Criminology and Economic Theory
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Drone 'kills Pakistan Taliban chief'

Drone 'kills Pakistan Taliban chief' | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Pakistani Taliban's second-in-command has been killed in a suspected US drone strike, a senior militant source tells the BBC.

Via @NewDayStarts
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Melissa's curator insight, November 5, 2013 12:16 AM

I am a strong supporter of drone attacks on terrorist.  This guy killed 9 people in 2009 and should have been killed sooner.  The more terrorist killed the better off Americans are.  They contiue to plan attacks on innocent poeople and spread hate for no logical reason.

 

 

Joshua Livingston's comment, November 11, 2013 12:44 AM
I have no problem with the use of drones to attack people. As much as people want to say that killing is wrong, it comes down to mainly one thing let the other guy die for his country rather than one of our men die for ours.
Michael McColley's comment, November 15, 2013 1:21 AM
I remember hearing about this in the news when it first happened. I think it's good that we got rid of one the top terrorists in the world and especially when how much Pakistani Taliban help the Afghanistan Taliban out over here. Having said that how far does this go though we gonna start using this kind of stuff on American soil cause i bet we do.
Criminology and Economic Theory
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I know what you’ll do next summer

I know what you’ll do next summer | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
ON WHAT does the administration of justice depend? Devotees of the Old Testament might say wisdom, as displayed in King Solomon’s judgment. Others might say a dispassionate objectivity. It also requires the threat of punishment—the basis of the modern state’s coercive power to enforce laws. But John Fielding knew that, before administrators of justice could mete out punishment or exercise wisdom, they needed something else: information.

Together with his half-brother Henry (a magistrate better remembered as the author of “Tom Jones”), in 1749 Fielding founded the Bow Street Runners, London’s—and the world’s—first professional police force, paid for largely with public funds. Information was at the centre of everything Fielding did. He retained descriptions of suspected criminals, for instance, as well as a “watch book”, which contained details of expensive timepieces to help prevent their resale if stolen.

The world’s most famous detective shared Fielding’s view; Sherlock Holmes retained an extensive indexed library of criminals and their crimes. The delight readers took in following him—a delight that makes crime fiction one of the great literary genres—also had information at its heart. What is a clue? What is a red herring? How does justice work? We pay homage to that tradition with the graphic story that illustrates these pages.

In fact as in fiction, the trend has continued. The Metropolitan police department, which has patrolled Washington, DC, since 1861, retains annual reports detailing crimes in each precinct. American homicide detectives record details of their cases in “murder books”, which are then filed for future consultation.

Historically, gathering information was an arduous process, requiring innumerable conversations, many of which later proved to be irrelevant; hours staking out a subject; researching documents and testimony; and reams of tedious paperwork. In illiberal countries, where governments do not care about their citizens’ civil rights, police could easily tap phones and open letters. Liberal countries make that harder; police who want to listen to someone’s phone calls can do so only for limited periods and specific purposes, and then only with judicial approval.

It’s not Cagney and Lacey

Now the relationship between information and crime has changed in two ways, one absolute, one relative. In absolute terms, people generate more searchable information than they used to. Smartphones passively track and record where people go, who they talk to and for how long; their apps reveal subtler personal information, such as their political views, what they like to read and watch and how they spend their money. As more appliances and accoutrements become networked, so the amount of information people inadvertently create will continue to grow.

To track a suspect’s movements and conversations, police chiefs no longer need to allocate dozens of officers for round-the-clock stakeouts. They just need to seize the suspect’s phone and bypass its encryption. If he drives, police cars, streetlights and car parks equipped with automatic number-plate readers (ANPRs, known in America as automatic licence-plate readers or ALPRs) can track all his movements.

In relative terms, the gap between information technology and policy gapes ever wider. Most privacy laws were written for the age of postal services and fixed-line telephones. Courts give citizens protection from governments entering their homes or rifling through their personal papers. The law on people’s digital presence is less clear. In most liberal countries, police still must convince a judge to let them eavesdrop on phone calls.

But mobile-phone “metadata”—not the actual conversations, but data about who was called and when—enjoy less stringent protections. In 2006 the European Union issued a directive requiring telecom firms to retain customer metadata for up to two years for use in potential crime investigations. The European Court of Justice invalidated that law in 2014, after numerous countries challenged it in court, saying that it interfered with “the fundamental rights to respect for private life”. Today data-retention laws vary widely in Europe. Laws, and their interpretation, are changing in America, too. A case before the Supreme Court will determine whether police need a warrant to obtain metadata.

Less shoe leather

If you drive in a city anywhere in the developed world, ANPRs are almost certainly tracking you. This is not illegal. Police do not generally need a warrant to follow someone in public. However, people not suspected of committing a crime do not usually expect authorities to amass terabytes of data on every person they have met and every business visited. ANPRs offer a lot of that.

