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Skipsmasher: Revisted

If you’ll remember a while back I posted an article about Skipsmasher. This is a database that uses one of the most invasive methods of all for gathering information about a person. Skipsmasher employs a deceptive method for obtaining a consumer’s exact location with an annoying text to a person’s cell phone, at which time when the consumer receives this nagging and annoying text they are presented with an option t opt out. When the consumer opts out, their exact location is sent to the customer of Skipsmasher that pays about $3.00 for this information.

Imagine that, you are at your child’s school, now someone knows where you child goes to school at. You are at your bank, now some stranger knows where you bank at. You are at your girlfriend’s house, now some stranger knows where your girlfriend lives. As a PI, I can tell you that it is not hard to deduct what this information that the person employing this deceptive tactic means. This is really scary when you consider the implications. A Pi can charge a client $30.00 to find out where you are at, anytime of the day. That client of the PI can be a stalker, a murderer, a rapist, whoever can come up with $30.00. And if that client of the PI can come up $300.00, that client can determine your travel habits and routines. And you, the unsuspecting target; you will NEVER know just how much of your real time, personal details have just been obtained by this complete stranger.

Now, I know what you are probably asking yourself.  Why would I be urging you to call your Congressmen and State Representatives over this issue, when it can eliminate a tool that I could do my job with more proficiently? Well, because I am all for public records, and innovative ways to locate information that is already available to those that know how to obtain it. It is one thing to use public information to find out what you need to know about a person. It is another thing to trick someone out of their privacy and obtain information that really is not publicly available. If your car is in your garage, should anyone that wants be able to know that you are home, without a public sign of a vehicle? You do have a right to be secure in your home. You do have a right to privacy in your home, especially when you are making an active effort to preserve that privacy. I don’t want to see anyone’s REAL reasonable expectation of privacy violated. The problem is that most people don’t know what a reasonable expectation of privacy is, and I can tell you that your personal comfort often times does nto enter into that expectation of privacy. But sometimes, people go to far for a quick dollar, and that is what Skipsmasher has done.

Here is a link that may interest you, if you are concerned about your telephone privacy: H.R. 4709 (109th): Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006

Of particular interest is the quote from this act below:

SEC. 3. FRAUD AND RELATED ACTIVITY IN CONNECTION WITH OBTAINING CONFIDENTIAL PHONE RECORDS INFORMATION OF A COVERED ENTITY.

(a) Offense- Chapter 47 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1038 the following:

`Sec. 1039. Fraud and related activity in connection with obtaining confidential phone records information of a covered entity

`(a) Criminal Violation- Whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally obtains, or attempts to obtain, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, by–

`(1) making false or fraudulent statements or representations to an employee of a covered entity;

`(2) making such false or fraudulent statements or representations to a customer of a covered entity;

`(3) providing a document to a covered entity knowing that such document is false or fraudulent; or

`(4) accessing customer accounts of a covered entity via the Internet, or by means of conduct that violates section 1030 of this title, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

`(b) Prohibition on Sale or Transfer of Confidential Phone Records Information-

`(1) Except as otherwise permitted by applicable law, whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally sells or transfers, or attempts to sell or transfer, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates, or knowing or having reason to know such information was obtained fraudulently, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

`(2) For purposes of this subsection, the exceptions specified in section 222(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 shall apply for the use of confidential phone records information by any covered entity, as defined in subsection (h).

`(c) Prohibition on Purchase or Receipt of Confidential Phone Records Information-

`(1) Except as otherwise permitted by applicable law, whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally purchases or receives, or attempts to purchase or receive, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates, or knowing or having reason to know such information was obtained fraudulently, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

`(2) For purposes of this subsection, the exceptions specified in section 222(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 shall apply for the use of confidential phone records information by any covered entity, as defined in subsection (h).

`(d) Enhanced Penalties for Aggravated Cases- Whoever violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) while violating another law of the United States or as part of a pattern of any illegal activity involving more than $100,000, or more than 50 customers of a covered entity, in a 12-month period shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined twice the amount provided in subsection (b)(3) or (c)(3) (as the case may be) of section 3571 of this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.

