Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

24th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a screener for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been arrested in connection to charges stemming from child pornography. To quote directly from Philly.com:

A passenger screener at Philadelphia International Airport is facing charges that he distributed more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook, records show.

Federal agents also allege that Transportation Safety Administration Officer Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, who routinely searched airline passengers, uploaded explicit pictures of young girls to an Internet site on which he also posted a photograph of himself in his TSA uniform.

The administration of this web log highly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read further from this story in order to gain perspective.

This arrest comes amidst calls from State and Federal legislators to reign in the activities of Transportation Security Administration personnel as such activities are coming to be increasingly viewed by many as arbitrary, capricious, and quite possibly in violation of Constitutional protections designed to protect the inalienable rights of United States Citizens. To quote directly from myfoxdfw.com

DALLAS – Full body pat-downs at airports are under heavy scrutiny in Austin. Representative David Simpson of Longview is sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal for Transpiration Security Administration agents to enforce full body searches without justification. The agent conducting the enhanced pat-down could face a felony charge and jail time. “We’ve got a draw a line somewhere,” Simpson said. “We’ve got young children, autistic children, seperated from their mother saying, ‘Stranger danger! Stranger danger!’ Man, oh boy. We’re teaching our children it’s indecent. It’s wrong to let these people in these areas except for a doctor.”

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the links above to view this story in further detail.

Texas is not the only sovereign American State to question the methodology of the Transportation Security Administration as this blog previously reported that some New Hampshire State legislators are attempting to take measures to curtail the TSA’s activities. An update on that story can be found by quoting directly from the website WHDH.com:

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A new proposal in New Hampshire would make some controversial TSA security exams a crime. The bill, which is clearly aimed at the Transportation Security Administration, would make an invasive pat down at the airport felony sexual assault unless the screener has probable cause to do the search. “We’re telling the TSA, if they violate our laws and they sexually assault our citizens, we’re going to do something about it,” said Rep. George Lambert, legislation co-sponsor.

In the recent past it appeared as though only State legislators were scrutinizing this issue intensely, but it recently came to this blogger’s attention that State legislators have been joined by a Federal legislator in calling for a rollback of what are perceived to be invasive and questionably Constitutional tactics currently employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). To quote directly from Townhall.com:

In the latest battle of David vs. Goliath, Rep. Jason Chaffetz is taking on the TSA again, this time against the backdrop of a revolting video showing a TSA pat-down of a 6-year-old girl. Chaffetz has introduced a bill that would call for parental consent before minors are subjected to pat-downs at airport security. A parent would also be allowed to be present for the pat-downs. According to Utah’s Daily Herald, Chaffetz’s 15 year old daughter was forced to undergo a private pat-down without parents present. The bill, just introduced, does not specify what would happen if a parent refuses consent for a pat-down of a minor. Chaffetz has challenged the TSA several times on invasive and unproven security procedures like the full body scan machines and the detailed pat-downs, but TSA continues to be inconsistent in their policy implementations. Back in November, the agency said that there would be modified pat-downs for children under 12, since there was no intelligence — even internationally — that children that age were being used in terrorist attacks. However, the video circulating the internet shows no body areas of the 6-year-old girl were off limits in the frisking.

Those reading this blog are encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to view this story in detail.

Readers interested in seeing the video of the groping of the 6 year old child alluded to above are encouraged to click HERE.

In light of all of the events and issues noted above this blogger would ask the reader to take the time to read the following:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

How are “random” searches reasonable? Under the specific facts seen in the video above, how is it reasonable to assume that it is okay to grope a six year old child without probable cause? Where is the rule of law? Meanwhile, are any of these searches occurring pursuant to a warrant based upon probable cause and supported by an oath or affirmation? If not, then under what authority are these searches occurring?

In response to the incident involving the child the TSA web log noted:

A video taken of one of our officers patting down a six year-old has attracted quite a bit of attention. Some folks are asking if the proper procedures were followed. Yes. TSA has reviewed the incident and the security officer in the video followed the current standard operating procedures.

