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  1. HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police pepper-sprayed some Hong Kong protesters on Thursday who defied a ban to stage candlelight rallies in memory of China’s bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy crackdown, accusing Beijing of stifling their freedoms too. Scuffles broke out briefly in the working-class Mong Kok area where hundreds had gathered and some demonstrators tried to set up roadblocks with metal barriers, prompting officers to use spray to disperse them, according to Reuters witnesses. It was the first time there had been unrest during the annual Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong, which police had prohibited this year citing the coronavirus crisis. Several protesters were arrested, police said. Earlier, a few thousand people joined a peaceful main rally in Victoria Park, many wearing masks and chanting slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” and “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” “We are just remembering those who died on June 4, the students who were killed. What have we done wrong? For 30 years we have come here peacefully and reasonably, once it’s over it’s ‘sayonara’ (goodbye),” said Kitty, a 70-year-old housewife. The anniversary has struck an especially sensitive nerve in the former British-ruled city this year after China’s move last month to impose national security legislation and the passage of a bill outlawing disrespect of China’s national anthem. It also comes as Chinese media and some Beijing officials voice support for protests in the United States against police brutality. In Beijing, security around Tiananmen Square, a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the city, appeared to be tightened, with more police visible than on ordinary days. June 4 commemorations are banned in mainland China. Protesters take part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 31st anniversary of the crackdown of pro-democracy protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, after police rejected a mass annual vigil on public health grounds, at Victoria Park, in Hong Kong, China June 4, 2020. In Hong Kong, which just reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in weeks, police had said a mass gathering would undermine public health. But many took to the streets to light candles and stand for a minute’s silence. Seven Catholic churches opened their doors. Some people held photos of the 1989 events, including a famous one of a man standing in front of a tank convoy. Millionaire publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, who were both arrested in April over protests last year, left a church service together. “We are afraid this will be the last time we can have a ceremony but Hong Kongers will always remember what happened on June 4,” said Brenda Hui, 24, in Mong Kok, with a white battery-illuminated umbrella that read “Never Forget June 4.” WESTERN SOLIDARITY The European Union and United States both expressed solidarity with the Hong Kong demonstrators’ desire to mark the Tiananmen anniversary. Democratically-ruled and Beijing-claimed Taiwan, where more than 500 people gathered in Liberty Square, asked China to apologise, which the mainland called “nonsense.” “In China, every year has only 364 days; one day is forgotten,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on her Facebook page. “I hope that in every corner of the earth there won’t be any days that are disappeared again. And I wish Hong Kong well.” China has never provided a full account of the 1989 violence. The death toll given by officials days later was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands of people may have perished. There was no mention of the anniversary in Chinese state media. But Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, tweeted a screenshot of the U.S. statement with his own commentary. “The Tiananmen incident gave Chinese society a political vaccine shot, which has enabled us to be immune to any colour revolution. 31 years later, riots emerged and spread in the U.S. They only think of exporting it, but forget to prepare vaccine for themselves.” Hu did not elaborate. The term colour revolution is often used to describe peaceful uprisings in former Soviet states but has also been used to describe other popular movements. In Hong Kong, officials have repeatedly said a ban on groups larger than eight is a public health measure with no political motivation. Earlier on Thursday, some students in Hong Kong followed the annual tradition of repainting a Tiananmen memorial message on a university campus bridge: “Souls of martyrs shall forever linger despite the brutal massacre. Spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil.” Source
  2. Florida chief on leave for allegedly blaming gay cop's coronavirus death on sexuality Police Chief Dale Engle.Davie Police Dept. Davie police Chief Dale Engle has been placed on administrative leave after officers at his Florida station filed a union complaint alleging that he dismissed their concerns about coronavirus protection measures and blamed the coronavirus fatality of a Broward County deputy sheriff on his sexuality. Engle allegedly blamed the death of openly gay Broward County Deputy Sheriff Shannon Bennett on a “backstory," claiming he died because he was a “homosexual who attended homosexual events." Source: Read the full story here.
