Favorite Quotes

"Once you walk into a courtroom, you've already lost. The best way to win is to avoid it at all costs, because the justice system is anything but" Sydney Carton, Attorney. "There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice. The law of real people doesn't work" Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The DEA has created a massive national license plate reader spying program


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.

The DEA has gathered as many as 343 million records in the National License Plate Recognition program, which connects DEA license plate readers with those of other law enforcement agencies around the country.

“With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers’ movements across the country — and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that.”

A Washington Post headline proclaimed in February 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security had cancelled its “national license-plate tracking plan,” but all that was ended was one Immigrations and Customs Enforcement solicitation for proposals. In fact, a government-run national license plate tracking program already exists, housed within the DEA. (That’s in addition to the corporate license plate tracking database run by Vigilant Solutions, holding billions of records about our movements.) Since its inception in 2008, the DEA has provided limited information to the public on the program’s goals, capabilities and policies. Information has trickled out over the years, in testimony here or there. But far too little is still known about this program.

In 2012, the ACLU filed public records requests in 38 states and Washington, D.C. seeking information about the use of automatic license plate readers. Our July 2013 report, You Are Being Tracked, summarized our findings with regard to state and local law enforcement agencies, finding that the technology was being rapidly adopted, all too often with little attention paid to the privacy risks of this powerful technology. But in addition to filing public records requests with state agencies, the ACLU also filed FOIA requests with federal agencies, including the DEA.

The new DEA records that we received are heavily redacted and incomplete, but they provide the most complete documentation of the DEA’s database to date. For example, the DEA has previously testified that its license plate reader program began at the southwest border crossings, and that the agency planned to gradually increase its reach; we now know more about to where it has grown. The DEA had previously suggested that “other sources” would be able to feed data into the database; we now know about some of the types of agencies collaborating with the DEA.

The documents uncovered by our FOIA request provide additional details, but their usefulness is limited by the DEA’s decision to provide only documents that are undated or years old. If the DEA’s collection of location information is as extensive as the agency has suggested in its limited comments to legislatures, the public deserves a more complete and comprehensive explanation than the smattering of records we have obtained can provide.

These records do, however, offer documentation that this program is a major DEA initiative that has the potential to track our movements around the country. With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers’ movements across the country — and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that. If license plate readers continue to proliferate without restriction and the DEA holds license plate reader data for extended periods of time, the agency will soon possess a detailed and invasive depiction of our lives (particularly if combined with other data about individuals collected by the government, such as the DEA’s recently revealed bulk phone records program, or cell phone information gleaned from U.S. Marshals Service’s cell site simulator-equipped aircraft ). Data-mining the information, an unproven law enforcement technique that the DEA has begun to use here, only exacerbates these concerns, potentially tagging people as criminals without due process.

Some major findings from the documents

The National License Plate Recognition Initiative includes a massive database containing data from both DEA-owned automatic license plate readers and other readers. Among the findings from the FOIA documents:
  • At the time of an undated slideshow, the DEA had deployed at least 100 license plate readers across the United States (eight states are identified: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey). A 2010 document also explains that the DEA had by then set up 41 plate reader monitoring stations throughout Texas, New Mexico, and California.
  • The DEA is also inviting federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies around the country to contribute location information to the database. For example, the documents show that local and regional law enforcement systems in Southern California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties and New Jersey all provide data to the DEA. The program was “officially opened” to these partners in May 2009. Other agencies are surely partnering with the DEA to share information, but these agreements are still secret, leaving the public unable to know who has their location information and how it is being used.
  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is one of the federal agencies that has shared information with the DEA. An undated Memorandum of Understanding explains that the agencies will, “at regular intervals,” provide each other license plate reader data. It also authorizes the two agencies to further share each other’s data with other federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors as well as to “intelligence, operations, and fusion centers.” This is a lot of location points. CBP collects “nearly 100 percent of land border traffic,” which amounts to over 793.5 million license plates between May 2009 and May 2013, according to CBP’s response to our FOIA request.
  • Additionally, any federal, state, or local law enforcement agent vetted by the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center can conduct queries of the database, located in Merrifield, Va.
  • The same undated slideshow suggests that there were over 343 million records in the database at the date of the slide’s publication (due to redactions, it is impossible to confirm that date from this document).
  • The unredacted parts of the documents and news reports suggest that the DEA recently changed its retention policy to six months for non-hit data. While this is an improvement from previous statements of DEA retention policy, it is still far too long. The government should not collect or retain information revealing the movements of millions of people accused of no crime. But even that long retention period is only meaningful if it comes with strict rules limiting data use, sharing, and access. Like its retention policy, the DEA should make these policies public.
  • The DEA says that the National License Plate Recognition Initiative targets roadways that the agency believes are commonly used for contraband transport. But it’s not clear what this means or what it is based on. Every highway in the United States must be regularly used for contraband transport. Is the DEA using this undefined mandate to target people of color? Without more information from the DEA, we have no idea.
  • One DEA document references steps needed to ensure the program meets its goals, "of which asset forfeiture is primary." Asset forfeiture has been in the news a lot lately, criticized as a widely abused law enforcement tactic that doesn’t advance public safety but simply enriches police and federal agencies.
  • The program also apparently data mines license plate reader data "to identify travel patterns." The extent of this data mining is unknown. Is the DEA running all of our license plate reads through a program to predict our likelihood of committing a crime? Are we all suspects if we drive on a certain road? What else does the DEA think it knows about us just from the collection and analysis of our locations via license plate reader data?

