By now, many of our Hennepin County readers have already heard about the criminal charges that have been levied against six Minneapolis men for their alleged plans to "leave the country and join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)." Now facing charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, explains the FBI, the men could face considerable consequences if they are convicted.
According to The Sentencing Project, an estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. currently call one of our nation's jails or prisons home. More than any other country, the U.S. relies heavily upon incarceration as a means of deterrence and punishment for criminal-related activities. However, considering that that the number of people in the U.S. who are incarcerated has increased 500 percent during the last 30 years, locking people up does not appear to be an effective solution to fighting crime.
There's a famous quote related to the fact that there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. Let's face it; no one enjoys parting with their hard-earned income and paying taxes. Yet, every year when April 15 rolls around, people in the U.S. dutifully file their income taxes and write checks to the Internal Revenue Service.
Today, it seems there are almost daily reports about some corporation or financial institution being hacked. From Minneapolis' own Target Corp. to JPMorgan and Home Depot, hackers are taking aim at U.S. corporations and making off with sensitive data including the personal identifying and financial information of customers.
An estimated 90 percent of U.S. residents own a cellphone. While early cellphone models only allowed users to communicate by calling another individual, today's cellphones serve many more purposes. Today's cellphones allow users to take and store pictures, communicate via social media websites, text and talk to others, store important personal information and complete financial transactions. Given the vast amount of personal information stored on cellphones, it makes sense that police officers routinely search and seize cellphones and rely upon a cellphone’s contents to discover potentially incriminating evidence.