To some people, this may not matter. Toplines, an Israeli ANPR firm, wants to add voice- and facial-recognition to its Bluetooth-enabled cameras, and install them on private vehicles, turning every car on the road into a “mobile broadcast system” that collects and transmits data to a control centre that security forces can access. Its founder posits that insurance-rate discounts could incentivise drivers to become, in effect, freelance roving crime-detection units for the police, subjecting unwitting citizens to constant surveillance. In answer to a question about the implications of such data for privacy, a Toplines employee shrugs: Facebook and WhatsApp are spying on us anyway, he says. If the stream of information keeps people safer, who could object? “Privacy is dead.”

It is not. But this dangerously complacent attitude brings its demise ever closer. One of the effects technology has on law enforcement is to render its actions less visible. You would notice if a policeman took photos of every parked car and pedestrian on your street. But ANPRs and body-worn cameras (“bodycams”) let officers do that as an unnoticed matter of course. That makes speaking up about privacy concerns more important, not less.


Technology used responsibly and benignly by one country or agency can be used for sinister purposes by another. Activists in, say, Sweden or New Zealand may have few concerns that police will use their technological prowess to arrest them on trumped-up charges, because rule of law is strong and those governments generally respect citizens’ civil liberties. Activists in China or Russia have far more to fear.

Some people argue that those who have done nothing wrong need not worry. But that justifies limitless state surveillance, and risks a chilling effect on citizens’ fundamental civil liberties. After all, if you are not planning crimes while talking on the phone, why not just let police officers listen to every call? Police need oversight not because they are bad people but because maintaining the appropriate balance between liberty and security requires constant vigilance by engaged citizens. This is doubly true for new technologies that make police better at their jobs when policy, due process and public opinion have not caught up.

This report will examine the promise and the dangers of those technologies. It explores several arenas in which technology is radically changing how the justice system operates—in street-level surveillance, the ease with which law enforcement can bypass encryption, the use of electronic monitoring as an alternative to prison, and the introduction of algorithms by police and courts.

It examines technology’s effects on crime and criminals, and on innocent people caught up in a tech-dominated approach to policing. The report does not demand the wholesale rejection of these technologies. Instead it calls for rigorous oversight, which has been shown to benefit both citizens and law enforcement, and which is the only way to ensure that, in their quest for security, societies do not inadvertently surrender too much liberty.
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California considers taking custody of some street people - A fine balance

California considers taking custody of some street people - A fine balance | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

A bill before the state legislature must weigh legal rights against well-being


Print edition | United States
May 31st 2018 | SAN FRANCISCO
IN 1967 Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, signed into law the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, an ambitious reform of the state’s mental-health laws. It was part of a wave of changes that closed asylums in the state and around the country. Half a century later, the state legislature is reviewing those decisions.

In February Scott Wiener, a state senator who represents San Francisco, introduced Senate Bill 1045. The bill aims to make it easier for his home city, as well as Los Angeles, to oblige chronically homeless people who suffer from mental illness or addiction to accept the appointment by a judge of a person or institution to look after them (a concept called “conservatorship”). London Breed, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, has backed the proposal.

The bill would affect between 40 and 60 homeless people in San Francisco, reckons Barbara Garcia of the city’s Public Health Department. That is less than 1% of its official homeless population. Along with a number of similar bills aimed at loosening the legislation of 1967—including two that would expand the “gravely disabled” standard for involuntary treatment—it represents a shift in ideas about how to care for addicted or mentally ill homeless people. But it raises the knotty problem of balancing an individual’s mental health against their civil liberties.

Current law in California allows authorities to confine those who are gravely disabled or present a danger to themselves for, at first, 72 hours, then an additional 14 days and then a further 30 days. But if patients show a minimal degree of competence—finding food and clothing, for example—at the end of any of those periods, they must be released. Many relapse, and some end up in the arms of the law. “Mentally ill people are still being institutionalised,” says Dominic Sisti of the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of a paper arguing for the return of asylums. “They are just in jails.”

The fate of the bill may eventually be determined by public opinion. California’s homeless population has become both more visible and, with the presence of drugs like fentanyl, more violently unpredictable. That may be moving legislators to embrace what Mr Sisti terms a “parentalist” mode of care: Mr Wiener’s bill passed its first three committees by 6-1, 7-0 and 5-2 votes.

Rob Duke's insight:

See David Rothman's excellent: "The Discovery of the Asylum: Order and Disorder in the New Republic" for the history that led up to a widespread abandoning of the asylum in the U.S.

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DeVos: School Safety Panel Will Not Study Role of Guns - Campus Safety

DeVos: School Safety Panel Will Not Study Role of Guns - Campus Safety | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?” he asked.


Related: 12 School Security Ideas You Can Implement Today
“That is not part of the commission’s charge per se,” DeVos responded. “We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school.”

“So you are studying gun violence, but not considering the role of guns,” Leahy retorted.

He later asked DeVos whether she believes an 18-year-old high school student should be able to purchase an AR-15-style assault weapon, which has been used in many recent mass shootings.

“I believe that’s very much a matter for debate,” DeVos replied.

Additionally, DeVos said that the commission will not look into best practices of foreign nations that have much lower rates of gun violence when asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat. Since 2009, the United States has had 57 times more school shootings than other G-7 countries combined, Shaheen said.