“Technology now allows us to be followed or seen or photographed or videoed and have information stored every time we leave our homes,” Professor Clifford Fishman adds. “The Supreme Court’s standard of Americans having a reasonable expectation of privacy ... doesn’t work anymore, so we need a new way to define when privacy needs to be protected from digital surveillance and retention of data.”

“I think of this almost as a process issue more than a substance or constitutionality issue,” says Fred Cate, a senior fellow at Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research in Bloomington. “The thing that feels particularly jarring is that nobody is forthright about what they’re doing.
https://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty-criminal-law-reform/foia-documents-reveal-massive-dea-program-record-ame
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/0127/US-car-spying-program-revealed-Are-Americans-now-OK-with-some-candid-camera
http://thehill.com/policy/technology/230818-doj-building-secret-database-to-track-cars-in-real-time
http://benswann.com/the-federal-government-is-storing-hundreds-of-millions-of-american-license-plate-records/

DEA is spying on our phone calls:


DHS run Justice Department revealed the existence of yet another database of American telephone records, adding new details to the disclosures in recent years about mass government surveillance.

This database was maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration and contained the records of calls made between phone numbers in the United States and overseas. The phone records were retained even if there was no evidence the callers were involved in criminal activity.
 
The government stored the numbers, the time and date of the call and the length. But, the database did not include names or other personal identifying information or the content of the conversation. It contained records of calls between Americans and people in countries that had connections to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities.
 
The government didn’t disclose this information in a report or in response to a congressional inquiry. Instead, it was quietly mentioned in a declaration by a DEA agent, in a criminal case brought in D.C. federal court. The defendant, Shantia Hassanshahi, is under indictment for allegedly conspiring to export electronic parts to Iran. The facts are important, as they highlight the problem with bulk collection.

An agent with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) received an unsolicited email from a source who claimed that an Iranian emailed him seeking to procure electronic parts for a project in Iran. The email to the source contained the Iranian’s phone number and business address in Tehran. The DHS agent took that phone number and queried it in a law enforcement database, seeking to find US based phone numbers that had communicated with the Iranian. The results turned up one number that corresponded to a Google voice phone number. Via a subpoena to Google, the government was able to identify the number as Hassanshahi’s. After additional investigation, including a search of the TECS database, the government indicted Hassanshahi. Assuming the database was the NSA’s controversial phone records database, Hassanshahi’s lawyers moved to suppress the information learned from the search of the database. The government responded that it wasn’t the NSA database and refused to give the court or the defendant any more information about the database—but asked the court to assume the information had been obtained unconstitutionally.

That’s right—the government stated that the database it used was unconstitutional. Unsurprisingly, such an admission got a few raised eyebrows, including the judge overseeing the case, who noted that the government left him in a “difficult, and frustrating, situation.” The judge ordered the government to submit an ex parte declaration “summarizing the contours of the mysterious law enforcement database.”

The existence of another database of phone records collected in bulk for domestic law enforcement purposes raises serious questions, WHO ISN'T SPYING ON US?
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/us/dea-kept-telephone-records-on-americans-justice-department-says.html?_r=1
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/many-problems-deas-bulk-phone-records-collection-program
       
 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Police & our government are seizing motorists assets & keeping the cash


 
Police nationwide use asset forfeiture to fund DHS run police departments and keep the money if the seizure results from an investigation assisted by or coordinated with "federal authorities." There are hundreds of federally subsidized drug task forces across the country, composed of local cops who are often deputized as federal agents. "As virtually every drug task force I know of has a federal liaison on call," says Eapen Thampy, executive director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, "this means business as usual [for] local law enforcement using civil asset forfeiture through the Equitable Sharing Program to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and other federal statutes. In other words, the exception swallows the rule."
 
Holder's order also explicitly exempts "seizures pursuant to federal seizure warrants, obtained from federal courts to take custody of assets originally seized under state law." Brenda Grantland, a California attorney who specializes in forfeiture cases, says that means "if a federal prosecutor really wants to adopt a state seizure," he can "just ask the federal judge to approve a federal seizure warrant."

Provided there is some sort of coordination, federal participation, or post-hoc judicial approval, these forfeitures are not considered adoptions. But they have a similar effect, allowing local agencies to take advantage of federal forfeiture law, which requires less evidence and lets cops keep a bigger share of the loot than many state laws do. In fact, the seizures that are not covered by Holder's new policy account for the vast majority of the money that state and local agencies get from federal forfeitures—something like 86 percent, judging from the Justice Department's numbers for fiscal years 2008 through 2013. Similarly, a 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office noted that "adoptions made up about 17 percent of all equitable sharing payments" in 2010.

Robert Morris, an attorney who blogs at Hammer of Truthargues that such numbers, which reflect the dollar value of seizures, understate the impact of Holder's reform, since they do not tell us how many cases qualify as adoptions. If adoptions tend to be worth less than the other forfeitures in the Equitable Sharing Program, they may account for a larger percentage of cases than the dollar figures suggest. Morris says "cautious excitement" is the appropriate response to the new DOJ policy.

There was a lot of excitement after the DOJ announced its new policy but not much caution. The Washington Post, which broke the story, reported that Holder had "barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges," leaving the impression that equitable sharing had been eliminated rather than pared back. The Post, which recently has done an excellent job of highlighting forfeiture abuses, said the new policy "would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the [equitable sharing] program." The Post did note, deep in the story, that Holder said equitable sharing would continue in cases "where local and federal authorities are collaborating." But it said "most of the money and property taken under Equitable Sharing since 2008…was not seized in collaboration with federal authorities," which is the opposite of what the department's numbers indicate.

Friday, January 23, 2015

DHS run police departments are using community outreach programs to spy on citizens



A grant proposal from the St. Paul Police Department to the Justice Department, which the Brennan Center obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, lays out a plan in which Somali-speaking advocates would hold outreach meetings with community groups and direct people toward the Police Athletic League and programs at the YWCA. The proposal says that “the team will also identify radicalized individuals, gang members, and violent offenders who refuse to cooperate with our efforts.”

“It’s startling how explicit it was – ‘You don’t want to join the Police Athletic League? You sound like you might join al-Shabab!’” said Michael Price, an attorney with the Brennan Center.

In an internal memo obtained by the Brennan Center, however, the teams were called a “paradigm shift,” allowing “FBI outreach to support operational programs.”

The ACLU has documented numerous cases in recent years in San Francisco and San Jose where federal agents visited mosques and attended Ramadan dinners in the name of outreach, all the while keeping records on the participants.

The ACLU also reported as far back as 2011 the FBI has been using community outreach programs to spy on citizens. And in 2013 the ACLU proved the FBI's community outreach programs are a Trojan horse. Click here to read more.

The Islamic State may be the new face of religious extremism, but for a number of years, law enforcement in St. Paul and Minneapolis have had to contend with the appeal of al-Shabab to members of the country’s largest Somali population—more than 20 young men have reportedly left Minnesota to fight with the group since 2007.

Dennis Jensen, St. Paul’s former assistant police chief, had spent years studying relations between police and the city’s Somali community, which is largely composed of recent immigrants from a war zone who have little reason to trust the authorities. But the al-Shabab threat galvanized the Department to see their work as a frontline for counterterrorism. Jensen told the Center for Homeland Defense and Security in 2009 that extremist recruitment added “a greater sense of urgency about what we are doing,” he said. “We’re up front about what our intentions are. It’s not a secret we’re interested in radicalized individuals.”

Jensen helped design a new program for St. Paul–a two-year initiative called the African Immigrant Muslim Coordinated Outreach Program, which was funded in 2009 with a $670,000 grant from the Justice Department.

The outreach push would help police identify gang members or extremists, using “criteria that will stand up to public and legal scrutiny,” according to the proposal submitted to the Justice Department.

“The effort of identifying the targets will increase law enforcement’s ability to maintain up-to-date intelligence on these offenders, alert team members to persons who are deserving of additional investigative efforts and will serve as an enhanced intelligence system,” the proposal reads. The Center for Homeland Defense and Security, in the 2009 interview with Jensen, characterized it as “developing databases to track at-risk youth who may warrant follow-up contact and investigation by law enforcement.”

Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said that his organization got funding through the program to hire a police liaison. They held meetings once or twice a month for two years, usually involving 20 or so community members and a few local cops. “The officers talked about drug enforcement and gangs and recruitment and domestic violence. Everyone loved it when they brought their bomb-sniffing robot once,” he recalled.

He said he was not told about an intelligence component, though he had been asked to keep track of attendees at outreach meetings. “Several times [the police department] asked me whether that was possible to turn over the list of people at the programs, and I said, ‘It ain’t gonna happen,’” Zaman said.

Steve Linders, a St. Paul Police spokesman, said that “the intelligence aspect never came to fruition. The program evolved away from that.” He said that they would sometimes pass information that community members brought to their attention to the FBI, but that was the extent of the bureau’s involvement.

Wink, wink... it's because they've all been entered into a Fusion Center database.

Click here to read more and here to read how the Boston Police are spying on activists.

The FBI would not say if the “Specialized Community Outreach Teams” (which have ended) would be allowed under the new guidance, though in a statement, the FBI said the guidance “does not restrict coordination with operational divisions to obtain a better understanding of the various violations (i.e. terrorism, drugs, human trafficking, white collar crime, etc.) which may be impacting communities.”

Lori Saroya, until recently executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota, said that people weren’t always aware of their rights when faced with outreach visits. “We had cases of people inviting FBI agents in for tea or to have dinner, not knowing they didn’t have to let them in,” she said.

“If the guidance would allow this program to continue, then it just confirms that it’s full of loopholes,” said Price, of the Brennan Center.
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/01/21/spies-among-us-community-outreach-programs-muslims-blur-lines-outreach-intelligence/

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Police provide proof that license plate readers are creating a database of Americans driving habits



Since May 2013, EFF and the ACLU have been engaged in a legal battle with two Los Angeles law enforcement agencies who are refusing to hand over a week’s worth of ALPR data. San Diego County, another jurisdiction, has fought efforts by citizens to obtain access to data that law enforcement has collected on them using ALPRs. Both claim that the records are exempted under the California Public Records Act because they are records of law enforcement investigations. The agencies also argue the public interest in maintaining secrecy in ALPR data outweighs the public interest in learning how and where ALPR systems are being used.

Law enforcement agencies like those in LA, San Diego, and Oakland aren’t using ALPR for targeted investigations, they're running a dragnet on all drivers in their jurisdictions. As states across the country become more and more concerned about ALPRs and take steps to limit their use, we believe the disclosure of a limited amount of license plate records will help to inform public debate on this mass surveillance tool.
 
Muckrock and the Boston Globe obtained Boston Police ALPR data, the city suspended the program in the wake of the privacy concerns raised by the data. However the Mass. state police still use them as well as just about every police dept. in MA. Lets not forget the thousands of traffic cameras on roads & highways that are being used to spy on you & your family
 
When the Minneapolis Star-Tribune obtained ALPR data that it used to track the whereabouts of the mayor, it kicked off debate in the legislature about how to balance the privacy of innocent drivers against the ability of police to fight crime. As a Minneapolis city official noted at a public hearing on ALPRs after the data release, “now that we see someone’s patterns in a graphic on a map in a newspaper, you realize that person really does have a right to be secure from people who might be trying to stalk them or follow them or interfere with them.” A state legislator and former police chief noted at that same hearing, “even though technology is great and it helps catch the bad guys, I don’t want the good guys being kept in a database.
 
