Tag Archive: police state

Carrboro Police To Increase Surveillance Capabilities

Carrboro Police using cameras against activists

Carrboro Police using cameras against activists

From Chapel Hill News

 — As the Carrboro Police Department makes plans to buy in-car and eventually body-mounted cameras for its officers, it is developing a policy the chief says will protect the rights of both the officers and the people they film.

Police Chief Walter Horton recently told the Board of Aldermen that he hopes to purchase eight car cameras in the coming year and add additional cameras each year as the department buys new vehicles.

The department has not budgeted the money to purchase any body cameras for officers this year.

Cameras will record traffic stops, searches, encounters with people on the street and for some investigations, Horton said. (more…)

The US government doesn’t want you to know how the cops are tracking you

stopitFrom The Guardian

All across America, from Florida to Colorado and back again, the country’s increasingly militarized local police forces are using a secretive technology to vacuum up cellphone data from entire neighborhoods – including from people inside their own homes – almost always without a warrant. This week, numerous investigations by major news agencies revealed the US government is now taking unbelievable measures to make sure you never find out about it. But a landmark court ruling for privacy could soon force the cops to stop, even as the Obama administration fights to keep its latest tool for mass surveillance a secret.

So-called International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers – more often called their popular brand name, “Stingray” – have long been the talk of the civil liberties crowd, for the indiscriminate and invasive way these roving devices conduct surveillance. Essentially, Stingrays act as fake cellphone towers (usually mounted in a mobile police truck) that police can point toward any given area and force every phone in the area to connect to it. So even if you’re not making a call, police can find out who you’ve been calling, and for how long, as well as your precise location. As Nathan Freed Wessler of the ACLU explained on Thursday, “In one Florida case, a police officer explained in court that he ‘quite literally stood in front of every door and window’ with his stingray to track the phones inside a large apartment complex.”

Yet these mass surveillance devices have largely stayed out of the public eye, thanks to the federal government and local police refusing to disclose they’re using them in the first place – sometimes, shockingly, even to judges. As the Associated Press reported this week, the Obama administration has been telling local cops to keep information on Stingrays secret from members of the news media, even when it seems like local public records laws would mandate their disclosure. The AP noted: (more…)

N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images

selfieFrom Corporate Media

The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.

The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.

The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,” according to 2011 documents obtained from the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. While once focused on written and oral communications, the N.S.A. now considers facial images, fingerprints and other identifiers just as important to its mission of tracking suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets, the documents show.

“It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: It’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting,” noted a 2010 document. (more…)

Then They Came for the Juggalos

Juggalo-Mask-Article-400x266By Doug Lyfe /From Mask Magazine

“This ain’t no civil war. We ain’t civilized no more!”
—Twiztid

“The time has come for the blood to run into the streets paved with gold. We have lived in the zoo of the ghetto for so long. We must move into the suburbs and punish the rich for their ignorance. For the horror of death that is part of our life in our neighborhood and give them a taste of the same.”
—Insane Clown Posse

“The FBI just came to talk to you,” my friend deadpanned over the phone. My heart immediately started beating faster. “Fuck,” I thought, “I always thought this day would come.” I was at my girlfriend’s house — she had already left to go to school and I was getting ready for work. As I sat down to collect myself, my friend told me that two FBI agents had come by my former home looking for me. When my friend asked who they were, they responded that they were with the FBI and gave him a card. He told them I wasn’t there, so they got back into their black SUV and left.

After we hung up I rushed out of the house and headed over to the home of a former member of the Black Panther Party — someone that had lived through the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, which targeted revolutionary groups in the 1960s and 1970s. With the help of a lot of nicotine and some encouraging words, I talked to several friends and lawyers and got an appointment to see an attorney. Fearing that the feds would be coming to my parents’ house next, I called them and broke the news. They were just as shocked as I was, but also not that surprised.

The next morning, my dad called — the FBI was at his house. I gave him the number to an attorney and told him to tell the feds to suck it. (more…)

FBI Building Database Containing Face-scans of Millions

 

Biometric facial recognitionThere are millions of entries for non-criminal reasons as well as many from unexplained sources.

Biometric facial recognition. There are millions of entries for non-criminal reasons as well as many from unexplained sources.

From Warrior Publications

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been developing a gigantic database containing biometric information on a significant portion of the United States.  The human identifiers contained in this database — photos, fingerprints, facial signatures, iris scans, palm prints, birthmarks, voice recognition, DNA — are not only taken from people who have been arrested, they are also being collected from millions of Americans who have not been charged with any crime. The database is called “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) is being built upon the FBI’s legacy database of 100 million fingerprints collected over the past several decades, called the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).  Now, the FBI’s Biometric Center of Excellence has taken that database and expanded it to include all sorts of other personal identifiers.  It is estimated that one-third of the population of the USA has personal bodily identifiers stored in the FBI’s database.