  3. Kentucky troopers placed notices on the vehicles of parishioners attending an in-person Easter service at Maryville Baptist Church. (Photo: Courier Journal) HILLVIEW, Ky. — As Maryville Baptist Church moved forward with its in-person Easter service Sunday morning, Kentucky State Police troopers were recording the license plates and placing notices on the roughly 50 cars parked outside of the congregation. The action related to license plates came as a result of an order that Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday as part of ongoing efforts to keep Kentuckians from further spreading COVID-19. Following Beshear's license plate order, which applies anyone who attends an in-person church service or any mass gathering, police will refer those motorists to local health departments, which will then order 14-day quarantines – although several attendees told The Courier Journal they have no intention of following the order. Sgt. Josh Lawson of KSP said most of the state’s 16 posts have responded to between two and five complaints about church services. But so they’ve found no violations of CDC guidelines and no in-person services, with Maryville apparently the exception. Most calls have been in reference to outdoor services, where people were in cars and not passing between cars. Those types of services “were specifically mentioned by the governor as being allowed,” he said. “We’re responding to those calls as we would any other calls for service. As of now, we have not found anyone to be in violation when we responded to those calls. They are following the proper guidelines,” he said. Maryville was the only place plates have been recorded and notices put on cars that he knew about. He couldn’t answer what exactly they will do with them, but noted the action was the directive of the governor. Troopers have used community connections to speak with pastors to advise that “they can worship while doing so safely and within proper guidelines.” Lawson said it’s been “very non-confrontational.” More than an hour before Maryville Baptist Church began worship, the Rev. Jack Roberts had to call for help to clean up piles of nails scattered at the entrances to the church parking lot. 137 people are talking about this The nails appeared to have been dumped at the entrances to block cars from entering the church that is in the Bullitt County community of Hillview, just south of the Jefferson County line. Roberts had been determined to move forward with the 11 a.m. Easter service at Maryville Baptist Church despite repeated pleas from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to shift to virtual services and a March 19 executive order prohibiting faith-based mass gatherings amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Background: Kentucky church leader vows to hold Easter services Earlier this week, the Baptist congregation also received a state-backed order from the Bullitt County Health Department to cease in-person gatherings "immediately." But the church has not backed down during this Holy Week, holding a Wednesday evening service that drew roughly 40 attendees. Buy Photo Nails, screws and carpenter tacks were found in various spots of the Maryville Baptist Church parking lot on Easter morning. April 12, 2020 (Photo: Scott Utterback/The Courier Journal) Beshear's order for police to record license plates has drawn criticism from numerous Republicans who represent Kentucky at the state and federal level, including Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie as well as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Roberts has said he is "not interested in trying to defy the government," but believes his church has a constitutional right to continue to hold worship services inside his church. More news: Judge allows drive-in service at Louisville church, says Fischer 'criminalized' Easter "If you read the Constitution of the United States, if you read the constitution of the state of the Kentucky, they both say that (Beshear) is infringing on the church's rights," Roberts said earlier this week. On Sunday, Roberts said he would not encourage or discourage compliance with any quarantine orders. The pastor did cover the license plate on his own vehicle. Just after 10 a.m., when Sunday school was beginning, no law enforcement could be spotted outside of the church. Five or so cars were initially parked in the church's lot, with a few more lined up on the outskirts. Several vehicles had covered up their license plates. A KSP official at the church said officers recorded VIN numbers of cars that had their plates covered. Some of the cars parked at the Maryville Baptist Church for Easter service had their license plates covered. April 12, 2020 (Photo: Scott Utterback/The Courier Journal) Beshear has mentioned in recent weeks how numerous churches have held mass gatherings in defiance of his order that is aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On the eve of Easter Sunday, Beshear said he knew of only seven mass gatherings planned for the weekend. "To our knowledge, 99.89% of all churches and all synagogues and all mosques in Kentucky have chosen to do the right thing," Beshear said during his Saturday briefing. "I'm just doing my best to save lives. And there aren't easy answers." The governor added that the state is not going to "padlock doors or arrest pastors." Recording license plate numbers, he said, is an effort to "say that if you’re going to make the decision to go to a mass gathering during this pandemic, it shouldn’t affect other people." In Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer reiterated Saturday that he was "strongly suggesting" churches don't host in-person or drive-in services this Easter weekend. Fischer had said Friday that Louisville Metro Police officers would record the license plate numbers of those who attend church services and the local health department would use that information to contact attendees, should any later fall ill with COVID-19. The mayor pointed to photos published in The Courier Journal of a March 29 service at On Fire Christian Church, 5627 New Cut Road, that show some individuals within 6 feet of each other. Beshear: Mass gatherings, such as in-person church, will lead to self-quarantine orders Although Fischer did not issue an order banning drive-in services, one Louisville church sued the mayor and city on Friday, arguing Fischer's recommendations on drive-in religious services violated constitutional rights and their religious freedoms. U.S. District Judge Justin Walker, who was appointed to the Western District of Kentucky bench last year with Sen. Mitch McConnell's recommendation, sided with On Fire Christian Church in a Saturday ruling, calling Fischer's move overly broad and unconstitutional. "On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter," Walker wrote in a temporary restraining order he issued, which bans the city from "enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire." In response to Walker's order, Fischer repeated that hasn't directed law enforcement to shut down drive-in worship services. The mayor also said the city tried to present evidence to Walker in defense of its position but was unsuccessful. On Sunday morning, On Fire Christian Church pastor Chuck Salvo stood on a podium above 100 or so cars in the parking lot, starting the Easter morning service by singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” and waving the red, white and blue flag to a chorus of honks from churchgoers. Before getting into his resurrection sermon, Salvo said he recognized that government officials “are up against a tremendous challenge” and led the congregation in a prayer. He then recited the CDC guidelines for drive-in services. Source: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2020/04/12/kentucky-churches-hold-in-person-easter-services-despite-order/5127260002/