DeVos said the panel will examine 27 different issues surrounding school safety but did not elaborate, according to The Sun Sentinel. The commission aims to produce a report on best practices by the end of the year.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:11 AM
I fail to see the need to specify different types of violence in such cases. Violence can come from anyone in any form using any tool. A hammer is a tool, a knife is a tool, a firearm is a tool, people are the source of violence.
Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:22 AM
This woman makes no sense. Clearly the problem is guns yet she doesn't want to focus on that. If that's the case then what is the point of analyzing any sort of violence in the schools? This entire administration is a mess and I really do not understand how this happened. She knows nothing about public schools and is doing nothing for them. This is a disgrace and utterly embarrassing.
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Supreme Court rules for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding cake case - CNNPolitics

Supreme Court rules for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding cake case - CNNPolitics | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs. The ruling is a win for baker Jack Phillips, who cited his beliefs as a Christian, but leaves unsettled broader constitutional questions on religious liberty.
"Today's decision is remarkably narrow, and leaves for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "It's hard to see the decision setting a precedent."
The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed animus toward Phillips specifically when they suggested his claims of religious freedom was made to justify discrimination.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:06 AM
There must be some deeper insecurities at play to take such a small matter so far. The man is running a private business and has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.
Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:15 AM
I honestly wish that people would just let others live their lives. There are so many other important issues to discuss in the country and we focus on the most insignificant ones and wonder why nothing is achieved.
Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 11:00 PM
This case went way too far. Business owners have a right to refuse service to anyone. I feel bad for the gay couple that the man did not want to bake them a cake for their wedding but the man did offer to make something else for them, going against his religious beliefs. I feel bad for all parties involved but you have to respect a person's Christian beliefs whether or not you agree with them or not.
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LA County orders review of at least $60 million in leases implicated in bribery scandal, includes 4 El Monte buildings –

LA County orders review of at least $60 million in leases implicated in bribery scandal, includes 4 El Monte buildings – | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A county employee told federal investigators there was an exchange of money while negotiating the leases at least four buildings in El Monte, one in Pasadena, one in Hawthorne and one in Los Angele…
Rob Duke's insight:

A common WCC....for bids, for leases, for contracts for services...sales reps know that they can sometimes offer perks (trips to vegas, small electronics, etc.) in quid pro quo trade for preferred treatment.

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US millionaire charged with labourer's nuclear bunker death

Daniel Beckwitt, 27, had been building the bunker because of his fear of "international threats, including from North Korea", his lawyer said.

In September, 21-year-old Askia Khafra died after a fire broke out in a network of tunnels under the house.

Mr Beckwitt was charged with involuntary manslaughter last week.

Officials in Bethesda, Maryland - a wealthy suburb of Washington DC - have also charged Mr Beckwitt with "depraved heart second-degree murder" because they say he acted with wanton disregard for human life.
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The Supreme Court Is Stubbornly Analog — By Design

The Supreme Court Is Stubbornly Analog — By Design | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court is an openly — even proudly — technophobic institution. Cameras are forbidden, which means there are no images or videos from high-profile cases, and briefs and other legal filings only recently became available at the court’s website. Chief Justice John Roberts argued in 2014 that these Luddite tendencies are just part of the legal system: “The courts will always be prudent whenever it comes to embracing the ‘next big thing.’” The justices — who communicate mostly on paper, rather than via email — can sometimes seem as analog as the institution they serve. There was the moment when in a 2014 case about cell phone privacy, Justice Samuel Alito asked what would happen if a suspect were carrying personal information on a “compact disc.” That same year, Justice Stephen Breyer was ribbed for spinning out an extended hypothetical about a “phonograph record store.”

There are systemic reasons for the court’s reluctant approach to technology — American law is a backward-looking enterprise even outside the highest court. But regardless of why it’s happening, legal scholars say the consequences are clear: When Supreme Court justices lack an understanding of what technology means for the lives of the people affected by their decisions, they will struggle to respond effectively to technological change.
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Judge Tosses Convicted Officer's Civil Rights Suit Against LA County

Following her arrest in 2013, Long – a 23-year employee of the department – was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI. She unsuccessfully appealed her conviction to the Ninth Circuit and began serving her two-year prison sentence in April 2017.

Fitzgerald dismissed Long’s case without leave to amend due to her conviction.

“If plaintiff were to succeed in this lawsuit it would necessarily imply the invalidity of her prior, Ninth Circuit-affirmed criminal conviction and is thus barred by Heck v. Humphrey and its progeny,” Fitzgerald wrote in the 12-page ruling. “No amount of tinkering with the complaint (absent filing an entirely different lawsuit) could change that, so leave to amend is unwarranted.”

In 2011, the FBI in conjunction with a federal grand jury investigated the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for alleged civil rights abuses in county jails.

Over six weeks in August and September 2011, Baca conspired with those under his command, including Long, to thwart the FBI investigation by sending officers to FBI agents’ homes threatening arrest. He also hid the FBI’s informant within the jail system.

