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    by Aaron Kliegman   In a little noted trend, law enforcement agencies at every level of government are increasingly buying data from private, third-party data brokers on Americans’ phone and internet activities in order to track them, often without a warrant. While proponents say this practice provides critical help for investigations, critics argue it poses a serious violation of civil liberties that needs to be addressed through legislation. One of the latest revelations about this controversial public-private partnership came from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to “defending civil liberties in the digital world.” EFF recently obtained a trove of records through Freedom of Information Act requests on local and state police departments, as well as federal entities, purchasing a cellphone tracking tool that can monitor people’s movements going back months in time. The tool, Fog Reveal, is a product of the company Fog Data Science, which claims it has “billions” of data points about “over 250 million” devices that can be used to learn where people work, live, and associate. Fog has past or ongoing contractual relationships with at least 18...
    Carbon emissions in the Amazon in 2019 and 2020 more than doubled compared to the average of the prior eight years, according to a new study. Source: Global News/YouTube The findings have been submitted for publication but have not been independently reviewed yet. However, the researchers found that deforestation for agriculture and fires were the main drivers of the emission increase. The authors also cite a lack of law enforcement in recent years has encouraged people to clear the forest without penalty. The Amazon is the largest tropical forest on Earth and plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy planet. The Amazon is often referred to as the lungs of the planet and is responsible for sequestering large amounts of carbon in trees and soil. However, in recent years, the forest has been largely deforested due to animal agriculture and damaging crops like palm oil and soy. The researchers used small planes to collect hundreds of air samples from different parts of the forest over the last ten years. In the year 2019, carbon emissions increased by...
    Since the extent of its data collection was brought to light, Fog Reveal has received criticism from both sides of the political aisle. “Fog Reveal is easily de-anonymized tracking of Americans’ daily movements and location histories. Where we go can say a lot about who we are, who we associate with, and even what we believe or how we worship,” said former Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who previously served as U.S. House Judiciary chairman. Goodlatte now works as a senior policy adviser to the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability. “The current political climate means that this technology could be used against people left, right and center. Everyone has a stake in curbing this technology,” Goodlatte added. Privacy groups are hoping that Congress takes action soon. “The lack of any meaningful regulation on the collection and sale of app data is both a consumer and privacy crisis,” Legal Aid Society staff attorney Benjamin Burger recently wrote. “Both federal and state governments need to develop policies that will protect consumer data.”
    Law enforcement agencies across the United States have been using a little-known cellphone tracking tool to dig up location data on suspects without acquiring warrants. The tool, known as "Fog Reveal," allows law enforcement to create location analyses of users by accessing hundreds of billions of records from 250 million mobile devices. This data-gathering practice was revealed as lawmakers scrutinized data brokers for various privacy-related concerns. "[Fog Reveal] represents a direct and uniquely modern threat to our privacy. Its business is only possible because of a cascade of decisions by tech platforms, app developers, lawmakers, and judges, all of whom have failed to adequately protect regular users," wrote Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist Bennett Cyphers in a review of the technology's uses. Cyphers noted a number of failures by lawmakers and tech companies to enforce stronger privacy protections, as well as courts failing to clarify that a person's Fourth Amendment rights "aren't diminished just because they're carrying a smartphone that can transmit their location to apps and data brokers." WORLD'S LARGEST PASSWORD MANAGER CONFIRMS IT WAS HACKED,...
    Washington (CNN Business)The country's largest wireless carriers not only know where you are every time you make a phone call or use your data connection, but they routinely hold onto that location information for months and in some cases years, providing it to law enforcement whether you like it or not, according to carrier letters made public last week by the Federal Communications Commission. From data about which cell towers your smartphone has been communicating with to your specific GPS coordinates, your smartphone constantly gives off a tremendous amount of information on your whereabouts, the letters from AT&T, Verizon and other carriers show. For example, T-Mobile retains granular latitude and longitude coordinates of devices on its network for up to 90 days, and less-granular cell-site location data for up to two years, the company told the FCC in a letter dated Aug. 3. Verizon said it holds cell-site data for up to one year, while AT&T said it may retain cell-site data for up to five years. The company letters highlight how telecom companies, and not just tech platforms, cooperate...