  4. Clearview app is not for personal use but only for law enforcement authorities, the company emphasizes. China has been for a long time the poster face of conducting mass surveillance on its citizens. This has been attributed to its use of advanced AI-powered algorithms being able to facially recognize anyone on the streets. Yet, it seems like it won’t be the only state to do so for long. Recently, it has been revealed in an investigation by the New York Times that a startup named Clearview AI has developed a facial recognition app that allows anyone to snap a picture of a stranger anywhere and instantly learn about their name, address and any other details available online. How it does this is no secret. By scrapping images available from social networking services like Facebook and YouTube, the company records number over 3 billion pictures, far more than the databases of law enforcement agencies such as the FBI which has over 641 million images of U.S Citizens comprising of passport and driver’s license photos. Therefore, it is no surprise that over 600 U.S law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are already Clearview’s customers. But the crucial question is, what are the implications of such a service being available? Firstly, it has been reported by The Times that the app has assisted in solving crimes ranging from minor misdemeanors like shoplifting to indictable offenses such as murder, sexual exploitation, and credit card fraud. While this is a good thing, it needs to be realized that it could turn bad pretty quickly too. States could use it as a tool to monitor the lives of citizens at a very personal level. Additionally, since we cannot expect the tech to be 100% accurate, false positives can end up getting innocent people blamed for crimes they did not commit. But that’s not all. Since one needs to upload photos to Clearview’s servers, who makes sure those photos are secure? We’ve seen billion-dollar companies suffering from breaches, what makes this small company bulletproof? Moreover, currently, we’ve only seen a few cities like San Francisco banning the app with there being no federal law regulating their use. This is expected to change with their being a significant focus on making laws governing facial recognition as a result of increasing advocating for such. As an example, several civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have complained of such systems, primarily like those of Amazon stating, “We demand that Amazon stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country.” On the other hand, when it comes to the mass public, although the app is not available for them currently, it is highly probable that it will be in the near time. With this, we’ll see stalkers stepping up their game and a rise in cyberbullying. However, not everyone is criticizing the startup. According to Detective Constable in the Sex Crimes Unit Canadian Law Enforcement, “Clearview is hands-down the best thing that has happened to victim identification in the last 10 years. Within a week and a half of using Clearview, [we] made eight identifications of either victims or offenders through the use of this new tool.” To conclude, social media platforms must learn from this expose and work on finding ways to avert the scraping of their data on a large scale. If they do that, all of these apps will find it difficult to engage in such business. Meanwhile, if government agencies are going to indeed use it, they should at the very least urge the app’s management to take the strictest of security precautions. Source
  5. An alleged robber accused of stealing $195,000 from a bank is fighting his criminal charge by claiming police illegally used Google location data to arrest him. Okello Chatrie, 24, was charged with armed robbery of the US bank in Midlothian, Virginia, after police noticed on security footage the suspect had been holding a cellphone to his ear. According to NBC News, authorities applied for a so-called geofence warrant, which gave access to Google’s location data from all the cellphones that had been used in the area during the heist. It narrowed their search down from an initial list of 19 accounts to Chatrie being the prime suspect. It is believed this may be the first US case in which a defendant is fighting the use of such a warrant to charge them with a crime. The warrant allows police to take advantage of information Google has on its customers and track nearly anyone using an Android device or Google app to a particular place over a particular time period. Chatrie's lawyers said in an October court filing: "It is the digital equivalent of searching every home in the neighbourhood of a reported burglary, or searching the bags of every person walking along Broadway because of a theft in Times Square. "Without the name or number of a single suspect, and without ever demonstrating any likelihood that Google even has data connected to a crime, law enforcement invades the privacy of tens or hundreds or thousands of individuals, just because they were in the area." But, prosecutors are arguing the search was legal because Chatrie had opted into Google’s location services, which allowed his Android phone and Google apps to track his movements. Chatrie has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. NBC reported police are increasingly turning to the use of geofence warrants, with documented cases in at least four US states and contractors now offering to help police looking to use the warrants. Source
  6. Alexa may be the key to solving an already somewhat bizarre Florida case where a woman was killed by a spear with a footlong blade to the chest. Police have secured a search warrant for recordings from an Amazon Echo and Echo Dot in the home, which they believe may have witnessed the possible murder, according to the Sun Sentinel. The incident in question happened back in July: Sylvia Galva Crespo, 32, died in her Hallandale Beach, Florida, home after a mysterious accident left her stabbed through the chest with a spear inexplicably already in the apartment. At least, that’s the explanation her husband, Adam Crespo, 43, gave police before he was charged with second-degree murder. Police now believe Amazon Echo devices in the home may have been triggered by their “wake word” at the time of the incident, thus making Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa a possible witness, the Guardian reports. It feels like something straight out of Black Mirror. “It is believed that evidence of crimes, audio recordings capturing the attack on victim Silvia Crespo that occurred in the main bedroom … may be found on the server maintained by or for Amazon,” police explained in a legal document per the Sun Sentinel. A spokesperson for the department told the Sun Sentinel authorities had received the recordings and are currently analyzing them. Whatever new evidence—if any—police may be able to glean from these recordings remains unclear. While it’s no secret that your smart speakers are listening in on you, Amazon has always contended that Alexa only records short snippets after its “wake word” has been triggered and not entire private conversations. Though researchers have recently found plenty of evidence that hackers use these devices for eavesdropping and phishing schemes, so we do know the capability remains there. Whether or not Amazon uses it with any regularity is another question entirely. Update: When asked for comment on the case, an Amazon spokesperson provided the following statement to Gizmodo: “Amazon does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.” Source
