Tag Archives: Police

Bar Shares Scanned ID Card Data with Cops

bar code escape

Kaye Beach

June 1, 2013

Hat tip to Steve Spingola http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/

Update June 2, 2013 and here is Steve’s article on the matter:  In Appleton, Wisconsin, Having a Cold One is Now the Government’s Business


Across the country, citizens are surprised and sometimes outraged by increasing demands by businesses and government to submit to the instant capture and downloading of all of the data contained on their driver’s licenses and ID cards as a condition for ACCESS.

You might wonder what your data is being used for after it is taken.

(Read- ‘Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management’)

The answer is whatever they want to use it for including letting law enforcement troll through it looking for any naughty law-breakers.

The article below gives one example of how your once lowly driver’s license that is now empowered with machine readable technology (RFID or 2D barcodes) and your facial biometrics, is performing exactly as designed.  These technologies are designed to make you easier to track, monitor and control.

If my license must be scanned as a condition to access an establishment, then that is a place I will not go.

In Appleton, bar owners share patron data with police seeking probation violators

Owners of Appleton’s more popular bars turning over data on all their patrons to police, who use it to find people violating probation and those wanted on warrants.

According to the Appleton Post-Crescent, last year data was collected on some 8,500 bar goers, including 241 who were not supposed to be going to the establishments.

The practice has raised some privacy concerns.

“The technology doesn’t give any particular thought to privacy concerns since everybody who enters gets scanned,” Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, told the Post-Crescent.

Appleton police loan two high-tech scanners to the city’s high-volume bars, who use them for everyone who enters. The scanners detect fake IDs and let bouncers block those users’ entrance.

But the scanners also store up names, ages and addresses from every ID scanned, data the police then download from the scanners and cross-checked against lists of probationers and those wanted on warrants.

Some bars who buy their own scanners use the data gathered for marketing purposes as well.

Read more

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

fallin dronesKaye Beach

March 13, 2013

House Bill 1556 authored by OK Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, working in conjunction with the Oklahoma ACLU,  would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using drones for surveillance and prohibited civilian drones from carrying weapons.

But today the Governors office put an end to this bill.

Reported by KFOR-TV March 13, 2013;

Bill on drone surveillance put on hold

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would have required law enforcement to get a warrant before using a drone for surveillance has been put on hold.

House Bill 1556 will be held over for the next session.

. . . The move comes as a result of opposition from Gov. Mary Fallin.

Read more and watch the video report at KFOR http://kfor.com/2013/03/13/bill-on-drone-surveillance-put-on-hold/

Enjoying a groundswell of popular support that notably spans the political spectrum, HB1556 appeared to have a great chance of being passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives until the Governor’s office decided it was time to intervene.

Citing concerns that pending legislation would hurt Oklahoma’s chances to be one of the six states chosen by the FAA to be a testing site for drones, Governor Fallin’s office took issue with the bill.  However, upon closer inspection of the FAA”s application by the bill’s author and the Dir. Of the OK ACLU, Ryan Kiesel, it was found that the FAA is explicitly does not automatically treat pending legislation as a negative.  

This fact, when raised made no impact on opposition to HB1556 by the Governor’s office which begs the question: Why would the Governor be opposed to the passage of this very modest bill?

This unanswered question takes me back to the press conference that I attended that was held by Gov. Fallin, along with her Secretary of Science and Technology,  Stephen McKeever,  and drone industry representative Michael Toscano, the president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International on Jan 16, 2013 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.


When it came time to take questions from members of the press, not surprisingly, the very first question asked was in regards to privacy and civil liberties.  At that time the Stephen McKeever made it crystal clear that they were not amenable to any statutory or even policy level changes that might protect the privacy rights of Oklahoman’s.  McKeever was quite clear in his statements explaining that while it was not unreasonable to have some concerns about drones and privacy, he was opposed to any real efforts to secure our privacy rights for fear that it might hinder  the drone industry in some way in our state.

That is when I knew that any legislation to advance the protection of our rights was going to be an uphill battle to say the least. 

