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The Danger of Biometrics for Personal Use – Limited Legal Protection October 17, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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iStock_000006910296XSmall 2I have never been a proponent of using Biometrics and have frequently made jokes about  not wanting “the man” to have my finger prints.  Well, it looks like my position may have been well founded.

Recently, it was reported in Forbes.com that on May 29th, 2016 the US Government had filed a motion for the court to require residence in a Lancaster, California home to provide their fingerprints to open an iPhone.  More disturbingly, the motion called for: “authorization to depress the fingerprints and thumbprints of every person who is located at the SUBJECT PREMISES during the execution of the search and who is reasonably believed by law enforcement to be the user of a fingerprint sensor-enabled device that is located at the SUBJECT PREMISES and falls within the scope of the warrant.” In short, they didn’t just want the finger prints they wanted to force the residents to actually ‘use their finger’ to open the phone.  The warrant was not available to the public, nor were other documents related to the case.  Like many people, I asked “how can the courts do this?”  It would seem to me like an invasion of privacy (among other things).  Marina Medvin of Medvin law said: ““They want the ability to get a warrant on the assumption that they will learn more after they have a warrant. “Essentially, they are seeking to have the ability to convince people to comply by providing their fingerprints to law enforcement under the color of law – because of the fact that they already have a warrant. They want to leverage this warrant to induce compliance by people they decide are suspects later on. This would be an unbelievably audacious abuse of power if it were permitted.”  Unfortunately, it was indeed permitted.

Is it legal?  According to the article in Forbes:

“In past interpretations of the Fifth Amendment, suspects have not been compelled to hand over their passcode as it could amount to self-incrimination, but the same protections have not been afforded for people’s body data even if the eventual effect is the same. Citing a Supreme Court decision in Schmerber v. California, a 1966 case in which the police took a suspect’s blood without his consent, the government said self-incrimination protections would not apply to the use of a person’s “body as evidence when it may be material.”

It also cited Holt v. United States, a 1910 case, and United States v. Dionisio, a 1973 case, though it did point to more recent cases, including Virginia v. Baust, where the defendant was compelled to provide his fingerprint to unlock a device (though Baust did provide his biometric data, it failed to open the iPhone; after 48 hours of not using Touch ID or a reboot Apple asks for the code to be re-entered.).

As for the Fourth, the feds said protections against unreasonable searches did not stand up when “the taking of fingerprints is supported by reasonable suspicion,” citing 1985′s Hayes v. Florida. Other cases, dated well before the advent of smartphones, were used to justify any brief detention that would arise from forcing someone to open their device with a fingerprint.”

We do know that the warrant was served.  It does appear that you cannot be forced to give up a passcode as it could amount to Self Incrimination under the 5th Amendment however you do not have the same protections for biometrics. This is another instance where the law has not kept pace with technology.  For this reason, and others I will not use biometrics for personal security.

Why I am still voting for Trump…and you should, as well. October 10, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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tomiThe last 48 hours has been tough for me.  I have waffled in my already reluctant support of Trump and I have even gone so far as to claim I will “not vote for either idiot”!  This is only half true.  I want to thank those Recondos and Snipers, and numerous others who passionately debated with me on the topic over the past day.  In particular JJ Brown of the Recon and Sniper Foundation who had particularly insightful comments.

Let me be clear.  I do not like Trump.  I am quite sure I would not like him as a person.  I was initially angered by his latest comments.  In reflection, I was angered by the fact that he allowed yet another comment to get out of control.  Have I said vulgar things in private? Of course.  Name a Marine who hasn’t and I would say you have not met a Marine.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”.  So why am I still voting for Trump?  Easy.  It is all about what economist and Nobel Prize recipient Herbert Simon called Satisficing.  In this election we only have 2 real choices.  Granted I feel like the options are akin to being ask whether you prefer stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night or hitting your little toe on a table as you walk to the bathroom at night…but those are our options.  We have to select the best of the two available options.

I have been reminded (often in no so polite terms) Hillary Clinton is simply an untrustworthy person who has allowed Americans to die under her watch in Benghazi and has supported groups by selling them weapons that have killed Americans. This was further supported in recently disclosed documentation around her support of Libyan and Syrian rebels.  In addition to TravelGate, her laughingly defending a child rapist, her compromise of national security, and numerous other transgressions, I simply cannot and will not ever vote for her. As I have said before, I would vote for my Rottweiller Bo before I would vote for Hillary Clinton.  She represents the worst of politics.

Is Donald Trump a perfect human? No.  Is he likable?  Probably not to a lot of people.  Is he crass and vulgar? Yes.  Has he said stupid things?  Of course.  All of these things describe me and my own friends.  Putting emotion aside, I am willing to overlook personal flaws but cannot overlook calculated actions that result in the destruction of Constitutional rights, the compromise of national security, and the death of Americans.  This particular election has greater implications than simply bragging rights.  The next president will get to nominate at least 1 Supreme Court Justice.  This Justice is going to likely be the ‘tie breaker’ on numerous Constitutional issues to include the 2nd Amendment.  For these reasons, I must put aside my personal feelings and vote for the party that represents the platform I support as opposed to not supporting a person that I do not like.

This election will likely be one of the most important in our lifetimes.  We have two intensely flawed candidates.  One is personally flawed, the other is personally and professionally flawed.  One has said rude and crass things while the other has allowed Americans to die under her watch and compromised national security for her own purposes.  To me, the answer is now clear.  While I do not ‘support Trump’, I support the Republican party platform and I will NEVER support Hillary Clinton who has allowed my own brothers to die on her watch.  Thanks for reading!

A Challenge to Colin Kaepernick- by a Marine Combat Veteran August 31, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Recently, professional football player Colin Kaepernick made a political statement by refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  Former (I know..you are never a “former Marine”) Marine Sgt. (Recon Marine, and Scout/Sniper) Travis Cox recorded a video explaining to Mr. Kaepernick challenging him to ‘do more’ than just ‘sit’.  I agree with Travis and want to add that respect is fundamentally different than ‘pride’.  I believe that Kaepernick’s actions were simply disrespectful. Please share.

Help Louisiana Flood Victims! August 17, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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louisiana-flooding-081316-4As everyone is aware, Louisiana is dealing with devastating floods.  An estimated 50,000 people have been displaced and a dozen have died.  Please consider donating to help those flood victims.  My open letters go viral…how about we try to make this go viral and get some needed help to those in Louisiana!?

Here are some ways you can help (thanks CNN!)

Every little bit helps!  Consider helping.  Thanks!

An Apology to Mr. Khan, Mrs. Smith & Gold Star Families August 3, 2016

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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HeadshotChris2013_COMPRecently, I wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to Mr. Khizr Khan that generated quite a bit of controversy.  I had referenced that Captain Khan’s sacrifice was his own.  In reading numerous Gold Star family comments from both sides of the isle, I believe an apology to the Khan family, Mrs. Smith and all Gold Star Families is in line. I was hopeful that I would have had the opportunity to make this last night in a more public forum but I was unable.

While I personally do believe Captain Khan’s sacrifice was his own, I have learned that my own position on this issue does not reflect the views of many Gold Star Families.  I should have been more circumspect in my comments and taken more time to understand the feelings of those families before opining.  There is no other way to say it: I am sorry and I have learned.

I want to thank those who took the time to comment directly and professionally to allow me to see both sides of this very sensitive position.


Chris Mark

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