    Several leaders in the House of Representatives are probing federal law enforcement over the practice of gathering citizen data through private data sets. Members of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter on Tuesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as leaders from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies, about data practices. The letter specifically requests information on the agencies' practice of acquiring private data sets through brokers, evading the need for a warrant to investigate private citizens. DHS AND ICE PURCHASED VAST QUANTITIES OF CELLPHONE LOCATION DATA: ACLU “Recent investigative reports indicate that many law enforcement agencies—including yours—have purchased data or licenses through relationships with data brokers, instead of obtaining it through statutory authorities, court order, or legal process,” wrote House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) in the letter. The letter arrived a month after a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, at which privacy researcher Sarah Lamdan noted that data provided by brokers...
    Washington (CNN Business)Amazon's smart-doorbell company, Ring, has provided surveillance footage to law enforcement without a warrant or the consent of doorbell-owners 11 times this year alone, according to a letter Amazon (AMZN (AMZN)) sent to Congress earlier this month. The disclosure highlights the degree of Amazon's control over data generated by the doorbells' cameras and microphones, as well as its deepening relationships with thousands of police departments across the country. The July 1 letter responding to questions by Sen. Ed Markey and made public by his office on Wednesday shows that Ring frequently makes its own "good-faith determinations" as to whether to provide surveillance data to law enforcement absent a warrant or the consent of the doorbell owner. Under its policies, Ring "reserves the right to respond immediately to urgent law enforcement requests for information in cases involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person," the letter read. The company also requires police to fill out a special "emergency request form" if there is an urgent need to bypass the normal law enforcement process, according to...
    New York (CNN Business)Three House lawmakers are launching an investigation into the collection and sale of personal health data related to abortion by data brokers and period-tracking apps. House Oversight Committee members Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sara Jacobs on Thursday night sent letters to five data broker companies and five health-tracking app companies seeking information about their collection, retention and sale of personal health data. The companies have until July 21 to respond, according to the letters, which were viewed by CNN Business. The move comes amid increasing concerns that personal data, such as location history, health history, messages and searches, could be used by law enforcement in some states to criminalize people seeking or providing abortions, after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. Many tech companies have thus far declined to say how they plan to respond to such requests from law enforcement. And online privacy experts have identified data brokers — which collect consumer data from various online sources and license it to third parties, typically advertisers — as a particularly vulnerable area because...
    New York (CNN Business)In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, privacy advocates have expressed renewed concerns about how tech platforms may handle requests from law enforcement for user data in states that outlaw abortion. But whether tech companies intend to hand over data on abortion-seekers to governments is a question the industry is seemingly unprepared to answer for now. Tech platforms hold vast troves of personal and health information in the form of the products we shop for, the places we travel, the businesses we frequent, the websites we visit, the information we search for, and the messages we send to our friends and family. Digital rights groups have warned of the risks this online footprint may now pose to people seeking or providing abortions in states where the procedure is criminalized. "Those seeking, offering, or facilitating abortion access must now assume that any data they provide online or offline could be sought by law enforcement," said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, in a statement following the Court's ruling. Thus far,...
    In the coming weeks, we can expect a lot of new doors to be kicked open by law enforcement and their friends in Republican-dominated state legislatures to target, investigate, intimidate and harass women and those who become pregnant (including their allies and significant others, in some cases) who may seek to terminate their pregnancies in violation of newly imposed state criminal laws and penalties inspired by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Given the ubiquity of cell and smartphone usage, one of the primary avenues of such investigative efforts will involve the acquisition of personal digital data that ties the alleged offender to facilities or other means of accessing abortion. In particular, we can expect the passage of laws criminalizing attempts to seek abortion in those states where the procedure remains available. Despite the seemingly apparent constitutional objections to criminalizing such interstate behavior, no Republican legislator is likely to see that as an impediment. (Prior to the overruling of Roe it was commonplace for legislators to pass dubious and draconian anti-abortion laws without regard to how the courts would eventually receive them, and there is simply no reason to suspect...