`(e) Enhanced Penalties for Use of Information in Furtherance of Certain Criminal Offenses-

`(1) Whoever, violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) knowing that such information may be used in furtherance of, or with the intent to commit, an offense described in section 2261, 2261A, 2262, or any other crime of violence shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined under this title and imprisoned not more than 5 years.

`(2) Whoever, violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) knowing that such information may be used in furtherance of, or with the intent to commit, an offense under section 111, 115, 1114, 1503, 1512, 1513, or to intimidate, threaten, harass, injure, or kill any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined under this title and imprisoned not more than 5 years.

`(f) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction- There is extraterritorial jurisdiction over an offense under this section.

`(g) Nonapplicability to Law Enforcement Agencies- This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency of the United States, a State, or political subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States

I submit to you that every time a nagging text message is sent to your phone for the purpose of getting you to opt out, so your physical location can be sent to someone that you have not authorized to know your physical address, your bank, your child’s school, or any other private information that you would not want a complete stranger to know, that a type of misrepresentation and fraud has been committed: `(2) making such false or fraudulent statements or representations to a customer of a covered entity;

Call your State Representatives and your Congressmen, and make this known. DEMAND an investigation into this practice. And if the investigative findings are that this violates this act quoted above; demand penalties for Skipsmasher, and the owner. You true privacy is worth it, it’s not like we have a lot of it left; don’t let this company nibble away at what privacy you DO have!

State Senators Directory

U.S. House Of Representatives Directory

California State Representatives  Mr. Robert Scott lives in California.

Search State House of Representatives This is the Google Search Link, all you have to do is click it and peruse the results.

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Why Amateur Bloggers Should Not Try To Be Professional Investigators!

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Back in 2009 a local amateur blogger named Mike Martin who has a “rag” called The Columbia Heartbeat decided to play Amateur Sleuth and attempt to solve a local murder here in Columbia, MO. Mr. Martin was poorly equipped to play Amateur Investigators, as most amateurs are. Not understanding rules of evidence, statement corroboration, proper interview techniques, and the differences between facts, theory, conjecture, and just outright wild speculation Mr. Martin proceeded to solve the Jeong Im murder: Jeong Im Murder

Mike Martin Has It All Figured Out

Mike Martin

Mr. Martin proclaimed himself to be a greater detective than all of the MU Police Department and the Columbia Police Department. He was going to solve the crime that nobody else had at this time been able to solve. Mr. Martin made a lot of public statements and got a lot of publicity for this. The Missourian Newspaper ran an article that seemed like it was looking to Mr. Martin’s brilliant powers of observation to conduct a new, fresh analysis of this case.  Mr. Martin was having a grand old time with all of his new found publicity. Why, Mr. Martin became a local celebrity in Columbia, MO.. The problem with publicity in professions like mine is that publicity puts further pressure on one to PRODUCE!

So, as time goes by Mr. Martin finds that he needs to start showing that he has done something on this case. He needs a SUSPECT! And Mr. Martin not only proclaims to the entire world that he has a suspect, but that he SOLVED this case. Mr. Martin never really names his suspect, but he does drop enough hints that most of the people that know about the Jeong Im murder quickly determine who his suspect is. Mr. Martin claims that the person that murdered Jeong Im was a work associate of Jeong Im’s. Read Mike Martin’s “solving” of this case below:

Mike Martin Starts To Work On The Jeong Im Murder

Mike Martin’s Suspect

Now, when you read the link above titled “Mike Martin’s Suspect” you will see Mr. Martin pointing the finger at the work associate of Jeong Im’s, who Mr. Martin has given an alias to (as Mr. Martin would have you believe) protect two women that this man had been harassing. Yes, Mr. Martin not only has a suspect here, he proclaims to the entire world that his suspect is the man that murdered Jeong Im. Oh, but Mr. Martin is being careful, after all he did give his suspect an alias…… Now Mr. Martin is wondering why the MU Police and the CPD could not be as efficient as he is in solving this case? Our HERO, Mr. Martin has now solved the Jeong Im Murder Case! The only problem is that nobody knows this case is solved but Mr. Martin! Mr. Martin is telling everyone he solved this case. Mr. Martin is telling everyone that he has a “Bonafide Suspect”! But where is the arrest? Where is the charge? Where is the court case for this “solved murder”?