In addition to Long, the case took down Baca, his undersheriff and several others in the department.
Rob Duke's insight:

It's difficult for lower employees to use the "I'm just following orders", thus they disproportionately are held accountable for WCC.  In this case, former-Sheriff Baca and his command staff were held accountable.

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Devon Smale's comment, June 3, 2:55 PM
I agree. Long knew what she was getting into and only when busted did she decide to file a lawsuit claiming that she was just following orders. This is an example of how ignorance of the law and your job is just plain ignorance and does not mean that just because you followed orders that you get a pass for your crime without paying the cost. She got what she deserved for sure.
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A rare bipartisan moment allows a timid rollback of banking regulation - Doddering on

A rare bipartisan moment allows a timid rollback of banking regulation - Doddering on | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

REPUBLICANS in the House of Representatives had hoped to cut a swathe through the Dodd-Frank act, a titanic set of financial regulations passed in 2010 in the wake of the 2007-09 crisis. The “Financial Choice Act”, drafted last year, would have lessened bureaucratic oversight and relied more on stiff capital requirements. Responsibilities and penalties would have been made clearer and regulators’ discretionary powers would have been reined in. President Donald Trump, who had promised on the campaign trail to “do a number on Dodd-Frank”, was effusive when the House endorsed the Choice Act last year.

But the bill approved by the House on May 22nd, and expected soon to be signed into law by Mr Trump, is a distinctly tamer affair. It moves the line between big, systemically risky banks and the rest, set in Dodd-Frank at $50bn in assets, to $250bn. That cuts the number of institutions subjected to stress tests and stricter supervision from 38 to 12. It also eases some restrictions on proprietary trading. But only the very smallest banks will be allowed to substitute higher capital for strict regulation. Even as bold thinking was thrown out, one truly bad idea made it in, presumably under pressure from representatives from heavily indebted states. Municipal bonds will be granted special treatment in the composition of bank capital, incentivising lenders to load up on them.

Greater ambition was foiled by the need to gain support from at least some Democrats. They made it clear that sweeping measures would doom the entire bill. If Jeb Hensarling, head of the House Financial Services Committee and the primary author of the Choice Act, added “a bunch of crazy shit, [the bill] is going to die”, said Jon Tester, a Democratic senator. Changing as little as a full stop would end the law’s chances of passing, one congressman says he was told by a colleague in the Senate. Republicans took what they could get. Mr Hensarling was promised a vote on a package of other proposals, but there appears to be little appetite for a second round.

Deregulation continues by other, less obstacle-strewn routes, however. On May 21st Mr Trump signed the repeal of a directive imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on car lending under the previous administration. Because it came into force near the end of Barack Obama’s time in office, it was subject to congressional review under Mr Trump. Many in Washington, and inside the banks, say that the way federal agencies wield power under the new administration has changed: for its supporters, becoming more reasonable and judicious; for opponents, becoming more cursory and irresponsible.

One consequence is that the pressure to rip up Dodd-Frank has eased, not least because the big banks have built vast compliance operations which they believe give them an edge over smaller rivals. A renewed deregulatory push is generally thought unlikely unless the Republicans retain or increase their hold on both branches of Congress in the mid-terms, or prevail in the 2020 presidential election.

There is another possibility. Gains by Democrats in the mid-terms could lead to pricklier supervision and more zealous enforcement of Dodd-Frank provisions. That in turn could re-whet appetite for a big deregulatory push, says a former supervisor. A lasting rollback of the rules needs legislation, not just forbearance.

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The paper that poisoned its printers - From bling to blistering

The paper that poisoned its printers - From bling to blistering | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

IT WAS a lovely idea: for the coronation of Queen Victoria on June 28th 1838, an entrepreneur thought a paper printed in golden-hued ink would make for a lucrative keepsake. The Sun (no relation to today’s tabloid of the same name) partnered with this businessman, Thomas de la Rue, a printer who also dabbled in making straw hats and paper bonnets. He had experimented with inks, and came up with a compound that gave enough of an appearance of gilding to do the trick.

The so-called “Golden Sun” was an astonishing hit. It went through 20 editions and sold an estimated 250,000 copies—an astonishing number at that time. The reverse of the new queen’s portrait was left unprinted, so it could be cut out and mounted; the September 1840 issue of Monthly Belle Assemblée noted that the portrait appeared in a museum its correspondent visited in St Omer, France, alongside more ancient artefacts. (De La Rue’s company survives to this day under that name, and prints banknotes and passports, among other things. It recently objected to the Home Office picking a French-Dutch firm to print post-Brexit passports.)

Even 180 years later, the newspaper still looks a treat. Prospero recently got a peek at a surviving copy at the St Bride Printing Library, a piece of late 19th-century printing history just off Fleet Street, London journalism’s ancestral home. The library’s manager, Bob Richardson (pictured below), keeps this copy of the Sun in the institution’s teaching collection both for the rarity of a newspaper printed in this hue, and as a cautionary tale. It made its printers violently ill.

It was common for printers to come down with ailments of all sorts. Before the professions of typesetters and pressmen split, most printers were jacks-of-all-trades, completing apprenticeships that required they learn every task in a printing office. This brought them in constant contact with lead, antimony, other heavy metals, and toxic ingredients and solvents.