    A recent report reveals that a number of major technology companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google, have been tricked into handing over sensitive personal information about customers that was used to harass and even sexually extort minors. Bloomberg reports that according to four federal law enforcement officials and two industry investigators, a number of major tech firms including Facebook, Apple, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, and Discord have been tricked into handing over sensitive personal information of users in response to fraudulent legal requests. This information was reportedly used to harass and in some cases sexually extort minors. Tim Cook CEO of Apple laughing ( Stephanie Keith/Getty) Google boss Sundar Pichai is masked up ( Drew Angerer /Getty) The data was reportedly sued to target specific women and minors and in multiple cases was used to pressure and blackmail them into creating and sharing sexually explicit content. Those perpetrating the attacks are reportedly successfully impersonating law enforcement officers making it almost impossible for victims to protect themselves from the attacks. It is currently unclear how many times data requests have been used to...
    A recent report reveals that both Apple and Facebook provided private user data to hackers who posed as law enforcement officials. The hackers used forged “emergency data requests” to trick the Masters of the Universe into handing over sensitive information such as IP addresses and phone numbers for their targets. Bloomberg reports that Apple and Facebook (now known as Meta) provided user data to hackers who posed as law enforcement officials, tricking the multi-billion-dollar Masters of the Universe. The tech giants reportedly handed over basic subscribers details including customer addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses. Apple CEO Tim Cook (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Chinese Hackers The user data was handed over to hackers in mid-2021 in response to forged law enforcement “emergency data requests.” These requests are usually only provided with s search warrant or subpoena signed by a judge, according to sources. Snap Inc. received a forged legal request from the same hackers but it is currently unclear whether the company handed over any information. When questioned, Apple referenced its law enforcement guidelines which state that a supervisor...
    Child hackers posing as law enforcement officials were able to dupe Meta and Apple into handing over customer information, according to a new report. The now-defunct hacker gang dubbed Recursion Team is believed to consist of minors in the US and UK, including the suspected teen mastermind behind the Lapsus$ cybercrime group, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Using compromised email accounts from law enforcement organizations, the hackers sent 'emergency data requests' for subscriber information to Apple and Facebook's parent company. Though such request normally require a court order, that standard doesn't apply to so-called 'emergency' requests and in several cases the companies handed over customer information, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The website of defunct hacker gang Recursion Team, also known as Infinity Recursion, is seen above. The group impersonated cops to make data requests to Apple and Facebook This profile photo from a Telegram account shows a rendering of a 16-year-old boy from England who is believed to be the mastermind behind the hacking group LAPSUS$. He is also said to have been involved in the earlier hijinks by...
    Apple and Facebook reportedly provided sensitive customer information to hackers who faked being law enforcement officials in 2021. Facebook parent company Meta and Apple gave the hackers basic customer details — such as phone numbers, home addresses, and IP addresses — in response to forged "emergency data requests," Bloomberg reported. Typically, such data requests can only be granted through search warrants or subpoenas provided by a judge, but emergency requests don't require a full-court order. The hackers who duped the companies are affiliated with cybercrime groups known as “Recursion Team,” who have a history of using fake legal requests to garner sensitive data, according to three people with knowledge of the matter who spoke with Bloomberg. WATCH: RUSSIAN TV HACKED BY ANONYMOUS, AIRING FOOTAGE OF WAR IN UKRAINE The fraudulent legal requests are believed to have been sent by the cybercriminals, who used hacked email domains belonging to law enforcement agencies in multiple countries to persuade the tech companies to provide them with customer data. It's not clear the size and scope of the customer data provided by the...