Recently, the Congressional Research Service issued a report;  “Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues”

The report states that “perhaps the most contentious issue concerning the introduction of drones into U.S. airspace is the threat that this technology will be used to spy on American citizens.” 

That this is an issue is not a surprise to anyone. Yet with all of the time, money and effort invested by this state to ensure that Oklahoma becomes drone central, USA,  nothing has been done to hear the concerns of Oklahoma citizens or ensure the rights of Oklahomans are protected.

There has been years of groundwork laid in making Oklahoma the premier state for the drone industry.

In 2009 the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK) was created to promote the emerging unmanned systems industry in Oklahoma.

In 2011, Gov. Fallin issued an Executive Order to create the Unmanned Aerial Systems Council and appointed 13 members to her Unmanned Aerial Systems Council.  The council was to advise the governor on ‘all issues related to UAS, including education, economic development, job creation and investments’ so that Oklahoma could become a national leader in the UAS industry. 

This Council was created to advise the Governor on “all issues related to UAS”

How surveillance technology laden drones might infringe upon our Fourth Amendment rights has not been a primary or even secondary issue worth considering when officials were obviously working so hard at covering all the bases.

In all of the materials covering Governor Fallins efforts to develop the drone industry in Oklahoma that I have read, I have found  but one brief mention of the fact that drones present a real threat to our civil liberties.  It is in the Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, released on July 8, 2012.   This recommendation made by the Oklahoma UAS Council, a small as it was, is one that should have been given some attention.  It wasn’t.

The Oklahoma UAS Council stated that  “The growth of UAS has the potential for enormous good and economic benefit for all residents, introducing new capabilities simply not possible at present. As with any new technology, however, new capabilities come with the potential for abuse. The state of Oklahoma takes these issues and concerns seriously. We support calls for thoughtful and informed dialogue to address these concerns and for the industry to work with privacy advocates, policymakers and legislators to provide the necessary protections against misuse.”  Source: Report of the Governor’s Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Council  A Strategic Plan for the Development of an Unmanned Aerial Systems Enterprise in the State of Oklahoma 

To my knowledge, no one from the drone industry or the Governor’s office reached out to the ACLU, OK-SAFE, or any other organization that is known for privacy advocacy in the state.

No.  It was not until HB1556 gained real traction and only after a last minute attempt by the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce to kill the bill in committee did the Governor’s office make any effort to connect with anyone and that was to put the brakes on the bill.

Rep. Wesselohoft worked openly and diligently to address any possible concerns by law enforcement or any others over the language in the bill.  Nevertheless, he was sideswiped by the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce shortly before the bill was to be heard in the House Aerospace and Energy committee when a Chamber representative told him that her organization was unhappy with the bill but refused to specify exactly what was problematic denying the Representative any opportunity to address their concerns.  The Chamber representative then proceeded to pass out to all committee members what was described as a ‘hit piece’ on the bill in an attempt to kill the legislation.

Despite this last minute attempt by the Chamber to sink HB1556, the bill passed the committee by a vote of 23-4.

To protect the rights of the people of the state of Oklahoma is the first duty of our elected representatives,  especially the Governor.  In reality, protection of our rights has registered dead last on Governor Fallins drone ‘to do’ list and this is unacceptable!

Another example of what I consider to be bad faith on the part of the Governor regarding the drone issue is her studied lack of forthrightness on the nature of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s RAPS program currently active in Oklahoma.

On June 29, 2012 Gov. Fallin announces Oklahoma is the first state chosen by the Dept. of Homeland Security as a testing site for small unmanned aircraft (drones) in the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) program.

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

However, the Dept. of Homeland Security’s own documentation describes the RAPS program to include; “real-time law enforcement tactical operations support, and crime scene situational awareness.”

DHS explains that “Typical test scenarios include search and rescue missions, fire and
hazardous material spill responses, and simulated law enforcement tactical operations.”

Source: Privacy Impact Assessment for the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) Project http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/privacy/PIAs/privacy_pia_st_raps_nov2012.pdf

And then on Dec. 31, 2012 we get a real New Year’s surprise from a news article describing the first RAPS tests taking place in Oklahoma as a SWAT policing exercise.

