Gesticulations and Other Geekery » Posts in 'Law and Politics' category

I got pulled over tonight

So first, I never post. I will not apologize for this, because hey it’s my blog. But yea.

Anyway, I thought I should document this because it was interesting and slightly stressful. Tonight at about 11pm I was pulled over by the Austin PD. I was riding my bike along Great Northern Blvd (which sounds big, but it just a little side street), and a cop turn on their siren behind me (as usually it took me a minute to realize they where trying to get me to stop). It turned out that they were looking for some one who (I roughly quote) was white riding a bicycle and was wearing dark clothing. I did match that description. The person they were looking for had allegedly been trying car doors (it seems they call thing “looking for a lick”). The first cop of very nice and just took my ID and went to call it in. He asked me what I was doing I told him I was going home and he said I didn’t seem to match the profile (what with my powerful lights and pannier and helmet and biking cleats and all that). Another cop came up and asked the same questions and I answer again. And said I matched the description: white, white shirt, heavy set (it makes me sad, but he’s not wrong). He pointed out that I matched the description to a T (and was not nearly as nice as the first guy). The interesting bit was the white shirt. Because between talking to the first guy and the second I had taken off my dark blue sweat shirt to reveal a white tee-shirt. Which tell me that they where making up the descriptions based on what I was wearing at that moment: The description changed from “dark” to “white”. I suspect all they had was “riding a bike”.

On one hand I’m worried this is profiling against cyclists. However if all they had was “riding a bike” I cannot blame them for stopping me and asking about it. BUT, I really wish they had been honest and just said “we are looking for someone riding a bike who was XYZ“. Also I thought it was odd that they implied I was the only bike in the area, which was simply not true; I had seen another cyclist going the other way a few minutes before. So I’m gonna look up the police report when it shows up online in a day or so and see what they really reported. It might be interesting.

Oh and the neighborhood around there is quite rich. Which is probably why there where 3 cops (and several others who passed me) involved in pulling over one cyclist who was suspected of trying car doors. Though there was also a fire truck which went by while I was stopped. Exciting night in that little neighborhood.

Posted in Biking, Law and Politics

I wonder if craigslist will C&D google

So PadMapper (a very nice housing search system) has reintroduced craigslist ads. This is interesting given that craigslist C&D’d them based on the craigslist terms of use. However they found a work around: 3taps. 3taps provides access to craigslist data without a terms of use. It has been theorized that this is done by using a separate caching system such as google cache. However this cache would probably be in violation of the TOU of craigslist because they are redistributing the craigslist content after accessing the craigslist servers and hence agreeing to the TOU. So will craigslist have the bawls to tell google and other caching services to stop? Also what about google search? Wouldn’t that also violate the TOU and expose craigslist data?

I would love to see the fall out of craigslist trying to control all that. I think it would explode in their face and be very interesting.

Posted in Law and Politics