    (CNN)The FBI has one more year to figure out how to collect use-of-force statistics from thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country before their efforts to publicize and reform police practices will get shutdown, according to a report by the US Government Accountability Office. The FBI launched the National Use-of-Force Data Collection program in 2019 with the intention to track excessive force incidents and release an annual report based on information provided by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.Because of a low response rate and lack of congressional directive to turn over the information, the Justice Department has not yet published any report, according to GAO's report that was published Tuesday."Due to insufficient participation from law enforcement agencies, the FBI faces risks that it may not meet the participation thresholds established in Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) terms of clearance for publishing data from the National Use-of-Force Data Collection, and therefore may never publish use of force incident data from the collection. Further, the collection itself may be discontinued as soon as the end of 2022," according...
    By Larry Keane Four northeast Democratic governors announced they will start sharing gun crime data to begin a new cooperative effort to combat “gun violence.” The video press conference drew less than 190 live viewers but media coverage afterwards was fawning and gave the governors exactly what they wanted – a quick and fleeting splash. The governors involved are all staunch gun control proponents who prefer restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans to imposing justice on the criminals perpetrating crimes committed with firearms. The announcement was yet another example of all show, no action policies. The agreement is a resounding dud. New Window Dressing Democratic Governors Kathy Hochul of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Ned Lamont of Connecticut have more than a dozen years of executive experience between them, yet three of their states are among the worst in the nation for crimes committed with a firearm and all four have some of the strictest existing gun control laws in the nation. They got together for the major announcement to remedy...
    PRIVACY experts are concerned the US government is overreaching by secretly issuing warrants for Google to turn over a person's search terms.  Federal investigators are pursuing so-called "keyword warrants" and getting Google to provide information based on anyone who searched a victim's name or their address during a particular year, according to a court document that was mistakenly unsealed in September.  1"Keyword warrants" allow law enforcement to request Google to turn over a person's search historyCredit: Getty POLICING THOUGHT? The revelation came in a 2019 federal case in Wisconsin where investigators pursuing men they suspected were trafficking and sexually abusing a minor who had gone missing.  The investigators approached Google to supply information on anyone who used their search engine to type in the victim’s name, two spellings of her mother’s name and her address over 16 days that year, according to Forbes. Authorities being able to access peoples’ searches is concerning to privacy experts who fear they could breach of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches. “Trawling through Google’s search history database enables police to identify people merely...
    Former Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Oregon to give a speech on law and order following the release of a damning Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime report showing an uptick in homicides. His speech at the Reagan Dinner 2021 event on Saturday will take place right outside of Portland and will be focused on enforcing the rule of law, support of law enforcement, and conservative efforts in Indiana, according to an Advancing American Freedom official. Portland, Oregon, was the setting of many protests and riots after George Floyd’s death in 2020. Ultimately, the Portland City Council cowered to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, defunded its police by $16 million, and slashed several programs. By 2021, Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner warned that officer morale was “as bad as it’s ever been” as the Democrat-run city experienced a sharp rise in violent crime. The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) released by the FBI on Monday shows that Oregon as a whole saw a nearly 20 percent increase in homicides in 2021, going from 91 in 2019 to 109 the following year....
                       
    Privacy experts consider it one of the safest email providers on the internet, but ProtonMail’s recent decision to hand over sensitive customer information to European law enforcement is raising questions about whether the company’s privacy claims are less of a promise and more of a mirage. After French law enforcement requested—through Europol—that Swiss authorities share the IP address of a climate activist, the end-to-end encrypted email provider ProtonMail shared the user’s information. (Switzerland-based ProtonMail isn’t subject to French or EU jurisdiction, but ProtonMail is obligated to respond to Swiss authorities.) French police came across the email address in the course of investigating a group that’s been protesting gentrification in a hip neighborhood of Paris since late 2020, and wanted to know who was behind it, according to local news sources. The investigation has led to a series of arrests on the ground. “Proton must comply with Swiss law. As soon as a crime is committed, privacy protections can be suspended and we’re required by Swiss law to answer requests from Swiss authorities,” ProtonMail founder Andy Yen tweeted. But on...