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

The simulated chase this month was among the first test flights in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program designed to evaluate the possible civilian use of “Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”

Source: NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012, Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in statehttp://newsok.com/wary-eyes-shift-to-the-skies-as-unmanned-aircraft-are-tested-in-state/article/3741815

Governor Fallin misrepresented this program.  That is very concerning to me.

What is it that the drone industry plans on doing in Oklahoma that makes a simple piece of legislation protecting basic rights so offensive to Governor Fallin?

Here is the bottom line for the grassroots activists who are rightfully outraged by the governors direct role in quashing this bill; it is up to you to make sure that such actions by our governor politically painful enough that she will think twice about disrespecting the rights of the people of this state which she has sworn to defend.

First, call her office and register your opinion of her actions.

The Office of Governor Mary Fallin

Local: (405) 521-2342
Fax: (405) 521-3353

Don’t forget.  You can also connect with Governor Fallin on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GovernorMaryFallin

And Twitter https://twitter.com/GovMaryFallin

No need to be rude or threatening but tell her this is truly a blatant example of profits over people and she needs to get her priorities straight!

Contact the news stations and ask them to investigate the relationship between the industry and state officials.  Ask them to cover the ire of the people of this state about the amount of investment in this industry and the lack of attention to our concerns about privacy and arming the drones with weapons.  Do your own research and see what you can uncover.

Find out where Governor Fallin is speaking and show up with signs to let people know how little she respects them.

And last but not least, when she runs for re-election, make this issue a campaign issue that she will have to answer to!

Be creative –  but please do something to expose this problem!  If we don’t make this an issue-no one else will!

Oklahoma Insurance Department spends $180K on guns, police vehicles

swat 2Kaye Beach

Nov. 30 2012


Reported today by Sean Murphy, AP;


The Oklahoma Insurance Department spent more than $180,000 on high-tech shotguns, bulletproof vests and seven police-package vehicles that agency officials say were needed as part of its expanded focus on criminal insurance fraud.

But the purchases have raised eyebrows among some lawmakers who question why the agency’s nine-member anti-fraud unit — which primarily investigates white-collar crimes — needs equipment typically used by police officers and SWAT teams.

“I don’t think Oklahomans as a whole are going to relish the day when their neighborhood is full of official police-package insurance department police cars as they’re executing an arrest on a guy who did a fraudulent insurance claim,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie . . . “For the life of me, I never could come to grasp with why the Insurance Department couldn’t take a local sheriff’s deputy, or someone responsible to the local community, with them when they do these arrests,” he said.

According to Insurance Department records, the agency this year purchased five 2012 Dodge Chargers for $23,590 each and two 2013 Chevrolet Tahoes for $26,505 apiece, each outfitted with police packages that include stiffer suspensions and wiring for additional communications equipment.

The agency also purchased seven Remington pump-action shotguns for $699 each, along with seven mountable shotgun lights that cost $203 apiece and seven bulletproof vests that cost $625 each.

Read More

The IACP Denies Large Donation from Taser Intl. Associated Foundation Buys Influence

Kaye Beach

Oct 24, 2012

USA Today published this story, ‘Police group receives donation from Taser stun-gun maker’ on Oct 22, 2012.  It is  about the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) accepting a 300,000 donation from the foundation associated with Taser International which raises serious concerns since this organization has great influence over police department policy nation wide.

The IACP is an international, non governmental organization. Some of the activities of the IACP include submitting legislation, lobbying and testifying before Congress, doing research and policy development, setting professional standards and providing accreditation for US police departments.  The IACP promotes and writes guidelines for police technology,  trains and educates law enforcement as well as managing and administering numerous programs for the federal government.

Of course the IACP denies that the money curries any favor with them but consider what a notorious anti-gun foundation bought for their cause with the IACP in 2007.  (below)

Police group receives donation from Taser stun-gun maker

by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

Published: 10/22/2012 12:19am

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest association of police chiefs, which has advised thousands of its members on the appropriate use of stun guns, accepted a $300,000 donation from the foundation associated with Taser International, the biggest supplier of stun guns to law enforcement.