The reality here as you read this, is that Mr. Martin is an Amateur Blogger seeking attention impersonating a Professional Investigator, like myself and many others that get paid for conducting proper investigations. Mr. Martin got his nose out of whack a long time ago because he (Yes, Mr. Martin) checked the wrong box on his property tax form for his house it cost him a bit more money than it would have if he would have just read the form and filled it out like he was as intelligent as he pretends to be. When confronted with this difference by the local Tax Assessor and informed that he could not go back and correct this error, Mr. Martin threw a fit! So, Mr. Martin decided to start a “rag” know as The Columbia Heartbeat to harass and strike back at the evil city government of Columbia, MO. for calling him on his error and holding him accountable for it, thus the birth of the Columbia Heartbeat.

Today, Amateur Bloggers come from all walks of life. They write their opinions, and let the world see them. Some Amateur Bloggers are good about fact checking and researching their material, and not making un-provable and false allegations to the public; they are RESPONSIBLE BLOGGERS, other simply don’t care as long as they are getting some attention. Unfortunately for the citizenry of Columbia, MO. Mr. Martin falls in the latter category. While Mr. Martin likes to criticize other bloggers like Matthew Akins of Citizens For Justice, the fact is that Matthew Akins would NEVER accuse anyone of murder without having solid evidence, Matthew Akins does fact check and research his articles, he does proper video taped interviews for his articles. Matthew Akins does not speculate and throw out wild theories with no base to support his contentions. But Mr. Martin does…… Watch….

Cut back to 2009 when Mr. Martin proclaimed to the world that he had solved Jeong Im’s murder. The reality is that Mr. martin just shot off at the mouth and accused an innocent man of murder. The person that Mr. martin accused of murdering Jeong Im has recently been shown to be innocent of the crime. How, might you ask? Because the REAL investigators at MU and the CPD have figured out who actually committed the murder. I say REAL investigators, because they knew better than to throw out wild accusations to the public. They had enough professionalism to try to be careful not to slander someone’s good name. They did not run off at the mouth for attention. They knew that investigations like this take time, and they patiently worked their case. And here is the result of their case work:

Jeong Im Murder PROPERLY Solved By PROFESSIONAL Investigators; NOT An Amateur Blogger

There is a lesson to be learned here. Let the professionals do their jobs! If Mr. Martin had actually been in charge of this investigation he would have caused an innocent man to be jailed, and possibly imprisoned. Mr. Martin simply took a person that was a close work associate of Jeong Im’s and with a lot of conjecture and little speculation, he wildly accused an innocent man of murder; all for a little attention. And the Missourian and The Columbia Tribune just ATE IT UP! I have never seen such an on-point display as to why people that are not properly trained should never try to conduct an investigation that could cause a person to lose their liberty. To be polite, Mr. Martin is a bumbling, attention seeking, arrogant, self-centered, IDIOT that does not care who he causes damage to as long as it benefits himself! Personally, I knew the day would come that this murder would be solved, the MU Police and the CPD held the case open, followed up on leads, and patiently waited for the right lead to develop, and they did all of this without slandering anyone’s reputation.

Ricky B. Gurley

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The Interesting Case Of David Riley: VINDICATION!

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Back in August of  2010 I did a series of articles on a young man named David Riley. You can reference these articles easy enough just by going to the tag cloud on the right hand side of the screen and clicking the name “David Riley” or just by clicking this link: David Riley. David Riley is a young man that went to a store one night to buy some beer, after he had already been drinking, he purchased his beer and he walked out to his car with his designated driver. On the way to his car he kicked a bottle across the parking lot, and drew the attention of what he would soon discover would be an undercover Police Officer. David Riley said some things to the Police Officer that were not very nice, and in return the Police Officer drew his firearm and proceeded to beat David Riley senseless, along with a few other Police Officers that responded to the undercover Police Officer’s calls for back up; all in full view of the store video camera. David Riley was then taken to the hospital where he was verbally humiliated by security staff and the Police. David Riley was then taken from the hospital to the jail after he received medical care, and charged with resisting arrest and some other “cover my ass charges” by the Police. David Riley then bonded out of jail, in horrible physical condition from the beating that he had just suffered. From there this incident basically ruined his life. He was coerced by a Prosecutor (actually I’d personally call it blackmailed by a Prosecutor) to plea to his charges and accept a conviction. He suffered some mental health issues, which in turn caused him to lose his auto dealership and his family. All and all, it was a fine years work of ruining a man’s life by the CPD and the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office; so that the CPD could keep it’s butt covered and looking like they’d never do anything improper.