This blogger cares very little for the justifications being posed by the TSA on this point as they are simply naked assertions which are not based upon anything other than the TSA’s unilateral opinion. Under the United States legal system the “current standard operating procedures” are always to be in compliance with the 4th Amendment, especially if a search concerns an American Citizen. If they are not in compliance with the 4th Amendment and the US Constitution, then such procedures are, in this blogger’s opinion: unlawful. Hopefully TSA will rectify their behavior as it seems likely that further tensions could arise as State and Federal legislatures along with local authorities take it upon themselves to protect the civil liberties of their Citizenry and constituents. It is hoped that these issues will be resolved to the benefit of all concerned, but clearly issues surrounding American Citizens’ right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure must be dealt with in order to uphold the American Peoples’ Constitutional protections.

For related information please see: Necessary and Proper Clause.

more Comments: 04

31st December 2010

2010 has been a watershed year in many respects, but the most remarkable thing about the year 2010, in this author’s opinion, was the global paradigm shift regarding Asia. Where once Asia might have been viewed by the North American and European press, business community, and public as a sort of afterthought, 2010 proved that one of, if not the, most important geographical regions in terms of economic growth and technological innovation is East Asia.

As always, Asia’s economic importance can be discerned by looking at currency imbalances, industry analysis, and economic growth figures. However, this blogger feels that one of the most significant indicators of Asia’s “coming of age” in the global arena is evidenced by the fact that many nations in Asia are flexing their muscles in terms of enforcing their will upon the internet. Where once Asian governments seemed to fall in line with Western attitudes toward the the regulation of cyberspace and all of the cultural changes that come with the spread of easy access to the World Wide Web, now it would appear as if governments, businesses, and organizations in North and Southeast Asia are coming up with their own strategies for regulating internet access, promoting ecommerce, and connecting people. Counter-intuitive as is may seem to those operating from a Western perspective, many of the strategies adopted by Asian governments are not designed to facilitate broader access to online technology.  In a recent article posted on the Telegraph’s official website www.telegraph.co.uk, it was noted that Chinese authorities are taking stringent measures against Skype, the online communications service. To quote directly from the Telegraph’s official website:

China on Thursday announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service, as the country continues to shut itself off from the rest of the world…

In the latest move dashing Western internet company hopes of breaking into China, it was announced that all internet phone calls were to be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom.

“[This] is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country,” reported the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party.

Skype is not the only web based company that has experienced its share of problems in the Chinese market. Increasingly, many companies seem to be finding themselves restricted from the internet in China as the Telegraph went on to note:    

Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are already blocked in China and Google closed down its Chinese servers last year after heavy government pressure.

It should be noted that Mainland China (also referred to as the Peoples’ Republic of China) boasts a population of approximately 1.3 billion people. For many firms, especially those with a significant online presence, China represents an emerging market with virtually limitless potential. However, China is not the only nation in Asia which seems poised for a more dynamic place in the international business arena. Countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Indonesia have proven to be fertile ground for the same companies which China is attempting to block. According to Internetworldstats.com the Republic of Indonesia saw 27,338,560 Facebook users as of the end of August 2010.   In an interesting posting on www.nickburcher.com, a fascinating website dedicated to providing information and insight regarding the evolution of advertising and media, this blogger found the following graph noting the the increase in Facebook usage as of 2009:

Rank Country Number of Facebook users July 2008 Number of Facebook users July 2009 12 month growth %
1 Indonesia 209,760 6,496,960 2997.2%
2 Romania 9,060 230,600 2445.3%
3 Slovakia 27,960 588,860 2006.1%
4 Czech Rep 51,860 1,088,020 2005.3%
5 Italy 491,100 10,218,400 1980.7%
6 Philippines 162,640 2,719,560 1572.13%
7 Argentina 417,980 4,906,220 1073.8%
8 Uruguay 40,920 395,800 867.3%
9 Taiwan 71,340 685,460 860.8%
10 Portugal 48,180 425,680 783.5%
11 Brazil 119,080 1,015,400 752.7%
12 Spain 695,900 5,773,200 729.6%
13 Paraguay 7,920 63,740 704.8%
14 Poland 83,180 619,180 644.4%
15 Bulgaria 60,240 436,480 624.6%
16 Austria 111,060 728,800 556.2%
17 Slovenia 53,740 343,320 538.9%
18 Lithuania 24,320 153,160 529.8%
19 Thailand 114,180 697,340 510.7%
20 Russia 67,760 412,840 509.3%

The growth percentages noted above are truly astounding especially when one bears in mind that a country such as China boasts a larger population compared to that of those countries surveyed. Furthermore, the above quotation merely notes increased Facebook usage as of 2009. 2010 likely showed further growth. This could be one reason why many online businesses are attempting to find a compromise with China in an effort to enjoy access to such a lucrative market.

In 2010, Google had some problems with the Chinese government as an article on Sky News’s official website pointed out back in July of 2010. To quote directly from that article:

Beijing has renewed Google’s licence in a move that allows the web giant to continue operating in China, the company has said…

Google revealed the development on its blog and said: “We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP licence and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China.”

China is the world’s biggest internet market and Google’s right to supply the country’s users was suspended after a row over censorship.

To get around the restrictions, Google began to redirect its Chinese users to a landing page in Hong Kong.

If the licence had been rejected outright, as some analysts wrongly predicted, it could have spelled future trouble for Google’s non-search businesses in China.

As noted above, termination of direct access to the Chinese market could have been particularly problematic even for a company as monolithic as Google since the sheer size of the Chinese market is enough to make the thought of being shut out unthinkable for virtually any company, especially companies whose profitability depends upon open access to their website. Enter Mark Zuckerberg, the “Young Turk” who took the online world by storm with the creation and subsequent expansion of Facebook.com, the online social networking website which is currently unavailable in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Recently, it was reported that Mr. Zuckerberg went to China on what seems to have been a sort of vacation/fact finding tour. To quote directly from a recent article on iol.co.za:

In China Mark Zuckerberg is almost unknown. Now, after pictures of him visiting Beijing’s biggest internet company have appeared online, feverish speculation has erupted over whether he could be set to change that by taking his social networking site, Facebook, into the one country that has resisted its charms.

That Mr Zuckerberg is in Beijing this week might alone be enough to trigger rumours as to his intentions – even if it is nominally for a holiday with his girlfriend Priscilla Chan and no other entourage.

But when he was spotted yesterday at the headquarters of Baidu, the giant Chinese search engine company, with its chief executive, Robin Li, the reaction reached a pitch of excitement far beyond what is good for most people’s health.

Any alliance was denied by Baidu’s spokesman. But there is little doubt that the Chinese market remains a tempting prize for the 26-year-old Mr Zuckerberg. Facebook has been blocked by the Chinese government, denying him access to the country’s 300 million regular internet users.

The most striking piece of information to be gleaned from the above quotation, in this blogger’s opinion, is the fact that the article points out that China boasts regular internet usage by approximately 300 million people. That is almost the ENTIRE population of the United States of America. As can be quickly inferred, such large numbers of potential users make China a very critical market for firms, in virtually any industry, with a major online presence.

On a related note, Mr. Zuckerberg’s Asian journey did not end in China. To quote directly from a recent article on the Daily Mail’s official website dailymail.co.uk:

The Facebook cofounder was photographed in Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday night looking dressed for a trip to the pub rather than a party, wearing a pair of blue jeans and green collar-less shirt.

Zuckerberg reportedly came to Thailand to attend the wedding of Chris Cox, a close friend and a vice president at Facebook…

The internet mogul is known for his casual style. In the early days of Facebook he famously went to a meeting with top venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in his pajamas, a scene seen in ‘The Social Network’, the film about his meteoric rise.