The contribution to the International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation (IACP), the organization’s philanthropic arm, represents the latest in a series of controversial relationships Taser has established with police, the primary source of the Arizona-based company’s lucrative business.

. . .IACP and Taser officials said they found nothing wrong with the gift. . .But law enforcement and criminal justice analysts said the donation raises questions about the IACP’s ability to engage in future reviews involving the technology and whether the contribution represented a de-facto endorsement.

Read more

In 2007, another Foundation  supplied the IACP with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The IACP, with support from the Joyce Foundation, a notorious anti-gun organization, held a national firearm violence summit in Chicago, “to address the issue fully and create a viable national strategy” for gun control.

Press release http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1470&issue_id=42008

The Joyce Foundation got what they paid for as their anti-gun philosophy has been enshrined in IACP policy which informs many police departments across the nation.  (See the 2007 IACP Great Lakes Summit on Reducing Gun Violence.  Link)

“The Joyce Foundation has pumped tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of gun ban groups over the years. The Violence Policy Center (VPC), an unashamed promoter of a total ban on handguns, collected more than $1 million of Joyce money just in 2005 and 2006. In 2000, the Joyce Foundation paid a VPC advisor and former Handgun Control, Inc. board member to edit a “Second Amendment Symposium” issue of the Chicago-Kent Law Review. That slim volume contains nearly half the anti-individual rights articles ever published on the Second Amendment.

The IACP newsletter proudly notes that the Joyce Foundation has “made more than $30 million in grants to groups seeking public health solutions that offer the promise of reducing gun deaths and injuries in America.”

This year, the Joyce Foundation invested heavily in IACP. They paid IACP over $500,000 to host “The Great Lakes States Summit on Gun Violence,” and then to issue the report from the conference. That comes out to nearly $11,000 per page, but the Joyce Foundation got what it paid for. . .”

Chris W. Cox, Follow the Money, Nov. 15, 2007  wwwnraila.org

The IACP hasn’t been resting on its laurels since 2007 either.  In 2011 the organization, in conjunction with the Joyce Foundation,  produced this guidebook;  Reducing Gun Violence in Our Communities Leadership Guide for Law Enforcement on Effective strategies and Programs


The IACP also provides this eye popping checklist of goals and tasks to help law enforcement agencies measure their progress in the IACP’s recommended gun control efforts.


There has been a great paradigm shift in our nation since 9-11 that spans all agencies of government.  This shift affects every aspect of our lives and has practically decimated the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  US citizens, regardless of their political persuasion, are united in astonishment as they witness the slash and burn abrogation of one cherished right after another.

There is no sector of our society left untouched by the new paradigm and each has its own specialists attending to the transformation in their particular realm.  In the realm of policing, it is the IACP who is in charge of nurturing and tending this transformation.

Schools-Social Laboratories for Human Surveillance

Kaye Beach

Oct. 10, 2012

The latest story about Texas school children being tagged and tracked with active RFID tracking devices  (the passive variety is considered “a little less Big Brotherish.”) has caused some controversy.  We are told that this is no big deal, that the RFID tracking simply allows the school to more efficiently do what it already does-take attendance and keep track of students whose safety and well-being is entrusted to the school by parents. But there is much more going on here and the issue deserves to be examined in a broader context.

Here is an excellent article by David Rosen of AlterNet that pulls together a variety of news relating to the tracking and surveillance of students.  If you are even slightly uncomfortable about the implementation of these high tech schemes being unleashed on our children, you should read every word of this article which provides some much needed context to the individual stories that trickle down to us from time to time.

These children are the leaders of tomorrow and their experiences at school help serve to fix the values that they will carry with them into adulthood and they are being immersed in an environment saturated with sensors designed to supervise, control and correct them.  (Here are some other objections to student RFID tracking)

Rosen’s article covers RFID and GPS tracking, electronic monitoring devices being used on kids to combat obesity in New York, electronic monitoring of calories consumed in school cafeterias,  networked CCTV systems that are directly  accessible to police and disturbing abuse of student privacy through CCTV cameras,  school computers that use cameras to remotely spy on students in their own homes, federal funding of school surveillance and more.

