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  1. from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-frisks dept Amazon wants you to be part of its dish network. Yes, it's a play on words (and not a good one!). This network springs from Amazon's Ring doorbell -- the doorbell with a camera inside and a cozy relationship with law enforcement! What are your neighbors and strangers up to? Give the dirt to law enforcement and trust their better judgment! Good times await those who find themselves looking dark or suspicious (but also suspicious because they're dark) in front of a Ring doorbell. Have you ever wanted to be an internet celebrity, with or without your permission? Ring has you covered. Amazon's home surveillance company Ring is using video captured by its doorbell cameras in Facebook advertisements that ask users to identify and call the cops on a woman whom local police say is a suspected thief. In the video, the woman’s face is clearly visible and there is no obvious criminal activity taking place. The Facebook post shows her passing between two cars. She pulls the door handle of one of the cars, but it is locked. The video freezes on a still of the woman’s face from two different angles: “If you recognize this woman, please contact the Mountain View Police Department … please share with your neighbors,” text superimposed on the video says. In a post alongside the video, Ring urges residents of Mountain View, California to contact the police department if they recognize her... Hmmm. I guess that's not so much "inadvertent influencer" as it is "protagonist in a Philip K. Dick novel." A private company, "shooting" footage using consumer products, is pitching Ring to your friends and neighbors with (possibly) one of your friends and neighbors. FIRST ONE TO CALL THE COPS WINS. "Our township is now entirely covered by cameras," said Captain Vincent Kerney, detective bureau commander of the Bloomfield Police Department. "Every area of town we have, there are some Ring cameras." Or not. YOU DON'T EVEN NEED TO CALL THE COPS. Amazon is way ahead of you. Cameras on doorbells + suspicious persons = cops just showing up and asking/demanding the footage you've collected. Some police departments do more than just ask. Police in Indiana, New Jersey, California and other states have offered discounts for Ring cameras, sometimes up to $125. In some cases, those discounts come from taxpayer money. [...] In April, the city of Hammond, Indiana, announced it had $37,500 in funds to subsidize Ring devices -- half of which came from Ring. The other $18,750 came from the city, said Steve Kellogg, Hammond police's public information officer. The city had 500 cameras, and in about a week, they were all sold. The city government ran more discounted programs, Kellogg said, putting out more than 600 Ring cameras in the city. "There will be more cameras on the streets," Kellogg said. "It's really a no-brainer." Bribes subsidies are cool. But have you tried making people feel bad because they're helping bad guys get away? It works. And it's free. When people in the Neighbors app aren't being responsive, police will take to the streets and start knocking on doors asking for footage in person. People are a lot more cooperative when an officer is at their doorsteps asking for Ring footage, he said. Civil advocates argue that people don't really have a choice. "You change how you drive when you see a cop driving next to you. What if a cop shows up at your door and asks you for something?" [ACLU staff attorney Mohammad] Tajsar said. "Even if you're the biggest civil libertarian, you will feel compelled to turn that footage over." Law enforcement requests are easy to reject in theory. In person, they're a bit more difficult. But this is the ecosystem Amazon is building. Most of us still associate Amazon with free shipping and VOD, but the company really wants a piece of the government action. Whatever it hasn't tied up in hosting and storage, it's looking to collect via surveillance tech. Amazon is selling as much facial recognition software as it can to law enforcement agencies -- despite recent controversies -- and now it's hoping its home products will attract more subsidized deployments. Local law enforcement provides the public with cheap or free doorbell cameras and swings by for the footage whenever needed. Who isn't going to feel obligated to hand this over to the cops when they come asking? As the EFF's Dave Maass points out, if cops wanted to outfit a ton of homes with surveillance cameras they could access at any time, there would be some pushback. But frame it as a giveaway with an eye on home security, and people will gladly sign up to turn Everytown, USA into London. Both Amazon and law enforcement make it clear no one is obligated to turn their front doors into tools of the surveillance state. Amazon's end user agreement does not require users hand over footage to officers. But put a few officers on a customer's doorstep and the calculus of consent changes. How many Americans are going to choose their own doorstep to die on in a civil liberties battle with cops over footage of suspicious people/vehicles possibly collected by the private company's camera they have aimed at the street? Source
