The Last Detective - Nardizzi Inc.

Facebook downgrades privacy policy

Background checks are getting easier everyday. Without getting customer consent, and following a decision by the Federal Trade Commission finding that the company had engaged in "unfair and deceptive" trade practices, Facebook announced today that it would make old posts available--even if archived. The FTC had found many instances where Facebook made profile information that a user chose to restrict to “Only Friends” or “Friends of Friends” accessible to any Platform Applications that the user’s Friends had used. More here.

Restyled federal rules of evidence

Seeking to avoid the new Coke marketing fiasco of the 1980s, the feds are rolling out the clarification in terms as a “restyled” FRE. Not new, just better. Enjoy a sip from the folks at Federal Evidence Review.

Investigation New England Patriots defensive rankings

Crack research staff here at Nardizzi Inc took a break from murders, frauds, infringing websites and sexual harassers to examine the 2001 Patriot (aka Marshall Faulk-killing) team, which won the Super Bowl over the Rams. That team was ranked:

24th in total yards defense.
6th in scoring defense.

Oddly enough the offense had similar ranks: 6th in scoring, 19th in yards.
Point differential was 99.

This year the Patriot defense is:

32nd in total yards defense.
10th in scoring defense.

Offense is 4th scoring, 2nd yards
Point differential is 90.

Scent of a Super Bowl lingers in the winter air...

* 2011 team however no longer employs one Antwan Harris, who combined in the greatest backyard football play ever, taking a lateral from Troy Brown after Brown blocked a Steeler field goal attempt. Harris ran 49 yards for a touchdown in the 2001 AFC Championship game, sending waves of Steeler fans into an icy depression (and spiking a notable increase in the Pittsburgh crime rate as well).
Courtesy of the research staff...

Doctor complains; federal agency cripples public database

Interesting story about a database run by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that maintains discipline and medical-malpractice information. Diligent journalists and investigators could reference the database and, via other sources, sometimes identify doctors with long histories of being sued or disciplined for medical malpractice. Neurosurgeon Robert T. Tenny of Overland Park, Kansas was identified in this manner. His complaints led to the database being shut down for a time, only to be relaunched --with users required to promise not to link information in the database with publicly available information, like court files. Congress is now looking at the agency’s role in restricting speech and use of public data.

No right of privacy in IP case

Judge Young in Liberty Media Holdings, LLC v. Swarm Sharing Hash File & Does 1 through 38, held "the constitutional presumption of openness of judicial proceedings" trumps the privacy claims of defendants, who swarmed to illegally download and distribute gay pornography. The film (with the winsome title “Corbin Fisher Amateur College Men Down on the Farm&rdquoWinking was downloaded illegally; the IP addresses of the downloaders was used to track and identify them. Young did leave an opening for defendants: “Nevertheless, should individual defendants be concerned about being publicly 'outed' as discovery proceeds, the Court will entertain those arguments on an individual basis.” 

FBI Stingray can track cell phones

The FBI pursued a man they called “the Hacker.” Using a cellphone-tracking device called Stingray, they focused on a California home and arrested the man. Stingrays can locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call.

Oddly enough, a price list for Harris Corporation wireless surveillance products including Stingray was published on the website of the City of Miami. Cost is only $75,100.

Former SEC counsel Becker says ethics officer cleared him

Former Securities and Exchange Commission General Counsel David Becker has been criticized for making decisions on how victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme would recover assets because his family once had investment with Madoff’s firm. However, Becker said he disclosed the possible conflict of interest to the SEC chairman as well as the regulator’s ethics officer. Both cleared him to participate in the Madoff matter.

Glik wins; right to record police upheld in 1st Circuit

The Glik case has been resolved resoundingly in favor of the First Amendment right to publicly to record the activities of police officers on public business anywhere in the First Circuit. One quote summarizes the case best: "Glik filmed the defendant police officers in the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States and the apotheosis of a public forum.  In such traditional public spaces, the rights of the state to limit the exercise of First Amendment activity are 'sharply circumscribed.'"

On the MA wiretap law banning secret recordings, the court wrote: “The presence of probable cause was not even arguable here. ... For the reasons we have discussed, we see no basis in the law for a reasonable officer to conclude that such a conspicuous act of recording was 'secret' merely because the officer did not have actual knowledge of whether audio was being recorded.”

Beyond Bars: Dennis Maher moves on

In a Boston Globe piece, Dennis Maher has moved beyond the wrongful conviction that took prime years from his freedom. “I got over losing the 19 years of my life,’’ says Maher, 50, in an even tone. “I don’t try and make up for it because I can’t. The best that I can do is just go forward. Don’t hold the anger.’’

In addition to his job at Waste Management, where he started working one month after his release, Maher speaks publicly at conferences and other events involved with wrongful convictions and the importance of access to DNA testing. “It’s part of the healing process,’’ says Maher. “I enjoy it.’’

Setting witnesses at ease: one question to avoid

A former cop turned PI introduced himself to a witness during an interview. Case involved a contract dispute in the business session in Suffolk Superior Court. Within 10 second of the introduction, he said: “I’ve been doing this for a while so let’s start from the top: what is your Social Security Number?”

Asking someone a question like that does not make them feel warm and secure. A question like that makes people shut down. It suggests that the questioner is a clueless conversationalist or a creepy stalker. Not sure when the trend began for opening with such questions (“Nice to meet you. How big is your pancreas?&rdquoWinking. But stop it. Now.

Chinese reverse mergers a growing problem

The number of lawsuits against Chinese reverse merger companies nearly tripled since 2010, according to a study by Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse and Cornerstone Research. "Securities Class Action Filings: 2011 Mid-Year Assessment," reports that 24 class action lawsuits were filed against Chinese reverse merger companies in 2011. Reverse mergers work as follows: a Chinese business is acquired by an American shell company that is publicly traded. The board then resigns, a Chinese-appointed board takes control and changes the company name. Voila: it now can issue new stock to investors, all without IPO costs and paperwork.