The December 1879 issue of the Printers’ Circular noted as a miscellaneous item with little reflection on its importance:

In the course of a lecture on the “Effects of Occupations upon Health,” recently delivered at Leipsic [sic], by Dr Heubner, he drew attention to the frequency of lead poisoning among type founders, compositors, and pressmen…Type founders are poisoned by inhaling the fumes of the metal, while compositors and pressmen inhale minute particles of the same material. Fraught with still greater danger is, however, the frequent practice of compositors of bringing their type-stained hands in contact with their lips or keeping eatables in composing rooms, etc.

In the Circular’s April 1879 issue, under obituaries, the item appears: “A printer in Avoca, Iowa, has died of poison from holding type in his mouth.”

But De la Rue's golden hue was far worse for those men and women employed in its manufacture than lead had been. The impact would have been lost to history, save that Dr Gurney Turney wrote a letter in October 1838 in the London Medical Gazette about a 19-year-old patient, John Oakley. Oakley presented himself on July 17th with symptoms including “itching of the scrotum”, “inflamed sebaceous follicles” and pubic and head hair that had turned a “grass-green colour”. The boy had vomited a greenish fluid, his oesophagus was constricted and hot, and he had stomach pain. The doctor determined he was working in the printing office in which the “Golden Sun” was printed. Turney, his letter went on, had asked to visit the plant. There were no health-and-safety inspectors ticketing violators at the time, so the bosses happily let him in. 

De La Rue didn’t create an ink, as his gold-hued materials were too stiff to use directly for the relief printing method required. Instead, the papers were printed with a pale, tacky receiving medium like the sizing used by painters to prepare a canvas. Workers dusted on the golden-hued powder while the papers remained wet and brushed off the excess. The air must have been dense with the dust. A dozen workers told Turney of suffering Oakley’s symptoms and worse. The doctor was unable to get a sample of the powder, as its maker considered it proprietary.

His report was taken up in the mainstream press, and he received letters from more of those afflicted. In a later article in the Gazette, in February 1839, Turney wrote that he’d determined the ink was made from brass filings. One informant relayed a secondhand report that the men who created the brass filings “died off like rotten sheep” in its creation. Another noted that he was seized by pain and seizures, as were other workers. As many as 40 people had handled the gilding.


The lifespan of these workers after this is unknown. Oakley returned for a couple of visits after his initial treatment and appeared much improved (though still greenish) about 10 days later. But then he failed to reappear thereafter. No other reports survive, and printers of that day didn’t have long and happy lives in any case.

No worries for Mr Richardson or others who handle the “Golden Sun” today. The inert substance wedded to paper seems to pose no threat—no reports emerged of readers being poisoned by the paper, and collectors seem to have suffered no ills. But Mr Richardson is a bit chary nonetheless when he holds the newspaper—perhaps due to its age and fragility, or perhaps in memory of those poisoned printers.

Rob Duke's insight:

Worker safety was once handled pretty sloppily....

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Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson: 'The Music Industry Exploited Its Customers' - Blabbermouth.net

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson: 'The Music Industry Exploited Its Customers' - Blabbermouth.net | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, Dickinson told Comebackstage that "Napster destroyed the concept of music having any value, which is terrible. I think the guy [who started Napster] should be locked up, and maybe he has been — he deserves to be," he said. "It was an act of pure selfish destruction. And what he did was he used the enthusiasm of the audience… Because the audience is not guilty — they could get all this great music for free. Why wouldn't they do that? They didn't realize that what they were doing was destroying an entire culture… And it's hard to see where a whole generation of musicians is gonna come from now. People who are brilliant musicians don't get paid for doing amazing jobs."

Bruce said in a 2015 interview that streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music benefit established artists more than they do the aspiring ones who have yet to break through.
Rob Duke's insight:

A great example of a complex business that has given rise to accusations of White Collar Crime.

When I was a kid, we recorded directly from the radio, but only if: 1. we were unable to afford the music; 2. only until we were sure the album was worth the money.

The key here was that we got the hit for free, but were enticed to pay for the album when there were several hits or the album had good word of mouth (usually from DJ's on the radio--which really no longer exist in the age of computerized robo-dj's).

It's difficult for me to wrap my mind around, Dickinson's accusation that Napster killed the music industry.  I think there's a bunch of different factors working together.  How about you?  Would you send the Napster execs to jail?

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D. Bringhurst's comment, June 4, 1:31 AM
"The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000." This FBI warning appears before any American movie we watch. This standard applies to all intellectual property valued over $1500 as well. What really bothers me is the fact that Napster got the American public to do their thieving for them, and the public was paid for their services. It's both impressive and appalling to me. Stealing someone else's property is against the law: always has been. The execs of Napster used the property of others to make a profit. Wrong will always be wrong. This was a white-collar crime at its finest!
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The Rich Drive Differently, a Study Suggests - The New York Times

The Rich Drive Differently, a Study Suggests - The New York Times | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A Berkeley study found most drivers did the right thing when confronted with a pedestrian or other drivers, but those in expensive cars made more infractions.
Rob Duke's insight:

Ah, so maybe it's not simply about institutions, but also about the characteristics of the offenders?