Zuckerberg, Time magazine’s newly-crowned Person of the Year,  is in Thailand fresh off a visit to China, where his social networking site is currently blocked by authorities.

First off, it is interesting to note the reaction of many to Mr. Zuckerberg’s informal dress. It is this blogger’s opinion that casual dress will become more the norm as ecommerce businesses and web based companies allow owners, managers, operators, consumers, and users to operate from virtually any location regardless of one’s wardrobe. It is interesting that the founder of Facebook is visiting China and Thailand because both countries seem poised to show strong growth in the coming years especially in areas such as information technology.

It is likely that the reader who has come this far in the post will ask: Yes, but what does all of this have to do with “the end of the beginning” in Asia? One could argue that the beginning of the modern relationship between Asia and the USA began with President Nixon’s famous “Opening of China”. Although the United States had been diplomatically and economically engaged in other areas of Asia prior to opening diplomatic relations with China (most notably in South Korea, Japan, and Thailand). The opening of China marks a pivotal moment for Asia and the beginning of a new phase in economic and political relations between Asia and West. From the 1970′s up until the present time, the United States (and in many ways Europe and the UK) has been the country which, for the most part, has held the dominant negotiating position as the “West” has had something of a technological advantage over its Asian counterparts. In the last decade, many of the comparative advantages of the United States have eroded leaving many Asian nations in a new, more advantageous, position vis-a-vis the USA, EU, and UK.

Mark Zuckerberg represents a new generation of mogul. Where once fortunes were made in America by industrialists in areas such as steel or railroads, now fortunes are made on the internet through control of online platforms and access to information. As Sir Ben Kingsley’s character in the movie Sneakers, a truly prescient film about the confluence of government, business, and information technology, pointed out:

There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!

If the information business were to be analogized in terms of World War II, then this blogger would liken Mr. Zuckerberg to General Douglas MacArthur as he has proven himself to be a shrewd analyst and strategist in the field of information technology. In fact, Mr. Zuckerberg’s preternatural ability to find and control strategic aspects of the way people use the internet could be likened to General MacArthur’s elegant “island hopping” strategy employed in the Pacific Theater during WWII. With this in mind, this author feels as though this is not the last of Mr. Zuckerberg’s forays into Asia nor the Asian markets. In fact, one can almost read “I shall return” between the lines of the recent press releases documenting Mr. Zuckerberg’s travels throughout Asia.

How Asian markets will ultimately view different types of e-businesses remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Asia is no longer a backwater in terms of the global economy. In fact, many jurisdictions in Asia seem especially poised to be trendsetters in terms of information technology and ecommerce.

more Comments: 04

1st November 2010

เมื่อหลายสัปดาห์ก่อน บางเว็บไซต์ได้นำเสนอข้อมูลที่เกี่ยวข้องกับบันทึกจากหน่วยบริการพลเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาและคนเข้าเมือง (USCIS) ซึ่งปราศรัยต่อหน้าสื่อมวลชนและมีความสัมพันธ์กันในบริบทของการเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกา อ้างถึงบางส่วนของบันทึกดังกล่าวซึ่งปรากฏอยู่ในเว็บไซต์ EFF.org (มูลนิธิขอบเขตความรู้ทางอิเล็กทรอนิกส์):