  7. THE USE of facial recognition by South Wales Police has been deemed lawful in a ruling on Wednesday by the High Court in London following a judicial review. Welsh cops' use of facial recognition is legal, High Court rules Civil rights group Liberty and local Cardiff resident Ed Bridges had challenged the deployment of facial recognition in the first legal challenge to UK police use of facial recognition technology. It was first used by South Wales Police in a trial during the Champions League Final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in June 2017. In total, South Wales Police is believed to have scanned the faces of more than 500,000 members of the public. Bridges claimed that he had been scanned at least twice - on Queen Street in Cardiff in December 2017 and at a protest against the arms trade in March 2018. Metropolitan Police has also trialled facial recognition, with less than convincing results. Liberty had claimed in court that facial recognition systems were little different from police fingerprinting or obtaining DNA, around which tight legal safeguards exist. However, the court ruled that while facial recognition might infringe upon people's privacy rights it wasn't unlawful per se. The court declared that the current legal framework governing facial recognition is adequate, but ought to be subject to periodic review. Liberty, though, is campaigning for a complete ban on what it describes as an "authoritarian surveillance tool". Liberty lawyer Megan Goulding said: "This disappointing judgment does not reflect the very serious threat that facial recognition poses to our rights and freedoms. "Facial recognition is a highly intrusive surveillance technology that allows the police to monitor and track us all. It is time that the government recognised the danger this dystopian technology presents to our democratic values and banned its use. Facial recognition has no place on our streets." Police use of facial recognition, Liberty added, involves the processing of sensitive, personal data of everyone who is scanned, not just those on a watchlist. The organisation has vowed to appeal. South Wales Police typically use facial recognition in cameras attached to vans. These take scans of people's faces, making a biometric map of the face which is then run against a database of facial biometric maps. When a positive match is made, the image is flagged for a manual review. UK police have around 20 million mugshots in various databases. South Wales Police is also planning to put the technology onto police mobile phones, which will make its use even more widespread. Source
  8. It sounds like something out of a hacking movie: slow heavy metal music plays while the hero goes to town on their keyboard, green text and 3d imagery flashing by. He explains to his partner that he’s going to take the botnet down from the inside; the infected computers will cure themselves. They hit the Enter key like it insulted someone’s mother. The over-sized screen, covered in red dots, slowly starts to turn white. The virus is clear. The real-life version didn’t happen quite like that, but it might not be far off: French police hijacked and then cleared a botnet with nearly a million infected computers. Not the actual botnet. Retadup is, according to antivirus firm Avast, a malicious worm affecting Windows machines throughout Latin America. It’s designed to install on the infected machine and then begin mining for cryptocurrency. Avast discovered a flaw in the malware’s command and control server that would allow someone in command of the botnet to remove the malware from infected computers without pushing any new code to those computers. The firm knew it could clear the botnet, but didn’t have the legal authority to pull the trigger. So it reached out to French police. While the botnet itself focused on Latin America, the botnet’s infrastructure was located in France. In July of this year, the police got the go-ahead from the prosecutor. Avast prepped a disinfection server. When they brought it online, thousands of bots began connecting to it and accepting the self-destruct command. The whole operation had to be done very carefully. While cryptocurrency mining is a huge waste of power, it’s hardly malicious. If the botnet operators had become aware of the sting operation, they could’ve pushed out ransomware or something a lot more malicious. Sitting unaware, they were simply pulling in passive income. Don’t skip that antivirus app The police could provide only limited information to Avast due to privacy laws, but the firm uncovered some interesting stuff. The botnet operators themselves were infected with another worm, Neshta. Avast cheekily notes that its software would’ve protected Retadup authors. The firm also noted that of the computers infected, 82% of the systems were running Windows 8.1 or earlier; over 52% ran Windows 7. 85% of the victims had no third-party anti-virus installed. That’s not a problem in itself these days, but many also had any protection of any kind disabled. French police believe that the authors were mining several million euros worth of cryptocurrency each year since 2016, and think the botnet extended to as many as 140 countries. The police have not yet apprehended the perpetrators, they said. They say that the authors could re-create a platform like this at any time, and could refocus a new botnet to attack corporations or other institutions. It really does sound like something out of a movie, and it’s rare that anything that happens on the internet comes out sounding so cinematic. Source
  9. The San Francisco police on Wednesday were investigating a threat at the headquarters of the streaming platform Twitch. Employees at the company's headquarters were offered the option to work from home. "We were made aware of a threat against our San Francisco HQ on Tuesday, and have been working directly with law enforcement as they investigate," the company told Business Insider in a statement. "The safety and security of our employees is our top priority, and we are focused on ensuring this is resolved quickly and safely." Officer Adam Lobsinger of the San Francisco Police Department said the police were investigating the threat at the headquarters. "We don't have any suspect or know how credible the threat is at this time," Lobsinger said on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, Lobsinger said there was no longer an "active threat." Image: Twitch's San Francisco headquarters on Bush Street. The San Francisco Police Department responded to the headquarters of the streaming company Twitch on Wednesday after a threat was made against the company. Twitch didn't specify the nature of the threat, nor did the San Francisco Police Department, but multiple employees on private social-media accounts suggested that someone had threatened a shooting. "We were made aware of a threat against our San Francisco HQ on Tuesday," a Twitch representative told Business Insider in a statement. "And have been working directly with law enforcement as they investigate. The safety and security of our employees is our top priority, and we are focused on ensuring this is resolved quickly and safely." SFPD officer Adam Lobsinger said the threat originated on Twitter, but couldn't say more due to an ongoing investigation. By Wednesday afternoon, the San Francisco Police Department determined that there was no longer an "active threat" at Twitch HQ. Employees at Twitch's San Francisco-based headquarters were offered the option to work from home on Wednesday as the police investigated. "A threat is being made against a business located on the 300 block of Bush Street" where Twitch HQ is located, Officer