  2. “The world should know that what they’re doing out here is crazy,” said a man who refused to share his passcode with police. As police now routinely seek access to people’s cellphones, privacy advocates see a dangerous erosion of Americans’ rights, with courts scrambling to keep up. William Montanez is used to getting stopped by the police in Tampa, Florida, for small-time traffic and marijuana violations; it’s happened more than a dozen times. When they pulled him over last June, he didn’t try to hide his pot, telling officers, "Yeah, I smoke it, there's a joint in the center console, you gonna arrest me for that?" They did arrest him, not only for the marijuana but also for two small bottles they believed contained THC oil — a felony — and for having a firearm while committing that felony (they found a handgun in the glove box). Then things got testy. As they confiscated his two iPhones, a text message popped up on the locked screen of one of them: “OMG, did they find it?” The officers demanded his passcodes, warning him they’d get warrants to search the cellphones. Montanez suspected that police were trying to fish for evidence of illegal activity. He also didn’t want them seeing more personal things, including intimate pictures of his girlfriend. So he refused, and was locked up on the drug and firearms charges. William Montanez Five days later, after Montanez was bailed out of jail, a deputy from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office tracked him down, handed him the warrants and demanded the phone passcodes. Again, Montanez refused. Prosecutors went to a judge, who ordered him locked up again for contempt of court. “I felt like they were violating me. They can’t do that,” Montanez, 25, recalled recently. "F--- y’all. I ain’t done nothing wrong. They wanted to get in the phone for what?” He paid a steep price, spending 44 days behind bars before the THC and gun charges were dropped, the contempt order got tossed and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot charge. And yet he regrets nothing, because he now sees his defiance as taking a stand against the abuse of his rights. “The world should know that what they’re doing out here is crazy,” Montanez said. The police never got into his phones. While few would choose jail, Montanez’s decision reflects a growing resistance to law enforcement’s power to peer into Americans’ digital lives. The main portals into that activity are cellphones, which are protected from prying eyes by encryption, with passcodes the only way in. As police now routinely seek access to people’s cellphones, privacy advocates see a dangerous erosion of Americans’ rights, with courts scrambling to keep up. “It’s becoming harder to escape the reach of police using technology that didn’t exist before,” said Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “And now we are in the position of trying to walk that back and stem the tide.” While courts have determined that police need a warrant to search a cellphone, the question of whether police can force someone to share a passcode is far from settled, with no laws on the books and a confusing patchwork of differing judicial decisions. Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue. The state supreme courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are considering similar cases. As this legal battle unfolds, police keep pursuing new ways of breaking into cellphones if the owners don’t cooperate — or are enlisting help from technology firms that can do it for them. This has put them at odds with cellphone makers, all of whom continually update their products to make them harder for hackers or anyone else to break into. But the hacking techniques are imperfect and expensive, and not all law enforcement agencies have them. That is why officials say compelling suspects to unlock their cellphones is essential to police work. Making the tactic more difficult, they say, would tilt justice in favor of criminals. “It would have an extreme chilling effect on our ability to thoroughly investigate and bring many, many cases, including violent offenses,” said Hillar Moore, the district attorney in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who got the FBI’s help in breaking into a cellphone belonging to a suspect in a deadly Louisiana State University fraternity hazing ritual. “It would basically shut the door.” Clashes over passcodes In the part of Florida where Montanez lives, authorities are guided by a case involving an upskirt photo. A young mother shopping at a Target store in Sarasota in July 2014 noticed a man taking a picture of her with his phone while crouching on the floor. She confronted him. He fled. Two days later, police arrested Aaron Stahl and charged him with video voyeurism. Authorities got a search warrant for Stahl’s iPhone, but he wouldn’t give them the passcode, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. A trial judge ruled in his favor, but a state appellate court reversed the decision in December 2016, saying Stahl had to provide the code. Facing the possibility of getting