I would like to add one thing to  Rosen’s litany; biometric identification such as finger scanning to make lunch lines more efficient 

Rosen writes;

Few parents or children are fully aware of the scope of the tracking and surveillance now going on in American schools. Three simple questions need to be addressed: What is happening to all the personal data captured about the students? How long it is being retained? And are school administrators providing it to law enforcement authorities or commercial vendors?

Here is the AlterNet article.

Kids Tagged With RFID Chips? The Creepy New Technology Schools Use to Track Everything Kids Do — And the Profit Motive Behind It

After you shoot, the police are coming: The Second Amendment Plan

Kaye Beach

August 15, 2012

Here’s an interesting idea that might be worthy of the consideration of those who own guns.  It is a plan offered by Attorney Doug Friesen to protect you should you ever have to use your weapon to defend yourself or loved ones: The Second Amendment Protection Plan.

Doug Friesen is a leading gun rights attorney having  represented more than 25 use of deadly force cases.  You have probably seen Mr. Friesen on the news as he is a frequent guest expert invited to weigh in on issues surrounding gun laws and the Second Amendment. He also teaches the legal portion of the Concealed Carry Course at H&H Gun Range and hold seminars on many topics including Conceal and Open Carry Laws.

After you shoot, the police are coming.   At this point you are going to be upset or in shock and just because you were justified in firing the gun does not mean you have nothing to worry about.  This is when the expertise of someone like Doug Friesen would be extremely valuable.

The plan Mr. Friesen provides may not be for everyone and he does welcomes any questions you might have about his plan.  In brief, the plan provides for a monthly fee, Attorney Doug Friesen on call 24/7 should you be involved in any gun related incident, protection from inadvertent self-incrimination, full legal representation up to the point that charges are filed and more.

It would certainly be better to have a plan in place than to wait until you are upset and in shock after defending yourself with deadly force to think about what not to say and do.  I think it is safe to say that if Jerome Ersland had of had such protection, he wouldn’t be serving a life sentence for his use of deadly force against the would be robber. While we may have the luxury of second guessing Ersland’s response to the attempted armed robbery, the fact is that Mr. Ersland was minding his own business when these two young men decided to victimize him. That he was given a life sentence for his response to this crime is a travesty of justice.   Doug Friesen thinks so too and is taking on the job of Ersland’s appeal of his life sentence conviction.


We know that gun ownership can ensure we make it out physically alive.  Doug Friesen’s Second Amendment Plan may be just the thing to ensure we also legally survive

Have a look at Friesen’s plan and his website at www.yourgunlawyer.com

Narconon Arrowhead Client Requires Police Assistance to Get Away

Kaye Beach

July 20, 2012

Narconon Arrowhead, a drug rehabilitation center located in Canadian Oklahoma is a front group for Scientology, a fact that is not revealed to prospective patients when they check in. Regina Ramsey paid $27, 000 to enter the facility and says she was forced to read the Scientology bible.  When she wanted to leave, she says the counselors at Narconon wouldn’t let her.   Checking in at Narconon is easy if not cheap, checking out however, can be a nightmare.  Yesterday marked the fourth unexplained death in three years at the facility. Three of those deaths have been within in the last year.

Regina Ramsey’s mother was forced to call on police assistance to extricate her daughter from the facility but it is reported that Oklahoma officials are now  giving the dubious Scientology enclave some long overdue attention.

Read and view the Fox 25 report

Cops Want ARMED Drones!

Kaye Beach

May 23, 2012

Well, you’d have thought that they would wait until the things had been flying over us awhile before they would start talking about arming them but NO!  We have given them too many inches now and predictably, they are taking their miles.

Groups Concerned Over Arming Of Domestic Drones

May 23, 2012 1:18 PM

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the use of domestic drones increasing, concern has not just come up over privacy issues, but also over the potential use of lethal force by the unmanned aircraft.

Drones have been used overseas to target and kill high-level terror leaders and are also being used along the U.S.-Mexico border in the battle against illegal immigration. But now, these drones are starting to be used domestically at an increasing rate.