In 2012, the bureau spent $1,000,000,000taxpayer dollars in an effort to add millions of face-scans to the database. With its current capabilities, a facial image can be matched to a stored profile amongst millions of entries in under 2 seconds.  The feds have passports, driver’s licenses, mugshots, surveillance cameras, and social media at their disposal to create their massive database.  Dozens of states have already integrated facial recognition into their driver’s licenses, and some are sharing that information with the FBI. (more…)

Previously-Secret Prison Docs Show Constitutional Violations in Experimental Prison Units

 

Daniel McGowan

Daniel McGowan

“This is the press release sent out by my attorneys at the Center for the Constitutional Rights regarding previously unseen documents about the Communication Management Units (CMUS) aka Lil Gitmo, run by the Bureau of Prisons. The documents reveal just what I have been saying since the day I got to the CMU in 2008-that myself and my former plaintiffs were sent there due to our political speech. A huge summary judgement motion brief was just filed and the protective order on these documents were lifted for the first time. We are asking the judge to rule on the case in our favor, with all that we have presented. The suit was first filed in April 2010 by CCR on behalf of myself and other CMU detainees. Despite my status as a released prisoner (and having been dismissed off the lawsuit by the judge for this reason), I maintain that political prisoner units are important to fight on multiple fronts. There are men in the CMU (and women at the FMC Carswell Admin Max unit) from our movements and many in need of support.” —Daniel McGowan

View all the documents in the CCR’s summary motion here.

For more information on Daniel’s case, see his article, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to CMU For My Political Speech.”

Docs Confirm Lack of Due Process in Communications Management Units, Attorneys Say

from Center for Constitutional Rights

April 23, 2014, Washington D.C.For the first time, hundreds of documents detailing the Bureau of Prisons’ process for designating prisoners to controversial Communications Management Units (CMUs) are public. The documents had been under a protective order in the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawsuit, Aref v. Holder, since CCR filed the case in 2010. (more…)

It’s Very Easy to Get Onto the Terrorist Database, and Impossible to Get Off It

Image removed at demand of License Compliance Services, Inc (09/2016)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/12/eff-responds-after-license-compliance-services-attacks-fair-use

From Vice News

The Department of Justice released an audit of the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist protocol on Tuesday. This claimed that while the agency has improved its speed when it comes to adding — and removing — names to the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), it still isn’t adding them fast enough.

The heavily redacted report makes clear that individuals who are not being officially investigated by the FBI can be, and often are, added to terrorist lists. What the audit doesn’t make clear is why. And that’s causing a growing unease among civil liberties groups, lawyers, and activists.

A week earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a paper claiming that the TSDB grew from about 158,000 listings in 2004 to over 1.1 million in 2009. That was before the “underwear bomber,” a 2009 incident that greatly increased monitoring.

The “no-fly list” more than doubled in one year after that failed bombing attempt. But that is just one of eleven lists that include the Consular Lookout and Support System, the Interpol list, and the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF). (more…)

Federal judge upholds the government’s right to search electronics at the border

borderFrom The Verge

A US judge has declared that the government can still search and confiscate your electronic devices when you cross the border — dismissing a lawsuit against the policy largely on the grounds that such searches are rare occurrences.

In a ruling released on Tuesday, a judge out of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York declared that the lawsuit plaintiffs didn’t have grounds for their case. “There is not a substantial risk that their electronic devices will be subject to a search or seizure without reasonable suspicion,” he noted. And even if the lawsuit had moved forward, the judge added that the government doesn’t need reasonable suspicion to confiscate or search devices like laptops or cellphones. (more…)

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

nsa_eyeFrom New York Times

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, testified on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners. (more…)

How the cops watch your tweets in real-time

bluejay2From Arstechnica

Recent leaks about the NSA’s Internet spy programs have sparked renewed interest in government surveillance, though the leaks touch largely on a single form of such surveillance—the covert one. But so-called “open source intelligence” (OSINT) is also big business— and not just at the national/international level. New tools now mine everything from “the deep Web” to Facebook posts to tweets so that cops and corporations can see what locals are saying. Due to the sheer scale of social media posts, many tools don’t even aim at providing a complete picture. Others do.

For instance, consider BlueJay, the “Law Enforcement Twitter Crime Scanner,” which provides real-time, geo-fenced access to every single public tweet so that local police can keep tabs on #gunfire, #meth, and #protest (yes, those are real examples) in their communities. BlueJay is the product of BrightPlanet, whose tagline is “Deep Web Intelligence” and whose board is populated with people like Admiral John Poindexter of Total Information Awareness infamy.

BlueJay allows users to enter a set of Twitter accounts, keywords, and locations to scan for within 25-mile geofences (BlueJay users can create up to five such fences), then it returns all matching tweets in real-time. If the tweets come with GPS locations, they are plotted on a map. The product can also export databases of up to 100,000 matching tweets at a time.

A look at the BlueJay interface shows it to be a fairly basic tool, but one that gets its power from full access to the Twitter “firehose” of all tweets. Users who want to search the Twitterverse have three basic options: Twitter’s search API, Twitter’s streaming API, or full firehouse access to Twitter from third party providers like GNIP and DataSift. The first two are free but limited; BrightPlanet notes that even the broader streaming API returns somewhere between one and 40 percent of the relevant tweets depending on Twitter’s load at the moment. The firehose requires some serious infrastructure and a paid contract with Twitter, but it provides all relevant tweets. (more…)