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William Kelley's comment, June 3, 11:06 PM
It seems as though the author is suggesting a connection between the drivers of luxury cars and the environmentally conscious drivers. I did find it interesting, however, that all drivers were more likely to stop for a female pedestrian.
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ENRON'S COLLAPSE: THE OVERVIEW; ARTHUR ANDERSEN FIRES AN EXECUTIVE FOR ENRON ORDERS - The New York Times

ENRON'S COLLAPSE: THE OVERVIEW; ARTHUR ANDERSEN FIRES AN EXECUTIVE FOR ENRON ORDERS - The New York Times | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Arthur Andersen accounting firm dismisses David B Duncan, partner in charge of auditing Enron Corp, saying he ordered destruction of thousands of documents and e-mail messages on Oct 23 after Enron disclosed that Securities and Exchange Commission was probing its accounting; destruction apparently did not stop until his assistant ordered halt on Nov 9; House committee releases full text of letter by Enron vice president Sherron S Watkins warning chairman Kenneth L Lay that complicated, largely undisclosed deals with partnerships set up by Enron officials helped inflate stock price and would be found to be accounting hoax that could destroy company; Vinson & Elkins, law firm asked by Enron to probe her charges, issued Oct report finding Andersen auditors reviewed and approved deals, which later contributed to Enron's collapse; Watkins also held law firm had conflict of interest because of its role in advising Enron on some of deals; chronology of events; photo (M)
Rob Duke's insight:

And, here's some info on the Enron Scandal....

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Podcast: Unintended consequences of California's Prop 47

Proposition 47 downgraded a variety of crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Here are the problems its created for citizens and police.
Rob Duke's insight:

Perhaps unintended, but foreseeable.  Anytime we change institutions, we know there will be a leveling by the "market" (see the Coase theorem).  This isn't necessarily just or fair, but it will be an approximation of efficient.  Thus, when we shifted the risk and cost of controlling the public space away from offenders to citizens and the police, it's only natural that we'd see some criminals "consume" more crime.  This isn't a perfect market, so we also know that people prefer a lower risk lifestyle if that's made available, so Prop. 47 might have worked under circumstances where more opportunity was provided to choose work over crime, but California didn't provide much in the way of alternatives.

 

Note: a similar argument could be made for Alaska's SB91, though from my own perspective more thought and effort was put into reform in Alaska than in California.

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Troopers search Nenana government offices for evidence of 'malfeasance' | Local News | newsminer.com

Troopers search Nenana government offices for evidence of 'malfeasance' | Local News | newsminer.com | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
FAIRBANKS—City government offices in Nenana were searched today by the Alaska State Troopers Financial Crime Unit, according to a troopers spokeswoman.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:01 AM
It is not often we hear of cases like this in such a small town. It really proves to show that any type of crime can be found anywhere and nothing should be out past someone based off location of isolation to outside resources.
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Scottsdale, Arizona killings: Retired detective's hunch leads to suspect Dwight Lamon Jones - CBS News

Scottsdale, Arizona killings: Retired detective's hunch leads to suspect Dwight Lamon Jones - CBS News | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A hunch from a retired detective helped lead police to a man suspected of shooting six people to death in the Phoenix area, some of whom were connected to his divorce, authorities said after the assailant killed himself with officers closing in. A round-the-clock investigation that began late last week led police Monday to an extended-stay hotel in suburban Scottsdale where 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones was staying. As officers approached, they heard gunfire and found his body.

Jones' victims included a well-known forensic psychiatrist who testified against him in court in 2010, two paralegals who worked for the law office that represented the suspect's wife, a marriage-and-divorce counselor who was apparently targeted in a case of mistaken identity and another man and woman who have not been identified, authorities said.

In an unexpected twist, the suspect's ex-wife, Connie Jones, said her current husband, a retired police detective, made the connection between her divorce and the crime scenes and notified police of his suspicion Saturday night.
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Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 10:50 PM
I am wondering what took so long for the man to commit these killings against people who were involved in his divorce. I feel sorry for the people who died and I feel bad for the ex-wife who lived in fear of her ex-husband for 8 years. Since case reminds me of the movie Law Abiding Citizen because, even though the man's wife was killed, the husband waited 10 years before seeking revenge on everyone who was involved in his wife and daughter's murder. It makes me wonder if the man took notes from this movie because the scenario is pretty close to being the same.
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Low Level Charges Filed in Skid Row Voter Fraud Case

One of three men accused of offering cash and cigarettes to homeless people in exchange for voting form forgeries -- has already pleaded guilty to violating the state elections code, prosecutors said Thursday.
Rob Duke's insight:

Here's a perfect example of a "modern" WCC: this case is technically work related and, therefore, a WCC; but these guys are all minimum wage signature takers.  Should this really be considered a WCC?  Edwin Sutherland would argue that this is not any special type of crime that requires "new" theory--what say you?

