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, was a guest at a private dinner with Mr Cameron just days after the Prime Minister stripped the Liberal Democrat business secretary, Vince Cable, of responsibility for the crucial decision on whether News Corp should be allowed to buy the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own.

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Rupert Murdoch ... his son James reportedly had dinner with David Cameron.
Rupert Murdoch … his son James reportedly had dinner with David Cameron. Photo: Reuters

The dinner was held at the home of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, in Churchill, Oxfordshire, and both Mr Cameron and his wife, Samantha, were present.

The highly controversial decision on the takeover was handed to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after Mr Cable was secretly taped telling undercover reporters that he had ”declared war” on Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Coulson’s resignation at the weekend has also renewed interest in police handling of the original investigation into the hacking affair, with claims of a cover-up and calls that the new investigation, announced a few weeks ago by the Crown Prosecution Service, be handed to a different police force or to the Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, criticised the police, saying they had dismissed his calls for a full inquiry, and the former prime minister Gordon Brown has asked police if his phones had been affected when he was chancellor.

A parliamentary inquiry into the row begins to gather evidence this week, but the deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, has demanded a fresh inquiry.

Mr Coulson quit as editor of Mr Murdoch’s News of the World in 2007 after the paper’s royal reporter admitted hacking royal phones.

Although Mr Coulson insisted he had no knowledge of the practice, the scandal has riveted London and been the focus of continuing inquiries by Murdoch media rivals, including The Guardian and The Independent.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, January 21st, 2011

Water fall:

texting woman

who stumbled

into mall fountain

threatens to sue

January 21, 2011 – 1:14PM

Texting woman falls in fountain, sues mall

A woman accidentally fell into a fountain while text messaging and is now suing the shopping centre.

A US woman whose fall into a shopping centre fountain has become a viral video sensation is threatening to sue the mall.

Cathy Cruz Marrero, 49, was texting on her mobile phone when she tumbled head first into a shallow fountain in a mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, this month.

“I saw the water coming at me, I could see the pennies and nickels at the bottom of the fountain and then I was in it,” Marrero told local newspaper the Reading Eagle.

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Oblivious ... Cathy Cruz Marrero texts while she walks towards the fountain.
Oblivious … Cathy Cruz Marrero texts while she walks towards the fountain.

A video of her fall, which was captured on the centre’s CCTV cameras, was posted on YouTube and has since attracted more than 1½ million views. Laughter could be heard on the footage while it was being played.

Marrero, who works at a store in the centre, told US television network ABC’s Good Morning America she had initially laughed at her fall but added that no one had taken her feelings into consideration when they posted the video on the internet.

“It shows in the video. Nobody went to my aid. Not one single person … it could have been anybody’s mother. It could have been a senior citizen falling and would they have gotten the same treatment as I did?” she asked.

Stumble ... Cathy Cruz Marrero walks into the side of the shallow fountain.
Stumble … Cathy Cruz Marrero walks into the side of the shallow fountain.

“I didn’t get an apology, what I got was, ‘At least nobody knows it was you.’ But I knew it was me.”

Marrero’s lawyer, James Polyak, said they suspected someone in the mall’s security office recorded the footage on a mobile phone.

“We intend to hold all responsible parties accountable whether that means requesting or demanding an apology – certainly requesting an explanation for why this happened, how this happened,” he said.

Head first ... Cathy Cruz Marrero falls towards the water.
Head first … Cathy Cruz Marrero falls towards the water.

Marrero, who has convictions for theft from the 1990s, is free on $US7500 ($7600) bail for theft by deception and receiving stolen property charges from 2009, the Eagle reported.

She is due back in court in April and could face six months of house arrest and be forced to wear an electronic tag.

Marrero admitted to Good Morning America‘s host George Stephanopoulos that she did learn a lesson from her fall.

Making a splash ... Cathy Cruz Marrero's leg flails in the air as she goes under the water.
Making a splash … Cathy Cruz Marrero’s leg flails in the air as she goes under the water.

“Do not text and walk,” she said.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Vodafone class action grows to 15,000

Vodafone chief executive Nigel Dews is working at damage control on gathering consumer anger at poor customer service and patchy coverage

Vodafone coverage


in Queensland floods

PUBLISHED : 12 Jan 2011 12:03:19 | UPDATED: 7 hours 25 minutes agoVodafone is the worst-affected mobile carrier so far after its exchange in Coorparoo, south-east Brisbane, was flooded, disrupting services in the city’s central business district and surrounding suburbs yesterday.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Skype could be

designated illegal

in China

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005. REUTERS/Richard Chung

A man uses a Skype internet phone next to a laptop in Taipei November 11, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Chung

By Terril Yue Jones and Jennifer Saba

BEIJING/NEW YORK | Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:16pm EST

BEIJING/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The ever popular Internet telephone service Skype could be dealt a major setback in one of the world’s largest markets as the Chinese government cracks down on what it is calling illegal Internet telephone providers.

A Chinese government circular from the powerful Ministry of Information and Industry Technology called for a crackdown “on illegal VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) telephone services” and said it was collecting evidence for legal cases against them. It did not name any phone companies.

Skype was still available in China on Friday evening through its joint venture partner TOM Online.

Skype had not yet been contacted by Chinese government officials, a Skype spokesman said on Friday in the United States.

The timing of a ban in one of the world’s fastest growing markets could dampen investor enthusiasm for Skype as it prepares a 2011 initial public offering. The Luxembourg-based company, which has around124 million users worldwide, is expected to be valued at about $1 billion in the IPO.