convicted at trial and sentenced to prison, Stahl agreed to plead no contest in exchange for probation. While Stahl did not provide the passcode in the end, prosecutors still rely on the precedent established by the appellate ruling to compel others to turn over their passcodes under the threat of jail. “Up until that point you could be a pedophile or a child pornogropher and carry around the fruits of your crime in front of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges and taunt them with fact that they couldn’t get the passcode,” said Cynthia Meiners, who prosecuted Stahl at the 12th Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney’s Office. “You could say, ‘I’m a child pornographer and it’s on my phone but I’m not giving you my passcode because I would be incriminating myself.’” But that ruling only holds in a few counties of Florida. Elsewhere in the country, skirmishes remain unresolved. In Indiana, police officials are trying to force a woman to share her passcode as they investigate her for harassment, saying she was making it impossible for them to obtain key evidence. The woman’s lawyer says authorities haven’t said what evidence they think is in the phone, raising concerns about a limitless search. Her appeals reached the state Supreme Court, whose ruling could influence similar cases around the country. Attorneys general in eight other states filed a brief in support of the police, warning against a ruling that “drastically alters the balance of power between investigators and criminals.” The stakes are similar in New Jersey, where a sheriff’s deputy accused of tipping off drug dealers to police activities has refused to hand over passcodes to his iPhones. The state Supreme Court agreed in May to hear the case. These clashes aren’t limited to the use of passcodes. Police have also tried to force people to open phones through biometrics, such as thumbprints or facial recognition. Legal experts see the Fifth Amendment argument against self-incrimination as more of a stretch in those cases. The law has generally been interpreted as protecting data that someone possesses — including the contents of their mind, such as passcodes — but not necessarily their physical traits, such as thumbprints. Still, some judges have refused to sign warrants seeking permission to force someone to unlock their phone using their face or finger. The rules on compelled decryption are more lenient at the U.S. border, where federal agents have given themselves wide authority to search the phones of people entering the country ─ and have reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on third-party hacking tools. “Depending on where you are in the country, there is different case law on what police can do,” said Andrew Crocker, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties nonprofit. In some states, there is no authoritative court ruling, leaving law enforcement authorities to decide for themselves. Virginia falls into that category. Bryan Porter, the prosecutor in the city of Alexandria, said he has told local police it’s OK to try to force someone under the threat of jail to open a cellphone by thumbprint or face. But demanding a password seems to go too far, he said. Criminals shouldn’t be able to inoculate themselves from investigations, Porter said. “But it kind of rubs me the wrong way to present a piece of paper to someone and say, ‘Give us your passcode.’” ‘What they were doing to me was illegal’ In Tampa, Florida, where Montanez was arrested last year, judges still rely on the 2016 ruling against Stahl by the Second District Court of Appeals. That is what prosecutors cited when they tried to force Montanez to give up his passcodes. But Montanez’s lawyer, Patrick Leduc, argued that, unlike Stahl’s case, police had no reason to search the phone, because it had no connection to the offenses he was charged with. The “OMG, did they find it?” text message — which turned out to be from Montanez’s mother, who owned the car and the gun in the glove box — was meaningless, Leduc said. He warned of a police “fishing expedition” in which authorities could search for anything potentially incriminating on his phone. While sitting in lockup for contempt, Montanez’s resolve not to give up his passcodes hardened. “What they were doing to me was illegal and I wasn’t going to give them their business like that,” he said. “They told me I got the key to my freedom,” he added. “But I was like, ‘F--- that.’” But the experience shook him. “I ain’t the toughest guy in the world, but I can protect myself. But it was crazy,” he said. “Bad food, fights here and there, people trying to take your food.” At the same time, the drugs and gun case against Montanez was crumbling. Laboratory tests on the suspected THC oil came back negative, voiding that felony charge and the gun charge related to it. That left prosecutors with only minor pot charges. But he remained in jail on the contempt charge while his lawyer and prosecutors negotiated a plea deal. In August 2018, after Montanez had spent more than five weeks in jail for refusing to provide the passcode, an appellate court dismissed the contempt case on a technicality. The court invited prosecutors to try again, but by then the passcode’s value had diminished. Instead, prosecutors allowed Montanez to plead no contest to misdemeanor drug charges and he was freed. When he was released, Montanez carried a notoriety that made him feel unwelcome in his own neighborhood. He noticed people looking at him differently. He was banned from his favorite bar. The police keep pulling him over, and he now fears them, he said. He finally left Tampa and lives in Pasco County, about an hour away. “Yeah, I took a stand against them,” he said. “But I lost all that time. I gotta deal with that, going to jail for no reason.” Source