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Commonwealth Bank offers to pay record fine in laundering case

Australia's largest lender was accused of breaching money laundering and terror financing laws.
Rob Duke's insight:

This sounds about right for Australia where they've been pursuing a "reintegrative shaming" response for years on the advice of an Australian academic, John Braithwaite.

 

See Braithwaite's ideas here:\

http://johnbraithwaite.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Restorative-Justice-and-Respon.pdf

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Donald Trump Says He'll Pardon Dinesh D'Souza : The Two-Way : NPR

Donald Trump Says He'll Pardon Dinesh D'Souza : The Two-Way : NPR | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
President Trump said the conservative commentator was "treated very unfairly by our government." He also said he is considering pardons for Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rob Duke's insight:

More evidence that WCC is not treated the same as traditional crime.

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Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:18 AM
Okay I am really confused as to why this man is focusing on so many things at once. There are things happening in the present day with people being deported simply because he doesn't them and this is what he's doing with his time and of course meeting with Kim K. I am just confused and I really can't tell if this is good or bad.
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Charles Asubonten out as CalPERS CEO | The Sacramento Bee

Charles Asubonten out as CalPERS CEO | The Sacramento Bee | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
CalPERS CFO Charles Asubonten no longer works for CalPERS as of May 21, 2018. The financial blog Naked Capitalism in April 2018 reported that he exaggerated his accomplishments in his application to the pension fund.
Rob Duke's insight:

Lying on a resume to land a top job--WCC?

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Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 10:57 PM
I am wondering what this man thought when he lied on his resume, that he wouldn't get the job? Then once he did get the job but did not have the qualifications, how long was he expecting to get away with it, because he lacked the knowledge that it took for the position in which he took. It makes me wonder, how many more people have lied on resumes and continue to get away with it. This story reminds me of Rachel Donazel. She didn't lie about her qualifications, but she lied claiming that she was half black when she took a job for the NAACP. Rachel came from 2 white parents who outed her after over a decade of pretending to be black. I guess people will do anything for a job nowadays.
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A Chinese bank chairman was found dead at his office

A Chinese bank chairman was found dead at his office | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The chairman of a Chinese bank was found dead in his office on Saturday with slits on both his wrists, South China Morning Post reported, citing one state media outlet.

The deceased man, Yin Jinbao, was chairman of Tianjin Rural Commercial Bank since 2017, according to SCMP, which cited a report by Jinyun New Media.

He died at around 2 p.m. on Saturday with police suspecting that he committed suicide, according to the report.

The bank did not immediately respond to CNBC's emailed request for comment.
Rob Duke's insight:

One wonders what prompted this suicide...in China, WCC is dealt with harshly--often.

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Devon Smale's comment, June 3, 2:57 PM
I am also wondering what made this made commit suicide, but it also makes me wonder if there was some form of bank fraud or corruption going on and Jinbao knew that he was about to get into trouble, so instead of going to jail he committed suicide.
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Phoenix Dithers on Traffic Safety While People Die –

Phoenix Dithers on Traffic Safety While People Die – | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

Traffic collisions claim a shocking number of lives in Phoenix.

Earlier this spring, 10 pedestrians were killed across metro Phoenix in a single week.

Phoenix had the third-highest per-capita pedestrian fatality rate of any major U.S. city in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But that hasn’t prompted city leaders to take action.

Phoenix approved a complete streets policy in 2014 that has proven toothless. Under Mayor Greg Stanton, who announced this week he’s leaving the position to run for Congress, city officials have sat on their hands without translating statements about designing streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders into tangible changes. Since the policy was enacted, drivers have killed 300 pedestrians across the metro region.

Rob Duke's insight:

Urban planning can enhance public safety, but it can also be frustrating when the political process (the hive mind) can't be led to safer and more aesthetically pleasing alternatives.

For instance, people often think that safe streets means more congestion, but by making multi-mode transportation safe (biking, walking), more people begin consuming these traffic alternatives.  Businesses start being designed closer to the street with fewer parking spaces to the rear, which creates a sense of community and a sense of place that actually entices people to shop closer to home.  It's all a cascading effect over several years, but to orient towards people and away from cars enhances safety and creates value (both aesthetic and economic value).

But, could we actually make an argument to fail to put these measures in place is a crime...?  The article advocates a blaming of Phoenix officials.  That response can be intuitively pleasing, but the complexity of politics makes it difficult to assign an evil mindset when it's often just ignorance that prevents these "smart" planning measures to be adopted.