Adam Lobsinger of the San Francisco Police Department told Business Insider on Wednesday afternoon. The police were said to be "on scene investigating" as of Wednesday morning. "We don't have any suspect or know how credible the threat is at this time," he said. Other major tech companies have received violent threats in recent years. In April 2018, a woman entered YouTube's San Bruno, California, offices and shot three people before killing herself. Later that year, in December, a bomb threat shut down Facebook's Menlo Park, California, campus. Twitch is based in San Francisco but is owned by the Seattle-based Amazon. The company is best known for its wildly popular streaming service of the same name, which primarily features people playing video games live on camera. This week's threat to Twitch has come as gaming faces new criticism from politicians. President Donald Trump on Monday argued that the internet and gaming spurred violence following two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in which a combined 31 people were killed. "The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and they will not be ignored," Trump said, going on to say that "includes the gruesome video games that are now commonplace." Source
  10. THE HAGUE (Reuters) - European law enforcement agencies set to lose the ability to tap criminals’ mobile devices with the launch of 5G technology must be brought into discussions earlier when communications networks are modernised, the new head of Europol told Reuters. Appealing to EU leaders for greater powers to fight tech-savvy criminals, Catherine De Bolle said its member states do not yet have the domestic regulations or technology to fill the policing gap that will open up when 4G networks become obsolete. “It is one of the most important investigative tools that police officers and services have, so we need this in the future,” she said in an interview, giving the example of locating a child who has been kidnapped. European police authorities are now able to listen to and track wanted criminals using mobile communication devices on the 4G network, but “we cannot use them in the 5G network,” De Bolle said. She said European law enforcement agencies were brought into talks on the 5G transition among tech companies and policymakers too late. That meant that officials were now being forced to seek ways to limit the damage when police are stripped of critical surveillance capabilities under 5G. The comments came as Europol released a report on crime fighting in the digital era, called “Do Criminals Dream of Electric Sheep,” which described the adoption by criminals of new encrypted communication tools, 3-D printing technology and hacking capabilities that target potential victims online. It highlighted the ability by terrorists to use self-driving cars or drones as weapons, artificial intelligence that can spread fake news and high-speed quantum computing that may help crack encryption codes. “WEB-BASED CRIMINALITY” Police agencies “were not vocal enough” when policy makers and commercial businesses were discussing 5G technology, and De Bolle is sounding the alarm to avoid a repeat. “The biggest risk is that we are not enough aware of the developments on a technological level and we have to be ahead on this. We have to understand what is going on and we have to try to provide answers to it,” she said. “So we need to be at the table where they discuss about the technological development, where they discuss standardisation.” Europol opened in 1999 as Europe’s collective policing agency and combats cross-border organised crime, terrorism and cybercrime in the bloc. It has 900 staff based in The Hague. The agency is in discussions in Brussels to double its budget from this year’s 138 million euros ($155 million) by 2027, largely to revamp its cybercrime capabilities, De Bolle said, detailing the new report. “The area we are working in and the technological evolution we are dealing with - the innovation used by criminals, the web-based criminality - it is huge,” said De Bolle, who joined Europol in May 2018 from the Belgian police force. She made the case for Europol to become a platform for modernising EU police forces by developing digital tools and technology. To do that, Europol would need greater political and financial support from European institutions. In the next seven-year EU budget period from 2021 to 2027 “we need a doubling of the money we have today,” she said. Source
  11. Victims of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of thousands are blaming the Tron CEO for his failure to disassociate the platform from the scam. Police were called to the Beijing offices of blockchain platform Tron yesterday to protect staff and ease tensions, after a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme was linked to the blockchain platform. Decrypt had previously reported that hundreds of thousands of Chinese investors had lost at least $30 million, after investing in a scam that alleged to have ties to the Tron blockchain—an association that Tron itself, is accused of profiting from. In a video initially posted on a Chinese WeChat forum (and later shared to Twitter,) an angry mob can be seen outside the Tron building, as police stand guard. The unrest comes shortly after Tron CEO Justin Sun again failed to acknowledge that the blockchain-based platform could have played a part in the scam through its silent complicity. Some victims have also claimed that Tron’s crypto, TRX, benefited from increased activity and liquidity, as unwitting investors plowed their TRX into the scheme on the promise of major returns. On Chinese crypto forums, many of the victims have been sharing their stories after the fraudulent platform abruptly shut up shop last week. Chinese media reported that one woman committed suicide after losing money on the scheme. In China, Tron is known by the name “Wave Field.” The scammers set up a site called “Wave Field Super Community” to tempt users into investing in the scheme, which promised big profits. Some members of the community asked Sun directly to clarify the relationship between the blockchain platform and the site. But he didn’t, which apparently left many to assume it was attached to the project, Chinese media reported. The Tron Foundation has since responded to these claims. In a statement provided to Decrypt, it said, after learning of the Wave Field scam, “Tron warned investors on its WeChat messaging group, Wei Bo official channels — Wei Bo and Dou Yin, etc. — to beware of potentially fraudulent schemes.” It added that Tron partner Raybo technology gave the imitation project a cease and desist warning and is continuing to work with the police to resolve the matters. Following the publication of Decrypt’s article last week, Sun issued a warning on Twitter alerting investors to Ponzi-like schemes trading on the Tron name. But he failed to refer to Wave Field Super Community specifically. The price of Tron shot up over the weekend, from a market cap of $2.1 billion, to $2.3 billion. After news of the suicide broke today, the price fell sharply, with some $100 million wiped off the market cap in little over 24 hours. Source