DHS run police departments ignore the 4th. Amendment by using license plate readers to spy on innocent Americans.
 
One problem is it bypasses the Fourth Amendment,” said John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville-based, civil-liberties-focused Rutherford Institute.

Automatic license plate readers can capture the date, time and exact location of a vehicle — for up to 1,800 vehicles per minute. That data goes to a central database that can match DMV records and other locations where that license plate was also captured on camera.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable” search and seizure, requiring a warrant. It’s the same argument used against the National Security Agency spy program.

“The Fourth Amendment is really clear that you’re supposed to have probable cause before you do that,” Whitehead said.

Click here to read how police bypass the 4th. Amend. with license plate readers.
 
Not all California law enforcement agencies have followed Los Angeles and San Diego’s lead in ALPR secrecy. Whereas Los Angeles cops have stalled for more than a year and a half, Oakland provided raw ALPR data in just under two months.
 
EFF released the data to the public, with the individual license plate numbers removed to protect the privacy of drivers captured by these cameras. (While LAPD and LASD also claim the public’s right to privacy as a reason for withholding the records, the data can be anonymized easily with a few clicks, either by deleting a column for the spreadsheet or replacing the plates with random numbers.) We've also done some preliminary analysis of the data, which we present below. (If you just want the raw data, the links are at the end of the post.)

The Numbers

63,272

Total number of data points collected by Oakland Police ALPR cameras 

48,718

Number of unique individual plates captured by Oakland Police ALPR cameras

39,275

Number of vehicles that were captured only once 

4,571

Number of ALPR reads within one mile of Oakland Police headquarters

589

Number of captured plates that were likely assigned to government vehicles (i.e. police cars, buses, county vehicles, etc., which generally receive plates that are seven numeric digits)

134

Number of entries that were obvious bad reads (e.g. the cameras picked up road signs, such as “CAUTION”)

24

Number of times the single most-captured plate was hit (a government vehicle, likely a police vehicle, captured multiple times at the same locations over a short period of time) 

1.31

Average number of times an individual plate was captured.
 
Want to take a look at the data yourself? Do you have a better analysis method? Want to draw your own conclusions? Please do! You can find the ALPR data here and the crime data here, both in CSV format, or here in a Google Fusion Table.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The NSA & the telecom industry, a century of secret deals


"For nearly one hundred years, the NSA and its predecessors have been engaging in secret, illegal deals with the American telecom industry, with both virtually immune from prosecution.

How did this begin? How does it work? How much have US presidents known? What happens when they get caught? Will it change after the Snowden revelations? A fascinating look at a hundred years of handshakes and backroom deals between the eavesdroppers and the telecom executives."

The NSA used to spy on Americans telegrams:

Look at this Associated Press article run in the October 24, 1975 edition of the The Odessa American with the headline, “Panel Is Told of NSA Spying in Cable Office”:


That’s right, folks: the NSA was systematically intercepting our telegrams all the way back in the 1960s.

In the mid-1960s, there was a photocopying machine in the operations room of Western Union International in New York. Whenever a foreign government sent a cable via the company’s facilities, the Western Union operator would copy it on the machine.

That machine belonged not to Western Union International, but to the National Security Agency. It gave the NSA access to cables in which embassies communicated with their countries and to messages from nations giving instructions to their legations in the United States.

Once a week, an NSA employee came to the office and serviced the machine. He removed its film roll and replaced it with a fresh one.

 This only stopped when Thomas Greenish, executive VP for Western Union International, found out about the curious machine in 1965 and decided to ask the NSA employee who was coming by periodically to change out the film to furnish official proof that the agency had authorization to continue copying everyone’s telegrams.

The NSA employee never came back after that.

While the testimony of Mr. Greenish gives the impression that this data collection only tracked foreign diplomatic cables, in light of what we know today about the boundless curiosity of the NSA, it is probable that the scope was much more expansive.

Did it really stop there? Or are there rooms upon rooms somewhere filled to the ceiling with America’s telegrams? Best wishes to your mother on her birthday, birth announcements, random office minutiae, that sort of thing? You know, in the interest of “national security.”

Maybe it’s next to Room 641A.

Room 641A is an AT&T telecommunications interception facility in San Francisco the company runs for who else? The NSA. It was exposed in 2006, but former NSA World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group Director William Binney estimates Room 641A is only one of 10 or 20 said facilities installed throughout the country, including others in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. Despite lawsuits attempting to reign in the practice of ‘wholesale’ collection and monitoring of Americans’ calls and communications, such as VOIP, the unholy alliance between telecom giants and government secret agencies has not stopped.

All this is pre-Snowden. Snowden was just icing on a 50-year-old unconstitutional surveillance state cake.

Also noteworthy from the 1975 article is the fact that RCA Global Communications and ITT World Communications — two of the biggest communications companies in the world at the time — refused to show up to testify before the congressional Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights unless they were subpoenaed and forced to do so. Feel free to go ahead and read between those lines all you want, since they had absolutely no interest in our “individual rights” enough to willingly testify about them.

One has to wonder: had the NSA been around in the days of communication by carrier pigeon, would we have found a government fort filled to the brim with dead birds and scrawled notes somewhere or what? 
http://www.activistpost.com/2015/01/think-it-all-started-with-phones-and.html

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Police are using a secret new radar that can see inside homes


At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies quietly deployed radars that let them effectively see inside homes, with little notice to the courts or the public.

DHS run law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to spy through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.

"The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what's inside is problematic," said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union's principal technologist. "Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have."

Agents' use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that "the government's warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions."

Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them. Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said officials are reviewing the court's decision. He said the Marshals Service "routinely pursues and arrests violent offenders based on pre-established probable cause in arrest warrants" for serious crimes.

The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what's happening inside. The Range-R's maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.

Click here to read Range-R's FAQ. Below are two examples of how intrusive it is:

"RANGE-R is sensitive enough to detect motion caused by a person’s breathing. Therefore if the person is alive, RANGE-R should detect them."
 
"RANGE-R’s high sensitivity will detect people movement through multiple walls. This is, especially true for interior drywall. Since range to the target is displayed, an operator with some knowledge of the building structure can often determine whether a person is in a back room or a front room."

The radars appear to have drawn little scrutiny from state or federal courts. The federal appeals court's decision published last month was apparently the first by an appellate court to reference the technology or its implications.

That case began when a fugitive-hunting task force headed by the U.S. Marshals Service tracked a man named Steven Denson, wanted for violating his parole, to a house in Wichita. Before they forced the door open, Deputy U.S. Marshal Josh Moff testified, he used a Range-R to detect that someone was inside.

Moff's report made no mention of the radar; it said only that officers "developed reasonable suspicion that Denson was in the residence."

Agents arrested Denson for the parole violation and charged him with illegally possessing two firearms they found inside. The agents had a warrant for Denson's arrest but did not have a search warrant. Denson's lawyer sought to have the guns charge thrown out, in part because the search began with the warrantless use of the radar device.

Three judges on the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the search, and Denson's conviction, on other grounds. Still, the judges wrote, they had "little doubt that the radar device deployed here will soon generate many questions for this court."

The Marshals Service has faced criticism for concealing other surveillance tools. Last year, the ACLU obtained an e-mail from a Sarasota, Fla., police sergeant asking officers from another department not to reveal that they had received information from a cellphone-monitoring tool known as a stingray. "In the past, and at the request of the U.S. Marshals, the investigative means utilized to locate the suspect have not been revealed," he wrote, suggesting that officers instead say they had received help from "a confidential source."

William Sorukas, a former supervisor of the Marshals Service's domestic investigations arm, said deputies are not instructed to conceal the agency's high-tech tools, but they also know not to advertise them. "If you disclose a technology or a method or a source, you're telling the bad guys along with everyone else," he said.

Legal experts told ArsTechnica that use of a device like the Range-R could be in violation of the Kyllo decision, and perhaps even an even more recent decision.

“Does Kyllo apply here? I think so insofar as the suspect had a reasonable expectation to privacy in his home,” Brian Owsley, a former federal judge who is now a law professor at Indiana Tech, e-mailed Ars.

He pointed to a 2013 5-4 Supreme Court decision (Florida v. Jardines) in which the court found that law enforcement could not send a drug-sniffing dog to the porch of a drug suspect absent a warrant.