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Devon Smale's curator insight, June 3, 2:46 PM
I am wondering why so many pedestrians are being killed. It makes me question whether or not the pedestrian was in the wrong or whether the drivers were in the wrong. I know that many times I have witnessed people just jumping out in front of my car, without a car in the world, and I was just lucky enough not to hit them. I think that it is irresponsible for the Mayor to not take action because he is worried about running for Congress instead of dealing with problems in his community. 
D. Bringhurst's comment, June 4, 1:30 AM
Having worked for a politician, I can tell you that the city officials most likely had knowledge of the issue. Most laws and actions of politicians with legislative authority originate by citizens' complaints, concerns, problems, etc. I could see citizens who had loved ones die filing lawsuits based upon negligence laws. A lawsuit under negligence must show prior knowledge of the issue. Did the politicians have notice [legal term]? Whether it stood or not is up to the courts. If the officials were moving towards a responsible fix for the problem, they wouldn't be liable. Bottom line is this: public outcry can always be heard at the polls.
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Reforming the Big Four - Shape up, not break up

Reforming the Big Four - Shape up, not break up | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

WHEN a company goes bankrupt, recriminations tend to follow. Even so, the fury caused by the recent collapse of Carillion, a British contracting firm, is unusual. A report on the debacle by British MPs, which was released this month, savaged everyone from the firm’s executives to its regulators. But the MPs reserved special bile for the Big Four accounting firms—not just KPMG, which audited Carillion’s accounts for 19 years, but also its peers, Deloitte, EY and PwC, each of which extracted fees from the company, before and after its fall. The MPs have called for a review into the audit market and asked it to say whether the Big Four’s British arms should be broken up. The row is local, but concerns about the industry are global.

Critics of the auditors are right in two respects: that the industry matters, and that it needs reform (see article). It is in everyone’s interest that auditing works. If investors cannot trust financial statements, then companies’ cost of capital will rise, crimping growth and employment. It is also true that the industry has flaws. It is highly concentrated. The Big Four audit 98% of the companies listed on the S&P 500 and the FTSE 350 indexes. And auditors are paid not by investors, whom they serve, but by the company whose accounts they scrutinise. That raises questions about objectivity, especially since the Big Four earn nearly twice as much from consulting and other services as they do from auditing. Past reforms banned them from providing both an audit and certain consulting services to the same client, but conflicts of interest remain. In America non-audit fees charged to the same client amount to a quarter of audit fees; in Britain the figure is around a half.

A break-up, whether to separate the audit arms from the consulting businesses or to turn the Big Four into a Middling Eight, seems to offer a simple solution to these problems. It would at first affect only the British parts of the firms’ global networks, but the idea could spread.

Although a break-up might be justified as a last resort, it is premature. Investors have exaggerated expectations of auditors’ ability to detect fraud. Because audits rely on sampling, some skulduggery will inevitably slip through. There are also signs that the industry is improving. Many countries tightened the rules after a scandal in 2001 sank Enron, an energy-trading firm, and its auditor, Arthur Andersen. In America the number of accounts that are restated because of a material error has fallen sharply over the past decade. Break-up would bring unintended consequences. As the world economy shifts from making goods to selling services, auditing is becoming more complicated: scale and the multidisciplinary expertise of large firms count for more. Smaller firms risk being too reliant on a few large clients, which may cloud their judgment.

If you want radical fixes, there are better ways to correct the incentive problems at the core of the industry. You could sever the link between auditors and their clients by requiring securities regulators to pick firms’ auditors. Or you could introduce mandatory insurance of accounts, whereby companies must buy coverage for losses from accounting errors and the insurers would therefore appoint auditors to assess their risk.

One bean at a time

Such ideas have been floating around for years, but even these are too hasty. Instead regulators should sharpen tools that are already available in Europe. They could lower the cap on non-audit fees charged to an audit client from today’s generous level of 70% of the audit fee. Under rules introduced in 2016, British companies with the same auditor for ten years must re-tender; they are forced to rotate after 20. Such rules look draconian to American eyes, where the average auditor tenure for the first 21 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to have made disclosures this year is a cosy 66 years. New research finds that auditors are most likely to find misstatements early in their tenure; by the tenth year, the benefits of a fresh pair of eyes are lost. Academics also find that the Big Four’s fees rise with tenure. Even Britain’s 20-year limit is too long.

Auditors in many countries are already required to add flesh to the bare bones of the audit opinion. That is to be encouraged. Transparency over the main points of contention with management, and the size of revisions made to the accounts as a result of scrutiny, would cast light on auditors’ successes, not just their failures. And that in turn would help investors to assess auditors’ performance.

For years shareholders have waved through a company’s choice of auditor at annual general meetings. A bit more bolshiness could be salutary. Last month, for instance, over a third of investors in General Electric voted against the reappointment of KPMG, its auditor for 109 years. The case for breaking up the Big Four is unproven. But every so often, shareholders need to remind the quartet who their main customers are.

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline "Shape up, not break up"

Rob Duke's insight:

This is a timely article on the value and importance of impartial auditors to prevent White Collar Crime.

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Theranos Inc.’s Partners in Blood

Theranos Inc.’s Partners in Blood | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Much of the attention to the medical diagnostics firm accused of fraud has focused on CEO Elizabeth Holmes. But behind the scenes, another character played a central role.
Rob Duke's insight:

In business a simple business practice like using linear programming to streamline supply chain can be a significant competitive advantage, so it's easy to see why some companies demand secrecy, but too much and in the wrong places and it's all too easy for a company to get into trouble with WCC or GCC (green collar/environmental crimes)....

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SEC Charges Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes With Fraud

SEC Charges Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes With Fraud | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Securities and Exchange Commission said that it has charged Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes with fraud and forced the company’s founder to give up control of the company.
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