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras.

Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.

“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” McDaniel told The Daily.

Read more of this insanity HERE

IACP 2010: Airborne support for law enforcement that won’t break the bank

Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk provides a serious strategic advantage for any agency that deploys it

“Yes, Virginia, We Can See — and Shoot — You From Up Here

Do you know who voted to release 30, 000 drones in US skies?

HR 658, the “Federal Aviation Administration Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act” was passed by both Houses and signed by the President on Feb 14, 2012

Oklahoma Senators
Yea   R Coburn, Thomas OK
Yea   R Inhofe, James “Jim” OK
Oklahoma House
Aye   R Sullivan, John OK 1st
No   D Boren, Dan OK 2nd
Aye   R Lucas, Frank OK 3rd
No Vote   R Cole, Tom OK 4th
Aye   R Lankford, James OK 5th

Minnesota-Drug evaluator program suspended by Public Safety Commissioner

Kaye Beach

May 9, 2012

Last week I posted an unbelievable story on the police actually providing drugs to Occupy protester, Why are the COPS Giving Drugs to Occupy Protesters?

Here is a follow up from The Downtown Journal posted today.

Drug evaluator program suspended by Public Safety Commissioner

UPDATED May 9, 2012, 11:07am

By Nick Halter

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman has suspended the state’s Drug Evaluation and Classification program and launched an investigation of the program amidst allegations that officers gave drugs to people.

In a press release, Dohman announced that an officer said he witnessed a Hutchinson police officer giving marijuana to the subject of the DEC program. She’s directing her department’s Internal Affairs Division to investigate, and also said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has launched a criminal investigation.

The investigations come less than a week after OcuppyMN protesters posted a video on YouTube showing out-state law enforcement agencies persuading protesters to get into the cruisers. The protesters say in the video that officers gave them drugs at a Richfield location.

Read more

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

Kaye Beach

April, 14, 2012

Best Buy (and Victoria’s Secret and The Finish Line and many other stores!) Requires Govt. Issued Photo ID for ALL Returns.

The ID card data is swiped, stored and shared with a third party  to track customer purchases and “to monitor the return behavior of shoppers; and warn or deny individuals flagged as questionable” Link to The Retail Equation, Inc.’s brochure


Best Buy’s return policy;

Returns Tracking

When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. . .


. . . And how do we like it so far?

I’m Done With Best Buy Thanks to The Retail Equation

03-18-2012 02:37 PM

I am a premier silver member and have been for several years.  In November of last year, I received a warning in store that I could not make any returns at Best Buy for 90 days.  So for the next 90 days I did not make any purchases at Best Buy.

Yesterday, I spent over 700.00 on the new Ipad and an Invisible Shield.  The Invisible Shield was not installed correctly and Best Buy decided to give me a refund.  Keep in mind that this was only 29.99 of the amount I spent.  This was the first purchase I have made since the 90 days had expired.  I figured that I could return something that was actually not working correctly and be fine.  However I received another warning today saying that I could not return anything for 90 days even though the product was not working correctly.

It sounds like The Retail Equation (TRE) does not take into consideration that some returns might be valid due to defective products.  All TRE looks at is how many returns and that is not a fair way to evaluate whether someone is abusing a return policy.   In the end, Best Buy has lost a premier silver member.  Amazon and other online retailers will gladly accept my business going forward.  Best Buy seriously needs to find another way to evaluate returns instead of TRE.  Their method simply does not work.


Another unhappy Best Buy customer is suing them over their “swiping” policy.

How does this work?  According to the Retail Equation, Inc.,

“The technology’s predictive modeling measured the likelihood of fraudulent or abusive behavior, as well as the likelihood of a consumer’s profitability”

 Predictive Analytics

From Wikipedia  Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

Data mining and predictive analytics is being used in just about every aspect of our lives.  Predictive analytics applies a mathematical formula to masses of data to predict what a person is more or less likely to do in the future.  Decisions are being made that affects our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, every day.