อินเตอร์เน็ตมีส่วนช่วยทำให้ผู้คนติดต่อสื่อสารกันได้ง่ายขึ้นไม่ว่าจะเป็นครอบครัวที่อยู่ห่างไกลกัน เพื่อน หรือการมองหาความรักและวามสัมพันธ์ใหม่ๆ เครือข่ายทางสังคมเช่น MySpace, Facebook, Classmates, Hi-5 และไซต์อื่นๆนั้นถูกออกแบบมาเพื่อที่จะแลกเปลี่ยนความคิดสร้างสรรค์ รูปภาพและข้อมูลต่างๆกับคนอื่น ในบางครั้ง หลายๆคนตามหาความโรแมนติก บางครั้งหลายๆคนมองหาเพื่อนที่มีความสนใจคล้ายๆกันและบางครั้งพวกเขาก็ใช้เป็นสื่อในการเข้าถึงครอบครัว ทั้งหมดนี้เป็นจุดที่ได้เปรียบเป็นอย่างดีสำหรับ FDNS ที่จะตรวจสอบพฤติกรรมในชีวิตประจำวันของผู้ที่ได้รับผลประโยชน์และผู้ยื่นคำขอซึ่งเป็นผู้ที่มีพฤติกรรมฉ้อฉล โดยทั่วไปแล้ว ผู้คนมักจะพูดอย่างตรงไปตรงมาในเครือข่ายของตนเพราะทั้งหมดนั้นเป็นการติดต่อกันกับเพื่อนและครอบครัวโดยทางIM’s (ข้อความโต้ตอบ), บล็อก (เว็บนิตยสาร) และอื่นๆ เครือข่ายทางสังคมให้โอกาสแก่ FDNS ในการเปิดเผยการฉ้อฉลโดยการค้นหาเว็บไซต์เหล่านี้เพื่อที่จะตรวจสอบว่า ความสัมพันธ์ของผู้ยื่นคำขอและผู้ที่ได้รับผลประโยชน์เป็นไปอย่างถูกต้องหรือพยายามที่จะหลอกลวงแก่ CIS

การฉ้อฉลเกี่ยววกับวีซ่าและครเข้าเมืองเป็นสิ่งที่ต้องงตระหนักถึงในเบื้องต้นของกระทรวงความมั่นคงแห่งมาตุภูมิ, USCIS, และการรักษาความปลอดภัยในปรเทศและการป้องกันการฉ้อฉล (FDNS) ดังนั้นการตรวจสอบหลักสุจริตของความสัมพันธ์บนพื้นฐานของการขอวีซ่าเป็นมากกว่าสิ่งที่ต้องทำเป็นประจำในสถานการณ์ที่พลเมืองสหรัฐหรือผู้ที่มีถิ่นฐานถาวรอย่างถูกต้องตามกฎหมายนั้นยื่นคำขอในเรื่องสิทธิประโยชน์การเข้าเมืองของคู่รักดที่เป็นชาวต่างชาติ อาจกล่าวได้โดยนัยว่า การตรวจตราไซต์สื่อสาธารณะของUSCIS สามารถสร้างความตระหนกสำหรับหลักฐานต่างๆที่เกิดขึ้น อ้างจาก บล็อกในเว็บไซต์ ImmigrationEquality.org :

ในขณะที่พวกเราไม่เคยส่งเสริมใครก็ตามในการฉ้อฉลการเข้าเมือง มันเป็นการขัดขวางที่จะคิดถึงเจ้าหน้าที่รัฐทำความรู้จักกับคนเข้าเมืองที่ไม่เคยรู้จักโดยการการใช้ข้อมูลส่วนบุคคลที่พวกเขาเขียนไว้อ้างต่อพวกเขา ในขณะที่เทคโนโลยีก้าวหน้าไปอย่างรวดเร็ว สิ่งที่สำคัญคือ เมื่อคุณเขียนข้อความใดๆลงในเว็บสาธารณะแล้วเป็นสิ่งที่คาดไว้ได้ล่วงหน้าเลยว่า มันจะถูกนำมาใช้อ้างยันกับคุณได้