    Microsoft said Wednesday that it is too easy for the federal government to surveil the public's emails, texts, and other data hosted by tech companies by abusing gag orders and warrants. Microsoft, one of the biggest email and cloud-computing companies in the world, receives as many as 10 secret gag orders every day to access user data and up to 3,500 per year, accounting for as much as a third of all law enforcement requests the company gets, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer security and trust, said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. “What may be most shocking is just how routine court-mandated secrecy has become when law enforcement targets Americans’ emails, text messages, and other sensitive data stored in the cloud," Burt said during a hearing focused on legislative solutions to potentially unnecessary government surveillance and investigations. "We are not suggesting that secrecy orders should only be obtained through some impossible standard," Burt said. "We simply ask that it be a meaningful one ... Without legislative reform, abuses will continue to occur, and they will...
    Loading the player... The FBI launched the National Use of Force Data Collection program in 2019 to provide reliable statistics on law enforcement use-of-force incidents. Despite a presidential order, for the second year in a row, only 27 percent of police departments have supplied the data.  As a result, The Washington Post reports that the database will only list participating agencies “and no data about how often police fire their weapons, cause serious injury or kill people,” the outlet writes.  Nationwide, the majority of law enforcement agencies still close records or make them hard to obtain. They claim they are personnel matters, privacy violations, or ongoing investigations that could be compromised. They are backed by strong law enforcement unions and the law enforcement bills of rights that protect the privacy rights of officers over the public’s right to know, theGRIO reported.  Also Read: Police misconduct records secret, difficult to access The #FBI released new data for the National Use-of-Force Data Collection at https://t.co/B3IzZTpTkg. In 2020, 5,030 out of 18,514 law enforcement agencies submitted data, representing 42% of federal,...
    BREA, Calif. (KABC) -- LaMarr Tinnin wanted to be a police officer when he was just a toddler.But he said as he grew up in North Carolina, he started to experience racism at the hands of police.Tinnin said police would pull him over for no reason and harass him."And I had an older relative of mine, he said, 'Well, the best way to fix that is become one of them, and change it like that,'" Tinnin said. "And that's what I did."Now, Tinnin is the Homeless Liaison Officer at the Brea Police Department in Orange County. He said when he goes out to encampments, people seem to relate to him a little more."I don't know if that's from my demeanor, or the color of my skin. But I do know that when I deal with them, they end up being a little more relaxed," he said.Tinnin said people seem happy to see an officer of color that they feel they can relate to.MORE DIVERSE POLICE MEANS FEWER DISPARITIES IN ARRESTSCpl. Ryan Tillman from the Chino Police Department in Riverside County...
    Black Lives Matter activists confront Columbus Police outside of Columbus Police headquarters during a protest in reaction to the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant on April 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/Getty Images A Columbus Division of Police officer fatally shot a 16-year-old Black girl on Tuesday. Ma'Khia Bryant is the fifth Black child killed by Columbus police since 2016, The Washington Post reported.  Columbus police and NYPD are tied for the second-most police killings of kids since 2013.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. The police killing of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant has thrust the Columbus Division of Police to the forefront of a news cycle dominated by discussions of deadly police force and gun violence. But police accountability data collected over the last eight years suggests the fatal shooting that unfolded in mere seconds on Tuesday wasn't an anomaly. Bryant was the fifth child killed by a Columbus Division of Police officer in the last five years. Since 2013, Columbus police have killed more kids than all but two local law-enforcement agencies in the country, according...
    The Arizona Legislature soon will send Gov. Doug Ducey a requirement that the state’s law enforcement agencies collect use-of-force data. The Senate has approved House Bill 2168, sponsored by Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Snowflake. If signed by Ducey, it would require law enforcement agencies to collect information on any use-of-force incidents involving officers and send it to the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission and the FBI’s National Use of Force Data Collection database. The state would make data from the previous year available. “In light of the recent incident in Minnesota that led to the shooting death of Daunte Wright, my heart and prayers go out to all that have been affected by this tragedy,” Blackman said. “I’m hopeful that the detailed data collected as a result of this legislation will help lead to informed decision making, policy reforms and enhanced training to support law enforcement agencies and improve the ability of officers to serve and protect people in our communities.” The bill’s passage comes as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin stands accused of murder in the killing...