  12. 2018 saw a jump in the number of Germans applying for a basic weapons license. Police say the trend comes from a growing sense of insecurity, but warn increasing numbers of armed citizens may worsen the situation. More Germans are applying for basic weapons licenses according to the country's Interior Ministry. As of December 31, 2018, some 610,937 citizens had been issued licenses. The jump of 53,377 gun permits over 2017 represents a 9.6 percent increase in the number of Germans now licensed to carry gas pistols, flare guns, pepper spray and other weapons not intended for deadly use. Police representatives suggest the increase illustrates a latent sense of insecurity among citizens. However, Left Party domestic policy expert Ulla Jelpke said the increase was "a result of the panic created by law and order politicians like Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and right-wing agitators like the AfD [Alternative for Germany]." 'False sense of security' Police Union (GdP) Chairman Oliver Malchow, warned of the effect that growing numbers of armed citizens might have in everyday life, telling the Germany daily newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung: "Such weapons give a false sense of security as well as an increased willingness for self-defense. But both those facts could lead to an escalation of the current situation, eventually turning gun owners into criminals." Malchow added that armed citizens could actually be opening themselves to more risk, as those they might face would have no way of knowing that they were carrying non-lethal weapons. Germany's basic weapons license requires an applicant to be of adult age as well as being personally and psychologically fit. Lethal weapons are not readily available in Germany. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Network), said that 0.9 Germans per 100,000 died of gun violence in 2016. The USA, which garners much press for its high percentage of gun deaths, registered 10.6 per 100,000 in 2016. El Salvador led the world by percentage with 39.2 per 100,000. Germany registered 820 gun deaths in 2016, as compared to 33,336 in the USA. Source
  13. NOVATO — A five-and-a-half standoff ended peacefully Saturday afternoon after a suspect who asked police for cigarettes accepted a vape pen instead, police said. The standoff ended peacefully Saturday afternoon after a suspect who asked police for cigarettes accepted a vape pen instead, police said. Juan Roman, 40, of Novato, surrendered about 1:30 p.m. and was arrested on suspicion of attempted arson and vandalism, according to Novato police. Officers first responded at 7 a.m. to a 76 gas station convenience store on Ignacio Boulevard, where Roman allegedly poured gas and tried to set a fire. Police believe he was angry that he couldn't get a fuel pump to work at the station, and that he was also upset about family issues, said Novato Police Lt. Sasha D'Amico. Authorities had been alerted and followed Roman as he drove away from the 76 station in his pickup truck to a Safeway fueling station on Nave Drive, less than a mile away. Police then tried to talk him out of his vehicle and called in crisis negotiators and a SWAT team, believing Roman might have a weapon. They also believed that he might have splashed fuel on himself at the 76 station. After six hours, he said he would surrender if negotiators gave him cigarettes, but police decided that wouldn't be a good idea, given the possibility of fuel on his clothing. When they gave him a vape pen instead, he agreed to surrender, D'Amico said. Police did not find a firearm on Roman, or in his vehicle, she said. Source
  14. PARIS (Reuters) - Paris police fired water cannon and tear gas to push back “yellow vest” demonstrators from around the Arc de Triomphe monument on Saturday, in the ninth straight weekend of protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms. Thousands of protesters in Paris marched noisily but mostly peacefully through the Grands Boulevards shopping area in northern Paris, close to where a massive gas explosion in a bakery killed two firefighters and a Spanish tourist and injured nearly 50 people early on Saturday. But small groups of demonstrators broke away from the designated route and threw bottles and other projectiles at the police. Around the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees boulevard, riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at militant yellow-vest protesters after being pelted with stones and paint, witnesses said. Groups of protesters also gathered on and around the Champs Elysees, the scene of disturbances in recent weeks, many of them calling loudly for Macron to resign. “Macron, we are going to tear down your place!” one banner read. The Interior Ministry said it estimated that there were 32,000 demonstrators nationwide on Saturday, including 8,000 in Paris, below the 50,000 counted last week and well below the record 282,000 nationwide on Nov. 17, the first day of yellow vest protests. But the number of demonstrators in Paris was well above the past two weekends, when authorities counted just 3,500 people on Jan. 5 and only 800 on Dec. 29. Much of central Paris was in lockdown on the first week of post-Christmas sales with bridges across the Seine river closed and official buildings such as parliament and the Elysee presidential palace protected by police barriers. In Paris, 121 “gilets jaunes” (yellow vest) were arrested, some for carrying objects that could be used as weapons, police said. By nightfall, there had been no looting or burning of cars as seen in previous weeks. There were also thousands of marchers in the cities of Bordeaux and Toulon in southern France as well as Strasbourg in the east and the central city of Bourges. Bourges authorities said nearly 5,000 yellow vests stuck to the designated demonstration area. The historical city center was off-limits for demonstrators, but some 500 protesters made their way to the center where they scuffled with police and set garbage bins on fire. Many businesses in Bourges had boarded themselves up to avoid damage and authorities had removed street furniture and building site materials that could be used for barricades. In Strasbourg, up to 2,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the European Parliament building and later marched to the center of the city on the Rhine river border with Germany. No serious violence or looting was reported there. More than 80,000 police were on duty for the protests nationwide, including 5,000 in Paris. The “yellow vests” take their name from the high-visibility jackets they wear. Their rage stems from a squeeze on household incomes and a belief that Macron, a former investment banker seen as close to big business, is indifferent to their hardships. Macron, often criticized for a monarchical manner, is to launch a national debate on Jan. 15 to try to mollify the yellow vest protest, which has shaken his administration. The debate, to be held on the internet and in town halls, will focus on four themes - taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship. But aides to Macron have said changing the course of Macron’s reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy will be off limits. Source
  15. The tech giant is also upgrading its program that trains law enforcement in digital forensics. Apple is creating a dedicated team to help train law enforcement officials around the world in digital forensics, the company said Tuesday in a letter to Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. The company is also working on an online portal, set to be operational by the end of 2018, where law enforcement officials can submit and track requests for data and obtain responses from Apple. When the portal goes live, police and law enforcement agents will be able to apply for "authentication credentials," Apple said in the letter. The letter, seen by CNET, addresses recommendations made in a report issued earlier this year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) regarding cybersecurity and the "digital evidence needs" of law enforcement agencies. Apple said in the letter that it's eager to adopt the report's recommendations, including making upgrades to its law enforcement training program. This includes developing an online training module for police that mirrors Apple's current in-person training, according to the letter and to details on the company's website. "This will assist Apple in training a larger number of law enforcement agencies and officers globally, and ensure that our company's information and guidance can be updated to reflect the rapidly changing data landscape," the site says. Apple also reiterated in the letter that it's "committed to protecting the security and privacy of our users" and that company initiatives and "the work we do to assist investigations uphold this fundamental commitment." Along with tech companies like Google and Microsoft, Apple regularly publishes transparency reports detailing how often it gets requests for data from governments as well as private parties. In the first half of 2017, for example, Apple received between 13,250 and 13,499 national security requests from the US law enforcement. Source
  16. When hackers took over two-thirds of D.C. police’s surveillance cameras days before the 2017 presidential inauguration, it appeared that the cyberattack was limited to elicit a single ransom payment. But court documents show that the alleged scheme that January was far more ambitious. Federal authorities say two Romanians accused in the hacking planned to use the police department computers to email ransomware to more than 179,000 accounts. That would have allowed them to extort those users as well — and use city government computers to hide their digital tracks. Prosecutors said the alleged hackers had also stolen banking credentials and account passwords, and, using the police computers, could have committed “fraud schemes with anonymity.” In addition, authorities said they uncovered a separate scheme run by the same people — an allegedly fraudulent business that tricked Amazon’s offices in Great Britain into sending money to the Romanians. (Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post.) The intrusion in the District occurred Jan. 9-12, 2017, and caused 123 of the police department’s 187 surveillance cameras to go dark eight days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, sparking national security concerns. It appears the timing was a coincidence; prosecutors said the hackers probably did not know that the computers were used by police. D.C. police say the incident did not affect safety or harm any investigations, but cybersecurity experts said it highlights the digital threat faced by governments and businesses and raises questions about the city’s ability to quickly identify hacking. “The question we should be asking of police is what controls were lacking and why were they unable to detect such an obvious intrusion,” said Alex Rice, the chief technology officer and co-founder of HackerOne, a California firm that works with companies and the Defense Department to test computer security. District officials said they are working hard to protect the city against a constant stream of cyberattacks. They did not answer questions specifically about the police cameras, citing the ongoing criminal investigation. Kevin Donahue, the deputy mayor for public safety, said in a statement that the District’s cybersecurity program “is critical to our public safety, health care, and public education agencies.” His statement added that “each year, we see more than one billion malicious intrusion attempts, including ransomware, denial of service, and phishing attacks. We are continuously working to improve our cybersecurity defenses to ensure they protect our IT systems from the constantly evolving methods of cyber attacks.” The U.S. attorney’s office for the District is seeking to extradite Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, from Romania. His alleged accomplice, Eveline Cismaru, 28, has been extradited. She made her initial appearance on Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington. Prosecutors said Cismaru lacks ties to the United States and fled Romania while appealing a court order to extradite her from there to the United States. Authorities tracked her to London, where she was arrested, prosecutors said in court documents filed Friday. Isvanca and Cismaru have been charged with fraud and computer crimes and face 20 years in prison if convicted. An attorney for Isvanca did not return calls seeking comment. Cary Citronberg, who is representing Cismaru, said in a statement that his client has a 2-year-old son in Europe. “We believe Ms. Cismaru belongs back with her son and we are hopeful she will be able to put this ordeal behind her quickly so she can be reunited with her family,” he said. A hearing in federal court is scheduled for Aug. 16. Cismaru is being detained. Police say the alleged hackers were detected only when they shut the system down. D.C. police said the hack that locked up the system was noticed after a city employee tried to sign on to the computer system that runs the outdoor cameras and saw a “splashscreen.” A notice highlighted in red announced a “cerber ransomware” and warned that “your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted!” It said the system could be unlocked with a bitcoin payment of more than $60,000. Cerber, along with “dharma,” are two types of ransomware programs. Both had been downloaded onto the police system that runs the cameras. Authorities said the hackers routed emails through the police servers, including some sent to “vand.suflete” on Gmail. The term in Romanian means “selling souls.” D.C. officials quickly took the closed-circuit TV system offline, removed the software and restarted the cameras. They ignored the ransom demand. Authorities said they later learned that some of the emails routed through the police computers referenced IP addresses (a computer’s unique address) that did not include systems owned by D.C. police. Authorities said one was a health-care company in London. One browser downloaded onto the police computer had a user name listed as “David Andrew” with a Gmail account of “david.andrews2005.” In one affidavit filed in the case by the Secret Service, prosecutors say Isvanca and Cismaru also set up a fake company called Lake L. and linked it to Amazon.com.uk. Authorities said investigators found some of the same emails used by the fake company as used by the hackers on the police computers. When people placed orders with Amazon, the affidavit says, the suspects used stolen credit cards to buy the requested items at another website. Once those items were shipped from the other website, the affidavit says the suspects provided those postal tracking numbers to Amazon, which then released the money paid by the purchasers to the suspects. Police in Romania and in the United States were able to track various computer IP addresses and email accounts to the suspects, according to the affidavit. One tip came from an online takeout order from Andy’s Pizza, a restaurant in Bucharest. The person placed an order on Jan. 9, 2017 — the same day the D.C. computers were hacked — using the david.andrews2005 account and giving the clerk the name “Mihai Alexandru,” according to an invoice pulled by police and referenced in the affidavit filed in federal court. Later, during an interview with investigators, the affidavit says Isvanca told them that Cismaru lived in a fifth-floor apartment on Strada Bucur, near downtown and where the takeout order had originated. That, police said, helped them link the email address to the suspects. Rice said that police in cyber-investigations try to collect hard evidence such as a paper receipts to make it more difficult for a defendant to argue that someone else had used or hacked a computer. The receipt from Andy’s, Rice said, is probably that type of evidence. Rice said it appears that U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies worked well together, but he warned “that we can’t rely on law enforcement as a deterrent” to cybercrimes. “We have got to hold companies and organizations responsible for implementing basic security practices that make it difficult for criminals. They are tempted by this low-level fruit.” Source