  3. Secure comms biz says it simply follows the law – plus, there's always Tor Updated ProtonMail, a provider of encrypted email, has denied claims that it voluntarily provides real-time surveillance to authorities. Earlier this month, Martin Steiger, a lawyer based in Zurich, Switzerland, attended a presentation in which public prosecutor Stephan Walder, who heads the Cybercrime Competence Center in Zurich, mentioned the company. In a live-tweeted account of the event, subsequently written up on German and recently translated into English, Steiger said he learned that ProtonMail "voluntarily offers assistance for real-time surveillance." But Walder, the source of the revelation, subsequently contacted Steiger to clarify that he had been misquoted and had only described ProtonMail as a potential provider of assistance. Steiger maintains that he accurately reported what he heard and points to ProtonMail's own Transparency Report, which describes enabling IP logging in April in a case of clear criminal misconduct under Swiss law. The key word here is "voluntary." ProtonMail says that it is obligated to assist authorities, like every other company in Switzerland and elsewhere. "All Swiss service providers are obligated by law to assist law enforcement in criminal cases, and the law requires us to enable IP logging in criminal cases," the company said via Twitter. In an email to The Register, a company spokesperson dismissed Steiger's claims. "ProtonMail does not voluntarily offer assistance," the company spokesperson said. "We only do so when ordered by a Swiss court or prosecutor, as we are obligated to follow the law in all criminal cases. Furthermore, end-to-end encryption means we cannot be forced by a court to provide message contents." Steiger's skepticism about ProtonMail security appears to follow from marketing non sequiturs – "ProtonMail is hosted in a former military command center deep inside the Swiss alps" – that fall short of testable technical guarantees. He is argument focuses on the fact that message metadata can be as revealing as message contents, and there's some truth to that. It's extraordinarily difficult to communicate securely and anonymously over the internet, particularly if law enforcement authorities have access to relevant service providers. But that problem is not specific to ProtonMail. The Register asked Steiger to comment but he didn't immediately respond. Updated to add Protonmail, clearly concerned that its privacy-focused customers might be freaking out a little, has explained its position in a blog post. PS: ProtonMail has a Tor-based .onion service if you don't want your real public IP address tracked. Source
  4. Facebook is unwittingly auto-generating content for terror-linked groups that its artificial intelligence systems do not recognize as extremist, according to a complaint made public on Thursday. The National Whistleblowers Center in Washington carried out a five-month study of the pages of 3,000 members who liked or connected to organizations proscribed as terrorist by the US government. Researchers found that the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda were "openly" active on the social network. More worryingly, the Facebook's own software was automatically creating "celebration" and "memories" videos for extremist pages that had amassed sufficient views or "likes." The Whistleblower's Center said it filed a complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of a source that preferred to remain anonymous. "Facebook's efforts to stamp out terror content have been weak and ineffectual," read an executive summary of the 48-page document shared by the center. "Of even greater concern, Facebook itself has been creating and promoting terror content with its auto-generate technology." Survey results shared in the complaint indicated that Facebook was not delivering on its claims about eliminating extremist posts or accounts. The company told AFP it had been removing terror-linked content "at a far higher success rate than even two years go" since making heavy investments in technology. "We don't claim to find everything and we remain vigilant in our efforts against terrorist groups around the world," the company said. Facebook and other social media platforms have been under fire for not doing enough to curb messages of hate and violence, while at the same time criticized for failing to offer equal time for all viewpoints, no matter how unpleasant. Facebook in March announced bans at the social network and Instagram on praise or support for white nationalism and white separatism. Source