When this incident first occurred, I got the call from the Defense Attorney the next day to start an investigation on this case. I knew where to start, at the scene of the incident. RMRI, Inc. wrote up a Notice To Preserve Documents and served it on the store that this incident took place at; and RMRI, Inc. actually received a copy of the video tape before the CPD did. RMRI, Inc. measured out the place where the incident occurred, how far the undercover Police Officer was from David Riley when the verbal exchange took place. RMRI, Inc. interviewed all of the store clerks that were working that night. RMRI, Inc. also requested any property that was taken from David Riley by the CPD the night of the arrest, on behalf of David Riley. Interesting enough the CPD returned a pocket knife that David Riley was carrying that night. Interesting because the CPD tried to claim that David Riley was trying to rob the undercover Police Officer; wouldn’t they have kept the knife as evidence if this had really occurred? As I conducted this investigation it became apparent to me that David Riley was a victim of Police Brutality. But let’s be fair and forthright here; David Riley was no angel. David Riley had some very serious criminal convictions in his background, be probably used alcohol a little too much. Sometimes he could be disagreeable and hard to deal with. But we should all understand that none of this precludes him from being a victim of Police Brutality. So, I took a special interest in this case. I have always felt very strongly about Police Abuse and Police Brutality issues. I don’t think that any citizen should have to suffer a beating at the hands of the Police, who are supposed to be protecting and serving the citizenry. Yes, there are times when the Police must get physical and quell a physical threat, but that is called self defense or defense of the public. So, in this particular case; I did all I could to make my community aware of what had happened to David Riley. I spoke at a City Council Meeting, I spoke at a Police Officer’s Review Board Meeting, I spoke to the media and I blogged about it.

Here is an article where the Columbia Tribune wrote about me trying to bring some awareness to this issue: Investigator Stirs Up Closed Case.

Well, I had some people that believed I was right and some people that thought I was using the media to get some attention for myself. I can understand how some people might feel that way, often times when a person is trying to bring some attention to an issue that they are involved in; it is hard to distinguish who they are trying to get attention for. I told the CPD spokeswoman at the time, that this case would wind up costing the city some money. The CPD spokeswoman responded as if the CPD did everything right, and there was no way that David Riley could ever be on solid ground to sue the CPD.

And there is a twist…….

In the last two weeks David Riley was offered a settlement of he received $55,000.00 by the City of Columbia, MO. to NOT go to Federal Court with his case, which he accepted. We don’t know what the amount of the actual settlement was, but you can bet it was more than $55,000.00, because that amount is what David Riley personally received, he also had to have money for his hospital bills, and of course his attorney had to get paid for his hard work. Here is the Columbia Tribune Article on the settlement: City Settles With Man Who Was Beaten During 2009 Arrest

All I can say is good for David Riley. I am glad that he got some money to try to get his life back on track with. I also hope that the City of Columbia, MO. realizes that the undercover Officer that beat David Riley that night and his cohort, just cost the City of Columbia a significant amount of money.

I also want to make something else clear. When this incident occurred, Chief Burton had only been Chief of the CPD for a few months. While technically speaking, Chief Burton was in charge, he was so new that he was having to rely on his staff to see how the CPD was structured, what the policies were at the CPD, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and just to get a feel for how the CPD functioned overall. We don’t see these incidents in Columbia, MO. anymore. Chief Ken Burton has made tremendous strides to try to prevent these types of incidents from occurring. Chief Burton has terminated the employment of Officers that have behaved this way in the past, at great personal sacrifice to himself. We now have a wonderful Chief of Police at the CPD that cares about the citizenry here in Columbia, MO., and is tough enough to make the hard decisions in his job. Chief Burton has bought these types incidents way down. And, I think it is fair that we don’t put the responsibility of this on him ; he was not at the CPD long enough when this incident occurred to really implement any change that would have prevented this.

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