การฉ้อฉลเรื่องการเข้าเมืองเป็นประเด็นที่สำคัญ ในขณะที่ กฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกานั้นสนับสนุนเรื่องสิทธิประโยชน์ของการเข้าเมืองและการวินิจฉัยคำขอเรื่องการเข้าเมือง เทคโนโลยีสมัยใหม่นั้นสร้างทางเลือกใหม่ๆในการติดต่อกับเพื่อน ครอบครัว และคนรักที่อยู่ทั่วทุกมุมโลก อย่างไรก็ตาม ข้อคิดเห็นทางไซต์สาธารณะที่ดูเหมือนว่าจะไม่เป็นอันตรายในเวลาที่มีการแสดงความคิดเห็นนั้นถูกตรวจสอบโดยผู้ที่ทำหน้าที่ตรวจสอบการเข้าเมืองซึ่งไม่ได้มีความคุ้นเคยเป็นการส่วนตัวกับบุคคลที่แสดงความคิดเห็น ในตอนจบของวัน หัวข้อหลักที่ได้จากการรวบรวมข้อมูลในบันทึกที่เกี่ยวข้องนี้ คือ อย่าพยายามที่จะหลอกลวงรัฐบาลสหรัฐในการที่จะทำให้ได้มาซึ่งสิทธิประโยชน์และแม้แต่การค้นหาสิทธิประโยชน์บนหลักแห่งความสุจริตนั้นควรจะตระหนักถึงข้อเท็จจริงของข้อมูลที่เขียนในเว็บไซต์สื่อสาธารณะ และต้องมีการตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียดถี่ถ้วนโดยเจ้าหน้าที่การเข้าเมืองและหรือผู้ตรวจสอบ

To read this piece in English, please see: I-601 waiver

more Comments: 04

30th October 2010

In recent weeks, some websites have been abuzz with information pertaining to a recent memorandum from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) which discussed Social Media platforms and their relevance in the context of United States Immigration.  To quote sections of the memo directly, as posted on the EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) website:

The Internet has made it increasingly easier for people to get connected with each other whether that is with long-distance family, fiiends [sic], or to find new loves and friendships. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Classmates, Hi-5, and other similar sites are designed to allow people to share their creativity, pictures, and information with others. Sometimes people do this to find romance, sometimes they do it to find fiiends [sic] with similar interests, and sometimes they do it to keep in touch with family…This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities. Generally, people on these sites speak honestly in their network because all of their friends and family are interacting with them via lM’s (Instant Messages), Blogs (Weblog journals), etc. This social networking gives FDNS an opportunity to reveal fraud by browsing these sites to see if petitioners and beneficiaries are in a valid relationship or are attempting to deceive CIS about their relationship.

Visa and Immigration Fraud are fundamental concerns of the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS, and Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). Therefore, investigation into the bona fides of a relationship that is the basis for submission of a visa petition can be rather routine in circumstances where a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident has submitted a petition for immigration benefits on behalf of a foreign loved one. That said, the implications of USCIS’s monitoring social media sites can be somewhat unnerving for many as evidenced by a recent quote from a blog post on the ImmigrationEquality.org website:

While we would never encourage anyone to engage in immigration fraud, it is disturbing to think of government officials “friending” unknowing immigrants to use the information in their personal posts against them. In these times of technology speeding forward, it’s important to remember that when you post anything on a public site you have to anticipate that it could be used against you.

Immigration fraud is a serious issue as the integrity of United States immigration law must be upheld both by those seeking immigration benefits and those adjudicating immigration petitions. New technologies offer new ways to stay connected to friends, family, and loved ones in a global context.  However, comments made on social media sites which may seem innocuous or humorous to an online poster at the time of a comment’s posting could be taken out of context by immigration adjudicators who are not personally acquainted with the person or persons making such comments. At the end of the day, the main themes that may be gleaned from the recent revelation of this memo: DO NOT EVER attempt to defraud the U.S. government in an attempt to obtain immigration benefits and even those seeking immigration benefits for bona fide reasons should be cognizant of the fact that information posted on social media websites could, at some point, be heavily scrutinized by immigration officers and/or adjudicators.

For related information please see: US Visa Processing Time or I-601 waiver.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.