  5. Powerful software for your digital media investigations Most investigative tools haven’t kept pace with the increasing volume of image and video files. In some cases, this can result in a manual review of millions of files and it almost always increases caseload and turnaround times. Analyze Digital Investigator reverses that trend. Thanks to a rich toolset of technologies with automated processes to categorize and filter out non-pertinent material, Analyze DI helps you work faster and better. WORK SMARTER — SOLVE CASES FASTER Seamless Import/Export Import everything from CCTV to native forensic image formats including data extracted in VICS and start analyzing them straight away. Artificial Intelligence (Griffeye Brain) Automatically classify child sexual abuse content with outstanding accuracy and label image content based on thousands of concepts. Robust Image and Video Hashing Save valuable time and energy by pre-categorizing known data and stacking duplicates. Face Recognition Detect and recognize faces in image and video using technology applied to mass volume and “real world” (i.e. uncontrolled) imagery. Group and Search Metadata Leap ahead in your analysis by correlating metadata to open sources on the internet. Advanced Analysis Bring critical clues to the surface faster with analysis algorithms for filtering, sorting and searching. Customized Reporting Cut down on your admin work with handy functions for detailed and fully customized reporting. Open API Use the 3rd party apps you need to crack the case with the ability to add plug-ins through the API. GET STARTED WITH EASE Intuitive and easy-to-use from the start, the user interface enables you to quickly and easily categorize, prioritize and review complex information. MANAGE AND ORGANIZE EFFECTIVELY The dashboard view provides an easy overview the information you’ve been working on. SEE QUICKER PROGRESS Automation provides a leg up on massive volumes of digital media. Investigations that used to take months, even years, can now be wrapped up in hours or days. Homepage https://www.griffeye.com/ Site: https://multifilemirror.comSharecode: /wd18x9u0te0z
  6. Nearly 19 groups of Amazon shareholders have expressed reservations over sales of the company’s Recognition service to law enforcement, NBC and CNN report. In a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last Friday, a copy of which was provided to NBC by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the undersigned warn against potential abuses of the facial recognition technology. And they point to recent scrutiny of Facebook over its data privacy policies, which have negatively impacted its stock. “While Rekognition may be intended to enhance some law enforcement activities, we are deeply concerned it may ultimately violate civil and human rights,” the shareholders wrote. “We are concerned the technology would be used to unfairly and disproportionately target and surveil people of color, immigrants, and civil society organizations … We are concerned sales may be expanded to foreign governments, including authoritarian regimes.” The shareholders, which include advocacy organizations like the Social Equity Group and Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, join the ACLU and nearly 70 other groups protesting the online retailer’s practices. In a separate letter sent to Bezos on Monday, the ACLU argued that Amazon shouldn’t provide facial recognition systems to the government. News that Amazon had supplied U.S. law enforcement with computer vision technology broke in May, when the ACLU published freedom of information requests showing that the company’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) division worked with the city of Orlando, Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s to deploy Rekognition. At the time, both offices said that they weren’t using the system to perform real-time facial tracking. The bulk of the controversy stems from research showing that facial recognition systems are susceptible to bias. A 2011 study found that systems developed in China, Japan, and South Korea had more trouble distinguishing between Caucasian faces than East Asians, and a separate study showed that algorithms from security vendor Cognitec performed 5 to 10 percent worse on African Americans than on Caucasians. In an email statement provided to VentureBeat last month, Amazon said that it requires customers to “be responsible” when they use Amazon Web Services and Rekognition. “When we find that AWS services are being abused by a customer, we suspend that customer’s right to use our services,” an AWS spokesperson said. “Amazon Rekognition is a technology that helps automate recognizing people, objects, and activities in video and photos based on inputs provided by the customer. For example, if the customer provided images of a chair, Rekognition could help find other chair images in a library of photos uploaded by the customer. ” Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. We’ll update this article when it does. Source
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