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The [Thursday] Papers

"The Chicago Police department has finally acknowledged that it had purchased cell-phone interceptor devices back in 2008, raising serious privacy concerns among activists who question how they are being used," CBS2 Chicago reports.

And also among non-activists!

"The devices, known as IMSI Catchers and sold commercially under names like Stingray, mimic a cell phone tower and connect to mobile devices without the user's knowledge.

"The existence of the eavesdropping device, which is basically a small electronic box and a laptop, in Chicago was reported by CBS Chicago earlier this month. It can sweep up data on texts, calls, technical details and more."

Here's my favorite part:

"Ten months ago, the CBS 2 investigative unit asked whether CPD had such devices. The department denied it, even though the purchase orders clearly indicate the devices were in the department's possession for several years."

Go read the whole thing. But not on your phone!

Olympic Debt
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has borrowed more than $21 million to start paying for the former Michael Reese hospital site that was bought as part of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's failed bid for the 2016 summer Olympics," the Tribune reports.

"City Hall must now find the money to pay off both those loans and the $14.2 million or so due next year for principal and interest on the South Side property. Taxpayers will be on the hook for as much as $134 million during the next decade - the $91 million purchase price plus about $43 million in net interest and development costs - unless the city can find a company to start developing the land."

#ThrowbackThursday: "Daley On Olympics: Taxpayers Will Be Protected."


At least we didn't actually get the Olympics; the city would be in bankruptcy court about now if we did.


Then again, the Chicago media shouldn't be allowed to report on continuing costs of Daley's folly without acknowledging their own role as accomplices.

Red Light Rahm's Rigged Refunds
"City Hall has promised 126 refunds to drivers tagged for $100 fines during suspicious spikes in red light camera tickets discovered by a Tribune investigation but upheld thousands of other tickets issued at the same times - all without explaining what caused the sudden surges," the paper reports.

The refund letters dated last week are the first public acknowledgment by the city that some drivers were targeted in error by a camera system prone to ticket spikes - some lasting weeks - that the city says it never noticed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration offered to review nearly 16,000 tickets issued during spikes exposed by the Tribune in July, and about 3,300 responses came back. A Tribune review of who got those letters and the way the appeals are being conducted raises new questions about the city's effort to restore confidence in Chicago's beleaguered camera program.

The city ignored tens of thousands of tickets by limiting its review to the 12 intersections with the most dramatic spikes highlighted by the Tribune. Even then, the city left thousands of drivers out of its review because of how it defined the duration of the surges. In other cases, the city included tickets when cameras were performing as expected - potentially increasing the likelihood those tickets would be upheld on review.

The examinations themselves, conducted by an outside auditing firm, were done in private and focused on whether the videotape of the violations showed drivers broke the traffic law. The examiners did not consider whether the camera system was working properly, as an administrative law judge might do in a regular appeal.

More broadly, the city's limited focus on potential refunds for a subset of drivers never addressed the fundamental questions about the oversight, reliability and fairness of a program already mired in a federal corruption investigation into allegations the city's ex-vendor paid $2 million in bribes to get the business.

Go read the whole thing. But not on your phone!


The Age Of Chicago's Poverty
How poverty on the North Side looks different than on the South Side.

Doing The Jacksons
The Reverend, His Daughter, Michael And His Brothers.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Tales From The Bears' Crypt.

Running Scared
Role reversals in NFL backfields.






The Beachwood Tip Line: Tales from the crypt.


Posted on October 2, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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