For example, in our schools;

“They use their technology infrastructure to gather and analyze data on the factors that are most predictive of students who are in danger of school failure and/or dropping out.  . . .As a result, the district has forged new partnerships with local law enforcement agencies”

From the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development pg 26

If you think it stinks when you are misidentified as a naughty shopper, wait till you are misidentified as a “troubled individual”

Technology identifies troubled individuals

Sept 26, 2010

Imagine using the same technology to locate a lone bomber before he carries out his terrorist act and to identify a troubled veteran or first responder ground down by tragedies and violence.

Stop imagining.

A Swiss professor working with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who heads the Mind Machine Project there outlined how this program operates through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms.

. . . Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.

He said lone bombers, in particular, are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes, Guidere explained, can be identified by the computer program.

The practical side is that once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin. . .

Read more

The burgeoning use of driver’s license scanning devices makes tracking and monitoring of the population much easier.  When these data are held in separate databases there are plenty of security and privacy concerns but if the databases are linked or matched with other databases or shared-watch out!  The negative implications explode at that point.

In case you are wondering just what information is in those bar codes on your driver’s license, here is a link for you to follow and find out.

And here is a great article from 2002 which is ancient history from a technology capability perspective, but it does a great job of allowing us to begin to consider the implications of widespread scanning of our government issued photo ID’s .

Welcome to the Database Lounge

Published: March 21, 2002

ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.

But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.

”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”

Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.”

Read More

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .


TSA tests ID-scanning machines at Washington Dulles

April 14, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration began an experiment today at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to check identification and boarding passes by machine rather than just the visual check by officers.

While TSA officers have been checking identification with black-lights and magnifying glasses, the machines are geared to recognize all valid identification, ranging from driver’s license or passport to tribal identification or foreign passport.

“For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini, TSA director of checkpoint technology. “We think it’s a valuable technology and we think over time we will see the real value added.”

The machine doesn’t store any personal information about the passenger, according to Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.

Gee.  When have we heard that before?

Although TSA has repeatedly stated that the scanners were “incapable of storing or transmitting” scanner images, despite specification data to the contrary provided by the respective manufacturers. In August 2010 EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) discovered that the TSA had stored over 2,000 images, which the agency quickly claimed were of “volunteers” without specifying who compose this group or whether any were passengers who had “voluntarily” used the scanners in the testing phase.

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The TSA is conducting the driver’s license “experiment” at Dulles, Houston and Puerto Rico but hopes to eventually “expand the program to every airport checkpoint” Read more

At some point in the not-so-distant-future, we will be required to show and/or swipe our driver’s license for just about everything we as humans need to live.  As the process grows more and more automated and the data is digitized, we will find our movements, transactions and habits logged and our lives tracked and documented.    Data mining and predictive analytics will be applied to nearly everything we do.  The purpose of such credentialing processes is to allow some access and deny others, deemed unworthy by algorithm, access.

In 2010 I was repeatedly denied the ability to pay for my purchases by check due to a company called Certegy’s algorithm which decided that since I rarely write checks but had written several during the Christmas shopping season, this indicated that I was untrustworthy and that stores should not accept my checks.  The year before, I was denied the privilege of renting a car because my credit score was too low.  My credit score is low because I don’t buy on credit!  I wasn’t asking to pay for the rental with credit either.  I offered my debit card.

Chances are you have experienced similar incidents.  Chances are that we have encountered other bumps in the road of life when no explanation for the problem was ever given but likely there was some algorithm behind it.  This is our future.  In health care, travel, purchases, renting or buying our homes, anything information about us that can be digitized can be factored in to determine whether or not we measure up.  This is nothing short of destiny management.

With the governments unhealthy focus on security at all costs, we can expect things to get more and more complicated as the practice of tracking and tracing and databasing everything we do grows. Woe to those that are unfortunate enough to be perceived as a possible threat or have a data trail that makes them appear less than an ideal citizen in the eyes of Big Momma Gov. who is no longer willing to wait for us to actually do something wrong before she pounces.  This government (and its partner corporations) wants to play psychic and limit our opportunities based on some supposed prescient power that indicates that we are more likely to do something naughty in the first place.

How do we exercise our free will when it is being effectively pre-empted?