The Chinese state move appeared to be aimed at protecting three government-controlled phone carriers — China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile — that provide the bulk of China’s phone services.

The South China Morning Post quoted an unidentified ministry official on Thursday as saying VoIP services could only be provided by the big three Chinese operators.

China has been known to play hardball with foreign businesses. After a months-long stand-off over censorship, China finally gave Google approval in July to keep operating its Chinese search page.

Skype has 20 million users in Asia Pacific, or 16 percent of the company’s total users as of the end of June, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. The filing did not break out China’s user numbers and a Skype spokesman in the United States said he did not know how many Chinese users it had.

No single one country other than the United States represented more than 7 percent of Skype’s average monthly user, according to the posting.

The latest news is another setback after Skype’s global service outage last week, which cast doubts on the reliability of the service.

In 2005, Skype was blocked in parts of China as the government sought to ban phone calls made using the Internet.

Skype, partly owned by Web retailer eBay Inc, has been growing in popularity among Chinese users and businesses to make cheap or free international phone calls over the Internet.

“Almost 1 in 6 people in the world live in China, and a great many of them rely on Skype to connect with families and friends, run businesses, and call people around the world,” wrote Skype’s Josh Silverman in an October blog post about Chinese privacy regs.

The Chinese notice, dated December 10, did not state what amounted to illegal services and did not name any VoIP providers it considered to be breaking the law.

Representatives of the ministry and the ministry’s office gathering information for the campaign did not answer telephone calls on Friday.

Representatives of China Telecom and China Unicom did not answer phone calls on Friday when approached for comment. A spokeswoman for China Mobile, reached in Beijing, referred calls to the firm’s Hong Kong office. All attempts to reach the Hong Kong office were not successful.

VoIP calls allow users to make international calls for much less than commercial providers, or even for free if both parties are using VoIP. Many businesses that use VoIP services in cutting down on their international telephone costs could lose out on access to the cheaper alternative.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Microsoft co-founder


tech patent suit

General view of Microsoft Corporation new headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris October 6, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

General view of Microsoft Corporation new headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris October 6, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

By Bill Rigby

SEATTLE | Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:44am EST

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen relaunched a wide-ranging patent lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his company.

Interval Licensing LLC, a small research company set up by Allen in 1992, originally filed a broad patent suit in federal court in Seattle in August, but Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed it on the grounds that it did not specify any actual products or devices. The revised suit was filed by Interval on Tuesday.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, claims Interval was central to research and development of technology in the Internet arena in the 1990s, amassing more than 300 patents and providing research assistance to Google.

In the suit, Allen’s company claims four of its patents — chiefly related to the way Web data is sorted and presented — have been infringed by a number of successful companies.


The first patent concerns the generation of data related to information being browsed. Interval claims Google uses this technology to match advertisements from third parties to content being displayed, while AOL’s sites use it to suggest items related to news stories.

Interval claims Apple’s iTunes service uses the technology to suggest music based on a user’s searches, and that eBay Inc, Facebook, Netflix, Yahoo Inc and Office Depot’s sites have also infringed the patent in the way they direct users to related content.

The second and third patents concern relaying information on a computer screen in a peripheral, unobtrusive manner, such as in an instant messaging box or overlay.

Interval claims its patent has been infringed by features in AOL’s Instant Messenger, Apple’s Dashboard, Google Talk and Gmail Notifier, Google’s Android phone system and Yahoo Widgets.

The fourth patent concerns alerting Web browsers to new items of interest based on activity of other users. Interval claims AOL uses this technology on its shopping sites, while Apple’s iTunes uses it to recommend music.

Interval claims eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, Staples Inc, Yahoo and Google’s YouTube all have infringed the patent in the way they suggest content to users.


The suit makes no mention of Microsoft as a patent holder or infringer, even though Allen’s former company offers products similar to some described in the suit. A spokesman for Allen declined to comment on the suit.

Allen, 57, is the world’s 37th richest person, according to Forbes magazine. He resigned as a Microsoft executive in 1983. Since then, he has funded scientific and medical research through his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and invested in many projects in his native Seattle and Pacific Northwest region.

Interval has asked the court for damages and a ban on products that use the disputed patents. It is unclear how seriously the court, or the companies he has targeted, will take Allen’s legal charges.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Apple sued over

iPhone and iPad apps

that snoop on users

December 28, 2010 – 9:18AM
Apple CEO Steve Jobs poses with the new iPhone 4 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.The iPhone 4’s killer apps come at a price. Photo: Reuters

Apple is being sued sued over claims that applications for the company’s iPhone and iPad transmit users’ personal information to advertising networks without customers’ consent.

The complaint, which seeks class action, or group, status, was filed on December 23 in federal court in San Jose, California. The suit claims Cupertino, California-based Apple’s iPhones and iPads are encoded with identifying devices that allow advertising networks to track what applications users download, how frequently they’re used and for how long.

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“Some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users’ location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views,” according to the suit.

The suit, filed on behalf of Jonathan Lalo of Los Angeles County, identifies applications such as Pandora, Paper Toss, the Weather Channel and, and names them as defendants along with Apple. Lalo is represented by Scott A. Kamber and Avi Kreitenberg of KamberLaw LLC in New York.

Apple iPhones and iPads are set with a Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, which can’t be blocked by users, according to the complaint. Apple claims it reviews all applications on its App Store and doesn’t allow them to transmit user data without customer permission, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, claiming the transmission of personal information is a violation of federal computer fraud and privacy laws, seeks class-action status for Apple customers who downloaded an application on their iPhone or iPad between Dec. 1, 2008, and last week.

Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn’t immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha