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Re: Surveillance

Postby chump » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:54 pm

Via Cryptogon: ... 1581078600

Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement
Commercial database that maps movements of millions of cellphones is deployed by immigration and border authorities

By Byron Tau and Michelle Hackman
Feb. 7, 2020 7:30 am ET

The Trump administration has bought access to a commercial database that maps the movements of millions of cellphones in America and is using it for immigration and border enforcement, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The location data is drawn from ordinary cellphone apps, including those for games, weather and e-commerce, for which the user has granted permission to log the phone’s location.

The Department of Homeland Security has used the information to detect undocumented immigrants and others who may be entering the U.S. unlawfully, according to these people and documents.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of DHS, has used the data to help identify immigrants who were later arrested, these people said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, another agency under DHS, uses the information to look for cellphone activity in unusual places, such as remote stretches of desert that straddle the Mexican border, the people said.

[… con’d (with a subscription)]

———————— ... 17370.html

Exclusive: FBI document reveals local and state police are collecting intelligence to expand terrorism watch list
Martin de Bourmont and Jana Winter, Yahoo News - February 7, 2020

Despite a federal judge’s ruling last September that the U.S. government’s terror watch list violates constitutional rights, an FBI report obtained by Yahoo News shows local and state law enforcement agencies are being used to gather intelligence on individuals to collect information about those already in the database. 

Law enforcement “encounters of watchlisted individuals almost certainly yield increased opportunities for intelligence collection,” says the FBI document, dated more than a month after the federal court ruling. The FBI says such encounters could include traffic stops or domestic disputes, which gives law enforcement “the opportunity to acquire additional biographic identifiers, fraudulent identification documents, financial information and associates of watchlisted individuals,” which might assist in thwarting terrorist acts.

The Terrorism Screening Database, widely known as the watch list, was created in 2003 and consists of names of people suspected of being involved with terrorism. Over the years, the list has grown to include the names of 1.1 million people, raising concerns that many of those on the list have no involvement in terrorism but have little or no legal resources with which to challenge the designation.

People can be put on the watch list for “reasonable suspicion,” a loosely defined category that allows anyone related to a suspected terrorist or considered somehow to be an “associate” to end up on the list, even if the government has no evidence of the individual’s involvement in terrorist activity, according to a copy of the guidelines published in 2014 by the Intercept.

Last year, a federal judge found in favor of 23 Muslim Americans who argued that their inclusion in the Terrorist Screening Database violated their constitutional right to due process.

“There is no evidence, or contention, that any of these plaintiffs satisfy the definition of a ‘known terrorist,’” wrote Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia on Sept. 4, 2019. Trenga noted that being put on the watch list “does not require any evidence that the person engaged in criminal activity, committed a crime, or will commit a crime in the future and individuals who have been acquitted of a terrorism-related crime may still be listed.”

Trenga asked the government to propose revisions to the watchlist. Instead, the government filed an appeal and a motion to stay the district court case. A hearing in that case is now scheduled for Feb. 14.

Yet even as the government is under pressure to revise the watch list, it appears to be using police to rapidly expand the information it is collecting for those currently on it, and possibly adding new names. The FBI document on law enforcement encounters with watch-listed individuals says that between 2015 and 2018, the government was able to collect almost 5,000 new “biographical identifiers.”

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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:59 am

FBI agents show up to a 16 y/o house and interrogate him over his Instagram Blog posts. This is a terrifying precedent.
Pro tip: skip to 5:20 for the questioning

The meme police are coming for you... sung in the Key of Cheap Tricks Dream POlice

Afterthought... after posting here for as long as I have I hope at least a couple of you get an idea that I have heart, I'm not a homophobe, I don't care what race or gender you are and I don't condone the title to that link above, and that you'd think critically about it. I think the kid and the dad did what they should have. In which is to ...

never talk to the police, especially the crooked feds.
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Re: Surveillance

Postby identity » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:58 pm

Met Police try to calm tensions as live facial recognition hits London
Passers-by complain of ‘invasion of privacy’ as two cameras record faces for over five hours in Stratford

Madhumita Murgia, Financial TImes, in London February 11 2020
FR police.jpeg
FR police.jpeg (59.47 KiB) Viewed 2439 times

For people walking towards Stratford underground station in east London on Tuesday, the large blue van parked in the entrance with two large cameras mounted on its roof was hard to ignore.

Most passers-by paused to read one of the four signs around the van. Some stopped to speak to one of the uniformed officers, asking questions and expressing their approval. Others shook their heads in disbelief as they took out their phones to photograph the signs, or covered their faces with scarves to prevent identification.

This is the Met Police’s first live deployment of facial recognition technology in London, following 10 trials around the city since 2016 and months of public debate about the use of the controversial biometric software on the public. The rollout comes in the wake of similar deployments in countries including China, Brazil, India and Wales.

Three weeks ago, the Met announced it would start using live facial recognition on the capital’s streets, saying it was satisfied that the technology was a “tried and tested” tool that had proved itself to accurately identify people suspected of serious crimes such as knife attacks.

In Scotland, by contrast, members of parliament said on Tuesday that there was no justification to use live biometrics, given concerns over human rights, calling the deployment of the technology a “radical departure” from the current practice of policing by consent. The Scottish police has said it has put plans for facial recognition on hold.

But among the police officers present in Stratford during the first hours of the rollout, there were no signs of concern about controversy — despite the presence of protesters from Big Brother Watch, and London Assembly member Sian Berry, who has opposed the rollout.

They answered questions from the public sympathetically, reassuring people they had nothing to worry about — if they had not committed a crime in the area.

Police commander Mark McEwan said the cameras worked by matching faces to a watchlist of about 5,000 people, who were either wanted by the police or missing persons whose images were provided by family members. He also confirmed the algorithms were produced by Japanese company NEC and were the most up-to-date versions available.

The two cameras faced forward on to the street, and continuously recorded faces for over five hours, starting from 11am. About four hours into the deployment, nobody had been flagged by the systems, despite hundreds passing through, according to Inspector Chris Nixon, who is responsible for policing in the local area.

Several passers-by were willing to share their views on the use of the technology. “It is appalling. This is the ultimate invasion of privacy. You can’t walk the streets with machines looking at your face. What if I’ve committed no crime, but now my face is on your database?” said Joat, a music entrepreneur from Stratford, who mentors youth from local gangs, including musician J Hus. “How do they define criminal? It’s a matter of perspective. These are troubling times.”

Nisson Omran, a 19-year-old student from Kingston university, agreed. “I think it’s ridiculous, it’s an invasion of privacy. They have no consent. And why have they picked Stratford?” she said. “If it hasn’t been passed and debated in parliament, I don’t know how they can use it.”

Others, such as students Jak Norov and Irfan Boota, thought it was a good way to reduce crime with fewer resources. “I think it’s positive, it will stop crimes like drug-dealing, which is always happening on the other side of the tracks, and knife crime,” said Mr Norov, 30.

Mr McEwan, who was leading the operation, said: “The decision that’s made to engage with someone is always made by an officer. This is a prompt to them, to engage or identify a person. But it’s what police have always done.”

Last year an independent review commissioned by the Met published a damning report about the force’s facial recognition trials in London, warning that the technology was only 19 per cent accurate, and likely to contravene human rights.

However, police in Stratford said they did not agree with the numbers.

“We are content that through tests we have carried out, the false positives are 1 in 1,000 people. It has been tested for bias and accuracy,” said Mr McEwan.

So, no problem with this whatsoever as long as it's 100% 99.9% accurate?!
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:29 pm

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:52 am

Part 1 of three.
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:35 am

:wallhead: :wallhead: :wallhead:
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:48 am

Congress postponed a vote to extend Patriot Act surveillance programs
Democrats feared new amendments would derail the bill
By Adi Robertson@thedextriarchy Feb 27, 2020, 11:49am EST

Congress has postponed a planned vote to reauthorize controversial surveillance programs. As Politico reports, the House Judiciary Committee intended to renew parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) before they expire on March 15th. But the committee canceled a vote set for today after learning that Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) would offer new amendments — ones that Democrats feared would hurt the bill’s chances in a House-wide vote.

The bill would extend a handful of domestic surveillance rules, particularly Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which lets government agencies demand sensitive business records with a secret court approval. Section 215 was set to expire in late 2019, but Congress extended it for three more months in a funding bill, pushing the debate to 2020.

Politico and other outlets describe a sensitive bargaining process over the reauthorization, complicated by political tensions. The resulting bill tweaks elements of the program to increase accountability and limit surveillance powers. Among other things, it would expand the power of a “friend of the court” who could challenge the government’s arguments before the FISA court. And it would explicitly end a program that let the National Security Agency demand call records from phone companies — although the NSA previously said it already abandoned that approach.

Lofgren, however, described the bill as a “puny reform” to Politico. “The bill as introduced by the committee was not one I thought was worth supporting,” she said.

"Lofgren called the bill a “puny reform”"

Her amendments were expected to further limit government data collection and add more scrutiny to FISA court approvals. The changes could have pleased civil liberties advocates who have been frustrated by a lack of meaningful reform. They could also have garnered support from some Republicans who were once ambivalent of limiting the Patriot Act but have since echoed President Donald Trump’s claims of an FBI conspiracy against him. An anonymous Democratic aide, however, called the amendments a “poison pill” that would sink the bill.

NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA phone surveillance — which involved collecting data on millions of Americans to fight foreign terror threats — in 2013. The revelations sparked public protest, a congressional reform effort, and several lawsuits, especially because the program was apparently unproductive. A recent report said the years-long effort revealed only two unique leads, only one of which led to an investigation. But reformers have seen only incremental results.

Now, the latest bill’s future is unclear. The committee could reschedule a vote and meet the March 15th deadline, either with the bill described above or with a straight reauthorization of the old rules. Lofgren also said that she would soon offer her own alternative bill. “We have the opportunity to reform the system,” she told The New York Times. “We should take that opportunity.”
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Grizzly » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:15 pm

Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect.
"I was using an app to see how many miles I rode my bike and now it was putting me at the scene of the crime," the man said.

The email arrived on a Tuesday afternoon in January, startling Zachary McCoy as he prepared to leave for his job at a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida.

It was from Google’s legal investigations support team, writing to let him know that local police had demanded information related to his Google account. The company said it would release the data unless he went to court and tried to block it. He had just seven days.

“I was hit with a really deep fear,” McCoy, 30, recalled, even though he couldn’t think of anything he’d done wrong. He had an Android phone, which was linked to his Google account, and, like millions of other Americans, he used an assortment of Google products, including Gmail and YouTube. Now police seemingly wanted access to all of it.

“I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew the police wanted to get something from me,” McCoy said in a recent interview. “I was afraid I was going to get charged with something, I don’t know what.”

There was one clue.

In the notice from Google was a case number. McCoy searched for it on the Gainesville Police Department’s website, and found a one-page investigation report on the burglary of an elderly woman’s home 10 months earlier. The crime had occurred less than a mile from the home that McCoy, who had recently earned an associate degree in computer programming, shared with two others.

Now McCoy was even more panicked and confused. He knew he had nothing to do with the break-in ─ he’d never even been to the victim’s house ─ and didn’t know anyone who might have. And he didn’t have much time to prove it.

McCoy worried that going straight to police would lead to his arrest. So he went to his parents’ home in St. Augustine, where, over dinner, he told them what was happening. They agreed to dip into their savings to pay for a lawyer.

The lawyer, Caleb Kenyon, dug around and learned that the notice had been prompted by a “geofence warrant,” a police surveillance tool that casts a virtual dragnet over crime scenes, sweeping up Google location data — drawn from users’ GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular connections — from everyone nearby.

The warrants, which have increased dramatically in the past two years, can help police find potential suspects when they have no leads. They also scoop up data from people who have nothing to do with the crime, often without their knowing ─ which Google itself has described as “a significant incursion on privacy.”

Do you have a story to share about how police use new technology or surveillance tools? Contact us

Still confused ─ and very worried ─ McCoy examined his phone. An avid biker, he used an exercise-tracking app, RunKeeper, to record his rides. The app relied on his phone’s location services, which fed his movements to Google. He looked up his route on the day of the March 29, 2019, burglary and saw that he had passed the victim’s house three times within an hour, part of his frequent loops through his neighborhood, he said.

“It was a nightmare scenario,” McCoy recalled. “I was using an app to see how many miles I rode my bike and now it was putting me at the scene of the crime. And I was the lead suspect.”

A powerful new tool

The victim was a 97-year-old woman who told police she was missing several pieces of jewelry, including an engagement ring, worth more than $2,000. Four days after she reported the crime, Gainesville police, looking for leads, went to an Alachua County judge with the warrant for Google.

In it, they demanded records of all devices using Google services that had been near the woman’s home when the burglary was thought to have taken place. The first batch of data would not include any identifying information. Police would sift through it for devices that seemed suspicious and ask Google for the names of their users.

Kenyon said police told him that they became particularly interested in McCoy’s device after reviewing the first batch of anonymized data. They didn’t know the identity of the device’s owner, so they returned to Google to ask for more information.
Zachary McCoy
McCoy made frequent loops through his neighborhood on his bike.Agnes Lopez / for NBC News

That request triggered the Jan. 14 notice the technology giant sent to McCoy, part of its general policy on notifying users about government requests for their information. The notice was McCoy’s only indication that police wanted his data.

Gainesville police declined to comment.

While privacy and civil liberties advocates have been concerned that geofence warrants violate constitutional protections from unreasonable searches, law enforcement authorities say those worries are overblown. They say police don’t obtain any identifying information about a Google user until they find a device that draws their suspicion. And the information alone is not enough to justify charging someone with a crime, they say.

Google geofence warrants have been used by police agencies around the country, including the FBI. Google said in a court filing last year that the requests from state and federal law enforcement authorities were increasing rapidly: by more than 1,500 percent from 2017 to 2018, and by 500 percent from 2018 to 2019.