“Turning to Jardines, that case is also illustrative here in that it provides a second basis for finding in favor of the defendant because the use of the device is arguably a trespass,” Owsley continued. “Law enforcement is actually sending something into Denson’s home. Indeed, sending the sensor into the residence is arguably more invasive that measuring the heat coming out of the house in Kyllo.  In the end, however, for both individual’s the sanctity of the home is violated with a warrantless search.”

United States v. Denson is a federal firearms case—in September 2013, his attorney’s filed a motion to suppress evidence. There, as USA Today reported, a deputy US Marshal testified in court that the Range-R device could detect a human presence through walls. Steven Denson of Kansas pleaded guilty and then was sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2013. He then appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the search in a December 30, 2014 decision.

“While it is our position to not discuss or disclose any investigative techniques, the Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling," Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, told ArsTechnica by e-mail.

Still, Linda Lye, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California similarly agreed with Owsley’s analysis.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the home has very special status under the Fourth Amendment,” she e-mailed. “That is where our privacy interests are at their highest. Even using a dog to sniff around the immediate exterior of the home presumptively requires a warrant. Using a sophisticated surveillance tool to detect information about the interior of the home clear does as well.”

Meanwhile, Hanni Fakhoury, a former federal public defender and a current attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars that he had never heard of these handheld radar devices prior to USA Today’s reporting. He said that in the case of Denson, the court sidestepped the underlying issue.

“What’s remarkable to me is that the US Marshals would use the device without a search warrant when it so clearly falls within Kyllo,” he said by e-mail. “The more interesting question is whether other agencies buying these devices are using them without a search warrant, something that’s not entirely clear yet.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/01/19/police-radar-see-through-walls/22007615/
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/01/cops-get-handheld-radar-that-can-detect-people-breathing-through-walls/

Saturday, January 17, 2015

DHS is masquerading as Medicare/Medicaid to collect employee fingerprints

 
 
A pilot venture called the Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening program, or KARES. kicked off last May, with 24 long-term care facilities across the state sending applicants to 35 fingerprint collection sites. Kentucky is one of 25 states to receive a $4 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to fund the program.
 
The new high-tech background check program is a pre-hiring fingerprint-supported state and FBI Web portal available to long-term care facilities and employers. The portal was created to support the Kentucky National Background Check Program, a state effort intended to help reduce the potential for abuse — including financial exploitation — of elderly and vulnerable adults.
 
The LiveScan electronic fingerprint units, provided by Virginia-based biometic and identity solution company MorphoTrak, are kept at three dozen employment training centers. The fingerprint scanning process takes about 30 minutes, after which applicant data is transmitted to local police and FBI offices. Results come back within 24 to 72 hours.
 
This is a terrible idea... giving your fingerprints to private corporations, the FBI & DHS, are you f***ing kidding me?
 
If you're scratching your head and asking where all this money is coming from, look no further than DHS.
 
DHS is masquerading as Medicare/Medicaid, collecting fingerprints and conducting background checks. Click here for proof, DHS is behind this pre-hiring surveillance program. Here's more proof  DHS has infiltrated Medicare, in 2013 DHS claimed they needed to investigate prescription drug abuse in Medicare.
 
Click here to see the DHS organizational chart which show's how they've infiltrated much more than Medicare/Medicaid.

Below is a pic. of the kind of people that will have access to all your personal info:

 
 
Is that the kind of people you'd entrust with all your personal info? Will they 'KARE' when someone commits a crime or a murder using your fingerprint ?
 
Before KARES, state law required caregivers to use only name-based background checks conducted by state police or the Administrative Office of the Courts. A semblance of change in this procedure came in 2011 with the reinvigoration of a state-sponsored elder abuse prevention task force, initially created to strengthen support of a care facility system wracked by stories of neglect and ill treatment of patients. In 2007, the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services received 45,048 reports of adult abuse, 9,660 of which were for persons ages 60 and older, according to CHFS.
 
Discussions about adding a comprehensive fingerprint-based vetting system began in 2011 when the state Office of Inspector General (OIG) applied for grant funding. It took several years of development to integrate KARES into state employment centers. Ervin reports that the technology has been well received by participants since the pilot launched in spring 2014.