    A small memorial is seen where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago Police officer in the Little Village neighborhood on April 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images Data from Mapping Police Violence shows police officers have killed more than 150 kids nationwide since 2013. Data shows the Chicago Police Department has killed more children than any other local law enforcement agency. Adam Toledo, 13, who was fatally shot last month, is the youngest and most recent victim. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. The police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo has sparked a renewed outcry over officer shootings, this time thrusting the Chicago Police Department into the spotlight, as recently released body-worn camera footage shows the 7th-grader raising his hands moments before being fatally shot last month.  But police accountability data collected over the last eight years suggests Toledo's tragic death at the hands of a Chicago police officer may not be an anomaly. Since 2013, the Chicago Police Department has killed more children than any other local law...
    We don't know. Literally: We don't know. A new open source database launched by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund aims to do what the government has continually failed at: establish a comprehensive, nationwide dataset on the use of force by this nation's law enforcement agencies. In an announcement of the new site, Accountable Now, the organizations noted that civil rights activists have been asking for such a database "for almost a decade," and that “Accurate data is critical to revealing the disproportionate impact police violence has on communities of color. To fix a problem, you need to know how extensive it is." That there is still, even now, no national accounting of how many people are killed or injured by local law enforcement officers remains stunning, but is symptom of just how very disinterested law enforcement agencies are in compiling such data. Says The Leadership Conference's Lynda Garcia in a Time interview, "[P]olice departments across this country sometimes can’t even tell you how many people they shot and killed the prior year...
    Chicago police stand guard as demonstrators protest outside the department's 7th District station on August 11, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/Scott Olson A new study suggests police officers of color and female officers are less likely to use force. Researchers evaluated data from millions of Chicago Police Department officer shifts from 2012-2015. Their findings offer some of the most precise data so far to support calls for police diversification Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. New research on the role that demographics play in policing could offer data-supported solutions to widespread calls for police reform in response to the surge of high-profile killings in recent years. A new study published last week in the journal Science suggests that police officers of color and female officers are less likely to use force than their white, male counterparts, offering some of the first research to back calls for police force diversification as a method of reform. "There are obviously a lot of papers that offer some conclusions about how demographics do influence policing outcomes," Roman Rivera, a co-author...
    Bank of America succumbed to the "wokeness" of the left by sharing private customer information with federal investigators to help authorities track down Capitol Hill rioters, author and Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Tuesday. The show reported last week that Bank of America, at the request of federal investigators, combed through customer data in search of people and transactions that fit a certain profile – potentially placing individuals at the Capitol on the day of the Jan. 6 riot. More than 200 people were reportedly identified as fitting the profile, which included engaging in transactions in D.C. on Jan.5 or Jan. 6, renting hotel rooms, buying weapons within a specified date range, as well as making certain flight purchases. "It's kind of scary because in this huge octopus we are facing now in [the form of] Silicon Valley, traditional media, social media ... Hollywood ... we always thought the corporation and the financial institution was wary of surveillance or the left," Hanson told Carlson on Tuesday. TUCKER CARLSON: BANK OF AMERICA HANDED OVER CUSTOMER DATA TO FEDS FOLLOWING CAPITOL RIOT "But," he said, "when you...
    Social media companies are cooperating with law enforcement agencies by handing over data leading to the arrest of the MAGA rioters who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6. The 'digital dragnet' involves investigators monitoring social media for posts and videos recorded by the rioters themselves - similar to what investigators did during the George Floyd protests over the summer. As more indictments are being handed down against the Capitol rioters, tech companies are reportedly showing their willingness to hand over incriminating data, according to Huffington Post. Jesus Rivera, one of the Trump supporters who has been charged, is one suspect who was indicted after Facebook turned over information to the FBI that purports to show him inside the Capitol crypt. Rivera had recorded a five-minute video of himself among the rioters, but then disabled and deleted his Facebook. MAGA rioters clash with police outside the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6. Federal investigators have relied on data from tech companies including Facebook to identify and charge suspects Protesters scuffle with police in Washington,...