“It’s a great tool and a great technology,” said Kevin Armbruster, a retired lieutenant with the Milwaukee Police Department, where he oversaw the use of high-tech investigative work, including geofence warrants.
Bank robber accuses police of illegally using Google location data to catch him

Milwaukee police have used Google geofence warrants to solve an array of crimes, including homicides, shootings, a string of robberies and kidnappings and a sexual assault involving an abduction, he said. “I would think the majority of citizens in the world would love the fact that we are putting violent offenders in jail,” Armbruster said.

There have been very few court challenges to Google geofence warrants, mainly because the warrants are done in secret and defense lawyers may not realize the tool was used to identify their clients. One exception is an accused bank robber in Midlothian, Virginia, who is fighting the charge by arguing the geofence warrant used against him was illegal. That case is pending.
‘You’re looking at the wrong guy’

Once McCoy realized his bike ride had placed him near the scene of the crime, he had a strong theory of why police had picked his device out of all the others swept up by the warrant. He and Kenyon set out to keep them from getting any more information about him ─ and persuade them that he was innocent.

Kenyon said he got on the phone with the detective on the case and told him, “You’re looking at the wrong guy.”

For most of his life, McCoy said, he had tried to live online anonymously, a habit that dated to the early days of the internet when there was less expectation that people would use their real names. He used pseudonyms on his social media accounts and the email account that Google used to notify him about the police investigation.

But until then, he hadn’t thought much about Google collecting information about him.

“I didn’t realize that by having location services on that Google was also keeping a log of where I was going,” McCoy said. “I’m sure it’s in their terms of service but I never read through those walls of text, and I don’t think most people do either.”

Just before the start of his ordeal, he’d listened to a call-in radio debate about the Department of Justice’s fight with Apple over access to an iPhone left by a Saudi national who’d gunned down several people at an air base in Pensacola, Florida, in December. He remembered some callers saying they had no problem with law enforcement having access to phone data, arguing that people had nothing to worry about as long as they didn’t break the law. Now McCoy thought the callers weren’t considering predicaments like his.

“If you’re innocent, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time, like going on a bike ride in which your GPS puts you in a position where police suspect you of a crime you didn’t commit,” McCoy said.
UNC campus police used geofencing tech to monitor antiracism protestors

On Jan. 31, Kenyon filed a motion in Alachua County civil court to render the warrant “null and void” and to block the release of any further information about McCoy, identifying him only as “John Doe.” At that point, Google had not turned over any data that identified McCoy but would have done so if Kenyon hadn’t intervened. Kenyon argued that the warrant was unconstitutional because it allowed police to conduct sweeping searches of phone data from untold numbers of people in order to find a single suspect.

That approach, Kenyon said, flipped on its head the traditional method of seeking a search warrant, in which police target a person they already suspect.

“This geofence warrant effectively blindly casts a net backwards in time hoping to ensnare a burglar,” Kenyon wrote. “This concept is akin to the plotline in many a science fiction film featuring a dystopian, fascist government.”
Cleared by the same data

The filing seemed to give law enforcement authorities second thoughts about the warrant. Not long afterward, Kenyon said, a lawyer in the state attorney’s office assigned to represent the Gainesville Police Department told him there were details in the motion that led them to believe that Kenyon’s client was not the burglar. The state attorney’s office withdrew the warrant, asserting in a court filing that it was no longer necessary. The office did not respond to a request for comment.

Kenyon said that in a visit to his office, the detective acknowledged that police no longer considered his client a suspect.

On Feb. 24, Kenyon dropped his legal challenge.

The case ended well for McCoy, Kenyon said, but “the larger privacy fight will go unanswered.”
The police demanded he unlock his cellphone. He didn't — and spent 44 days in jail.

Even then, Kenyon wanted to make sure police didn’t have lingering doubts about McCoy, whom they still knew only as “John Doe.” So he met with the detective again and showed him screenshots of his client’s Google location history, including data recorded by RunKeeper. The maps showed months of bike rides past the burglarized home.

In the end, the same location data that raised police suspicions of McCoy also helped to vindicate him, Kenyon said. “But there was no knowing what law enforcement was going to do with that data when they got it behind closed doors. Not that I distrust them, but I wouldn’t trust them not to arrest someone.”

He pointed to an Arizona case in which a man was mistakenly arrested and jailed for murder largely based on Google data received from a geofence warrant.

McCoy said he may have ended up in a similar spot if his parents hadn’t given him several thousand dollars to hire Kenyon.

He regrets having to spend that money. He also thinks about the elderly burglary victim. Police said they have not made any arrests.

“I’m definitely sorry that happened to her, and I’m glad police were trying to solve it,” McCoy said. “But it just seems like a really broad net for them to cast. What’s the cost-benefit? How many innocent people do we have to harass?”
Photograph of Jon Schuppe.Jon Schuppe

Jon Schuppe writes about crime, justice and related matters for NBC News.
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