Tuesday, December 10, 2013

21st Century crime scenes from KPBS

When I advised my readers to "Stay tuned for more SRZS BZNS," I could have posted on any number of topics.  I decided to remind them that "we live in science fiction times" and "SciFi is Now," as I did in Arthur C. Clarke's legacy: space tourism and AIDS: The pandemic in our midst.  Following are the stories from KPBS about crime and the law that I used in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Die, Selfish Gene!) that would have been considered science fiction a decade or two ago.  We may not have flying cars, but we are starting to have crimes right out of Johnny Mnemonic.

I'm going to violate my "if it moves it leads" policy by starting with San Diego Woman Ticketed While Wearing Google Glass Headed For Trial By City News Service on KPBS.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
A Jan. 16 trial date was set for a Temecula woman ticketed for allegedly watching television via a pair of computerized Google glasses while speeding on a San Diego freeway.

The case may be the first of its kind. Typically, law enforcement officers are given discretion when it comes to deciding what is and what isn't distracted driving.

Cecilia Abadie, 44, was allegedly speeding on Interstate 15 while watching television via a prototype, eyeglass-style Google Glass wearable computer. Though the technology will not be publicly available until next year at the earliest, Abadie was among 10,000 "explorers" chosen to try out the devices.
I have my doubts that she'll prevail.  Even if there weren't distracted driving laws in California, the state still has a Basic Speed Law, which states "No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."  Before there were laws restricting distracted driving, police used the Basic Speed Law to ticket people under the reasoning that driving at any speed while distracted was unsafe.

Speaking of technology interfering with driving, San Diego Businesses Join Fight Against Distracted Driving.

It's against the law in California to drive while talking on the phone or text, but many are still doing so, which increases the risk of a collision four-fold. A UC San Diego campaign is targeting businesses to get the word out to employees about the risks.
UCSD has their own version: UC San Diego Joins Nationwide Efforts to Curb Phone Use While Driving.
TREDS partners with San Diego-based employers in launching a campaign to end distracted driving
By Michelle Brubaker
December 04, 2013
Expanding their efforts to keep citizens safe on San Diego roadways, UC San Diego’s Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program announced today that they are launching a new distracted driving education project called Just Drive - Take Action Against Distraction, a one hour class free of charge offered to businesses in San Diego. The decision followed a recent survey by the research team, which found that 83 percent of adults who participated reported texting, talking or using a smartphone application while driving.

“Research has shown that talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of collision four-fold, with equal risk attached to hands free and hand held devices. This is the same as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08. Texting increases this risk eight to 16 times,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and TREDS program director.

TREDS, with funding provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will partner with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to offer San Diego businesses and organizations distracted driving education for their employees as part of safety and wellness programs. Classes include the latest research from national safety experts, information on cell phone laws, real-life examples of individuals affected by cell phone use while driving and resources to help drivers change distracted driving behaviors.
Follow over the jump for more stories about technology producing legal issues.

KPBS: San Diego Police: Parents Frontline Defense Against Teen Sexting

Dozens of San Diego County teenagers were caught recently sharing illicit photos of classmates through text messages. We look at how police say parents should react and one family's takeaway.
KPBS also has a text version of the story: San Diego Police: Parents Front Line Of Defense Against Teen Sexting By Kyla Calvert.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
On a November evening in Carmel Valley about 100 parents were scattered through the bleachers of the Cathedral Catholic High School gym. They were there to hear from San Diego Police Juvenile Officer Jordan Wells about an uncomfortable topic: teens texting nude photos to each other.

"We want to get that back to the parent and help the parent understand it is happening and there's not been one parent that's told me that they expected their child to do this," Wells said.

The meeting followed news accounts of more than 20 middle and high school students at seven San Diego schools texting nude photos of themselves or classmates. Sharing photos in this way is known as sexting. And when teens do it - because they're minors - they're technically producing, possessing and distributing child pornography.
Electronic technology isn't the only kind that is creating opportunities for the state and others to haul people into court, as a San Diego Woman Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Personal Gene-Testing Company By David Wagner shows.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
A San Diego woman who paid $99 to have her genes analyzed by 23andMe wants her money back. And she thinks thousands of other customers will too.

Just days after the Food and Drug Administration ordered 23andMe to stop advertising and selling its products, a San Diego resident named Lisa Casey filed a class action lawsuit against the company.

The Google-backed Silicon Valley company is known for its so-called "spit kits." Based on a saliva sample, 23andMe promises to provide a detailed genetic history report and genetic predispositions to certain conditions. But Casey is accusing 23andMe of false advertising, claiming its test results are "meaningless."
Welcome to the 21st Century, where SciFi is now.

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