Military gives $1.2m of equipment to federal agents posing as police

Cases of random people impersonating police officers, confusingly to many of the rest of us, are not uncommon. A recently revealed investigation, however, flips the typical script -- with real federal agents posing as members of a fake federal law enforcement agency in order to obtain over a million dollars worth of military gear through … Continue reading Military gives $1.2m of equipment to federal agents posing as police

Police body cameras increasingly incorporate facial recognition

The last few years have seen the rapid rise of body-worn cameras used by police departments around the United States, fueled by tens of millions of dollars in Justice Department funding. While originally justified on the basis of increasing police accountability and transparency, however, body cameras' usefulness is in question as they begin to incorporate … Continue reading Police body cameras increasingly incorporate facial recognition

Connecticut bill would allow lethal police drones

Last year, U.S. police used a robot to kill someone for the first time following a mass shooting in Dallas, Texas. Now, this disturbing trend towards automation in policing could move a step further towards normalization. A familiar piece of American foreign policy -- the use of lethal weaponized drones -- may become a part … Continue reading Connecticut bill would allow lethal police drones

Federal ‘violent extremist’ guidelines for law enforcement published

Though marked "for official use only" and "not for public release," the 2017 edition of a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) document offering guidance to law enforcement agencies has surfaced on the internet, raising questions about the kinds of activities the government considers "homegrown violent extremist mobilization indicators." Some of the signs that a person might … Continue reading Federal ‘violent extremist’ guidelines for law enforcement published

Local police cell phone snooping highlights lack of surveillance oversight

In December, a congressional oversight committee released a report on the use of cell-site simulators, and claimed federal authorities only use the mobile phone surveillance devices to determine suspects' locations, rather than to intercept content. A new investigation, however, shows that local law enforcement, at least, has often been using the sophisticated surveillance technology under … Continue reading Local police cell phone snooping highlights lack of surveillance oversight

Activism and ‘extremism’ in the era of Trump

Following protests and rioting in Berkeley, California last week over a scheduled -- and then cancelled -- appearance by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos that brought condemnation from President Donald Trump, and new executive orders signed this week including one aimed at "preventing violence" against law enforcement,  many are wondering how aggressively the new administration plans … Continue reading Activism and ‘extremism’ in the era of Trump

Carnage, violence, law and order, biometric profiling and predictive policing under Trump

Last summer, as he rallied supporters at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump declared himself the "law and order candidate," echoing the (somewhat ironic) claims of Richard Nixon before him. Yet given the rapid development of technology available to law enforcement in the decades since Nixon occupied the Oval Office, President Trump's use of the … Continue reading Carnage, violence, law and order, biometric profiling and predictive policing under Trump

Outgoing Obama administration gives Trump’s intelligence community expanded data sharing powers

On Jan. 3, just weeks before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed off on an expansion of inter-agency intelligence sharing, allowing the National Security Agency to share raw "signals intelligence" data with other intelligence community members without "scrubbing" it first. A fact sheet released by the Office of the Director … Continue reading Outgoing Obama administration gives Trump’s intelligence community expanded data sharing powers

House Oversight Committee calls for clearer rules on cell-site simulators

A report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released last week, provides new details on the federal government's use of "cell-site simulators" -- cell phone surveillance devices also commonly known as Stingrays or IMSI-catchers -- and suggests changes to policies governing their use. The report confirms that federal agencies -- primarily the … Continue reading House Oversight Committee calls for clearer rules on cell-site simulators

Facebook let surveillance company monitor its favorite protest group

The American Civil Liberties Union of California revealed on Tuesday that it has obtained records from prominent social media companies showing that up until recently they had agreements with a controversial data mining company called Geofeedia that markets its social media surveillance services to law enforcement agencies. The companies named in the ACLU report -- … Continue reading Facebook let surveillance company monitor its favorite protest group