    Rebekah Jones, Florida's former COVID-19 data scientist, turned herself in to police after a warrant was issued for her arrest for illegal use of the state's computer system, CBS Miami reports. Before doing so Sunday, she posted on Twitter: "Censored by the state of Florida until further notice." Censored by the state of Florida until further notice. #LetHerSpeak— Rebekah Jones (@GeoRebekah) January 17, 2021 Earlier, she posted, "Insurrectionists planning attacks across the country this week and Florida is jailing scientists for the crimes of knowing and speaking." Insurrectionists planning attacks across the country this week and Florida is jailing scientists for the crimes of knowing and speaking.— Rebekah Jones (@GeoRebekah) January 17, 2021 Jones is charged with "one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices," according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She is set to make her first appearance in court on Monday morning. Earlier Sunday, she tweeted she was turning herself in to authorities. "To protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I'm ready to fight...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is working with the FBI to monitor and respond to a web service breach after information from more than 200 police departments, fusion centers and other U.S. law enforcement agencies was compromised this summer. According to the sheriff’s office, the agency was notified in June by Netsential about the data breach on a server that included information from HCSO. Netsential is a Texas-based company that provides web hosting services to hundreds of law enforcement and government agencies across the country, including the HCSO. According to the sheriff’s office, the most common documents shared by the HCSO through the web service are crime information and situational awareness bulletins. These bulletins often contain information of individuals under investigation who are wanted by law enforcement or have active criminal warrants. Officials say the sharing of information between agencies is critical in solving crimes and locating criminals. The HCSO says since being notified, the agency has investigated whether any private data was accessed as a result of the Netsential breach. According to the sheriff’s office,...
    MARTINEZ — The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office is getting ready to publicly release data that local lawyers, activists, and journalists have been seeking for years: a breakdown of charging decisions and outcomes of criminal cases by race, gender, and other demographic information. The data is being compiled as part of the District Attorney’s partnership with the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice, a data-driven nonprofit that pursues progressive policies and training in the justice system. The data will cover a five-year period starting in 2014 and include “case dispositions, charges and enhancements, demographics, pleas, bail, sentencing,” along with the defendants’ race, gender, and other identifying information, a District Attorney spokesman said. “Data from any law enforcement agency tells a story. We need this data analysis to improve our communication with the public and our law enforcement partners,” District Attorney Diana Becton said in a written statement as part of a news release. “As a former judge and now district attorney, I understand the systemic issues in our county with racial disparities. We must think critically about how best to...
    The filing had been submitted in July, but wasn’t made public until October 6th. The fire happened outside a home in Kissimmee, Florida. So federal agents got a search warrant requiring Google to identify “users who had searched the address of the Residence close in time to the arson,” according to a newly unsealed search warrant affidavit pic.twitter.com/k3q6xj3ACy — Robert Snell (@robertsnellnews) October 6, 2020 Williams’ lawyer, Todd Spodek, intends to challenge the warrant for allegedly violating his client’s rights. Search warrants are normally targeted at a narrow group of likely suspects — this was aimed at anyone looking for certain terms. It could be “misconstrued or used improperly,” Spodek said. Experts are concerned that “reverse” warrants, including geofence warrants that target everyone in a given area, violate Fourth Amendment rights protecting against overly broad searches. A federal judge in Illinois has already ruled that the approach violates the Fourth Amendment, while New York politicians have proposed a bill banning the practice. We’ve asked Google for comment, although it declined to tell CNET how many keyword-related...
    Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cops have been trained to use data-mining firm Palantir's controversial law enforcement tool to list the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances and jobs of anyone who comes into contact with police - including their associates. More than half of all LAPD cops - around 5,000 officers - have accounts with Palantir, one of the biggest surveillance companies in the world, which both firms claim helps the force keep the public safe on the city's streets. However, newly released documents obtained by Buzzfeed News through a FOIA request reveal that the surveillance is far from limited to people arrested, convicted or suspected of criminal activity. Training documents for the 'Intermediate Course' and 'Advanced Course' show how cops are taught to use the powerful law enforcement tool Palantir Gotham to collect and store detailed information on anyone at all they encounter, from witnesses or victims of crimes to someone simply living in the area a crime took place.   The system then indiscriminately stores intricate details such as tattoos, scars, romances and associates on people including...
    Uber's former chief security officer has been charged with allegedly trying to cover up a data breach that exposed the email and phone numbers of 57 million drivers and passengers. Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Joe Sullivan, 52, with obstructing justice and concealing a felony over the 2016 hack.  'Concealing information about a felony from law enforcement is a crime,' Deputy Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair said in a release.  'While this case is an extreme example of a prolonged attempt to subvert law enforcement, we hope companies stand up and take notice.  'Do not help criminal hackers cover their tracks. Do not make the problem worse for your customers, and do not cover up criminal attempts to steal people's personal data.'      This story will be updated. More to come. 
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A massive security breach forced GEDmatch to shut down their site, after exposing the DNA data profiles of more than a million people who use the online service to law enforcement agencies. GEDmatch described it as a “sophisticated attack” on their servers through a user account. Wednesday morning, members were greeted with a letter describing a 3-hour breach and temporary shutdown on July 19, and the discovery of a vulnerability on July 20 that forced the site to shut down. “We discovered that the site was still vulnerable and made the decision to take the site down until such time that we can be absolutely sure that user data is protected against potential attacks,” said Brett Williams, CEO of GEDmatch’s parent company Verogen Inc. in a the letter. “It was later confirmed that GEDmatch was the target of a second breach in which all user permissions were set to opt-out of law enforcement matching.” Forensic genomics company Verogen Inc., based in California, acquired GEDmatch in December 2019. Members were advised of the partnership and given...
    Whitney KimballJust now•Filed to:looks like helllooks like hellelectronic frontier foundationsurveillanceSaveImage: From a demonstration of facial recognition technology by Horizon Robotics at CES in 2019. David McNew/AFP (Getty Images) An abundance of reporting has confirmed that you’re not paranoid, Minority Report was nonfiction, and face paint isn’t just an art project. We hear about how law enforcement can match our faces with photos scraped from our social media profiles and monitor us through neighbors’ doorbells. The near-weekly updates send a shiver down our spine, and we file them away along with too many instances to rattle off in a blog post. Usually, it’s up to privacy advocates to track this constant surveillance take the violations to court. But now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced an easily filtered national map of implemented surveillance tools—although, the EFF disclaims in the description, the map is only the “tip of the iceberg.” The map of 5,300 data points shows 12 types of surveillance deployed by law enforcement, including license plate readers, facial recognition, cell-site simulators, drones, and Amazon’s Ring video-sharing partnerships with local law...
    (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's WhatsApp messaging service said on Monday it had "paused" processing law enforcement requests for user data in Hong Kong. WhatsApp is "pausing" such reviews "pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts," a spokesperson said in a statement. (Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
    A trio of Senate Republicans introduced an encryption bill aimed at helping law enforcement late Tuesday. It is already facing widespread opposition. The bill would essentially require tech companies offering encryption to help law enforcement access encrypted data if a warrant is produced. The “Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act” is the latest bill to zero in on encryption, and specifically “would require device manufacturers and service providers to assist law enforcement with accessing encrypted data if assistance would aid in the execution of the warrant,” according to a background of the bill released Tuesday. The background goes onto say: “Increasingly, technology providers are deliberately designing their products and services so that only the user, and not law enforcement, has access to content—even when criminal activity is clearly taking place. This type of ‘warrant-proof’ encryption adds little to the security of the communications of the ordinary user, but it is a serious benefit for those who use the internet for illicit purposes. The bill was introduced on Tuesday by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.),...
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