  17. Face recognition will be used to harm citizens if given to governments or police, writes Brian Brackeen, CEO of the face recognition and AI startup Kairos, in an op-ed published by TechCrunch today. Last week, news broke that bodycam maker Axon requested a partnership with Kairos to explore face recognition. Brackeen declined, and writes today that “using commercial facial recognition in law enforcement is irresponsible and dangerous.” “As the Black chief executive of a software company developing facial recognition services, I have a personal connection to the technology both culturally, and socially,” Brackeen writes. Face recognition is one of the most contentious areas in privacy and surveillance studies, because of issues of both privacy and race. A study by MIT computer scientist Joy Buolamwini published earlier this year found face recognition is routinely less accurate on darker-skinned faces than it is on lighter-skinned faces. A serious problem, Brackeen reasons, is that as law enforcement relies more and more on face recognition, the racial disparity in accuracy will lead to consequences for people of color. “The more images of people of color it sees, the more likely it is to properly identify them,” he writes. “The problem is, existing software has not been exposed to enough images of people of color to be confidently relied upon to identify them. And misidentification could lead to wrongful conviction, or far worse.” Law enforcement agencies have increasingly relied on face recognition in the U.S., celebrating the tech as a public safety service. Just last week, Amazon employees rallied against the use Rekognition, the company’s face recognition technology, by police. Once optional for U.S. citizens, the Orlando Airport now mandates face scans for all international travelers. And CBP has moved to institute face recognition at the Mexican border. In areas where identifying yourself is tied to physical safety, any inaccuracies or anomalies could lead to secondary searches and more interactions with law enforcement. If non-white faces are already more heavily scrutinized in high security spaces, face recognition could only add to that. “Any company in this space that willingly hands this software over to a government, be it America or another nation’s, is willfully endangering people’s lives,” concludes Brackeen. “We need movement from the top of every single company in this space to put a stop to these kinds of sales.” More on this at [TechCrunch] Source
  18. San Bruno police and San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies rushed to YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno Tuesday afternoon in response to an active shooter inside the building. Several YouTube employees reported on social media hearing gunfire and running for their lives. “Heard shots and saw people running while at my desk,” one employee, Vadim Lavrusik, wrote on Twitter just before 1 p.m. “Now barricaded inside a room with coworkers.” There were no immediate details from authorities other than to confirm that there was an active shooter inside the building at 901 Cherry Avenue. A witness told The Chronicle they saw at least one person with a gunshot wound. “We are responding to an active shooter,” San Bruno police tweeted at 1:28 p.m. “Please stay away from Cherry Ave & Bay Hill Drive.” The building is being evacuated. Authorities have not confirmed reports of injuries or fatalities, but workers who were in the building described a chaotic scene as people scrambled away from a gunman wearing body armor. “I was in the courtyard and we heard the gunshots then saw him. He had a shooting mask on, full body armor and was calmly walking and firing a handgun,” Salahoden Abdul-Kafi, a YouTube product manager wrote on Facebook. “We jumped to the floor then ran as fast as we could. I'm on my way home now.” Abdul-Kafi said he was OK “but I don't know about a lot of coworkers.” It still wasn’t clear an hour after the first reports came in whether the shooter was still in the building. As helicopters circled overhead, police started taking statements from those who were in the building when the shooting began. Dozens of employees stood near a parking garage across the street from the company’s headquarters. They were on their cell phones, contacting friends and family and recounting what happened. One group of employees — who declined to provide their names because of YouTube’s media policy — said they were sitting at their desks working around 1 pm when they suddenly heard a “pop-pop-pop.” Source
  19. Police issued a warrant for devices surrounding a potential homicide. Google was served at least four sweeping search warrants by Raleigh, North Carolina police last year, requesting anonymized location data on all users within areas surrounding crime scenes. In one case, Raleigh police requested information on all Google accounts within 17 acres of a murder, overlapping residences, and businesses. Google did not confirm or deny whether it handed over the requested data to police. WRAL reporter Tyler Dukes found four investigations in 2017 where police issued these uniquely extensive warrants: two murder cases, one sexual battery case, and an arson case that destroyed two apartment complexes and displaced 41 people. Police routinely request information from technology companies—Google says it shares data with law enforcement about 81% of the time—but these specific cases are remarkable: Instead of finding a suspect, and then searching that person’s data, police are searching enormous amounts of data to pinpoint a potential suspect. Warrant for data in an arson case in Raleigh The warrants follow the same template: Police requested location data from all phones that were in the surrounding area of a crime scene, generally within an hour window of when the crime was committed. In the homicide and sexual assault warrant, police drew a box surrounding the scene of the crime, then requested the data for everyone within it. In the second homicide case, it was a circle. Police highlighted a geographic area, requesting data for all devices within Police in each case were requesting account identifiers, an anonymized string of numbers unique to each device, and time-stamped location coordinates for every device. Police wanted to review this information, narrow down their list, and then request user names, birth dates, and other identifying information regarding the phones’ owners. This information doesn’t reveal actual text messages or phone call logs. For that information, police would have to go through a separate warrant process. Disturbingly, if Google has handed over data, it could be under court order not to notify individual users. Google declined to say whether it released data in any of the Raleigh cases, but representatives from the ACLU and EFF reviewed the warrants, questioning Raleigh PD’s justification for the alarmingly broad search. For example, the arson and sexual battery cases don’t mention whether the attacker even had a cell phone. The warrants say police are also interested in locating potential witnesses, but does that necessitate this level of search? Investigations are still ongoing for all four cases. So far, only one has resulted in a suspect being arrested. More on this at WRAL Source
  20. Stuffed tiger causes 45-minute police standoff at Scottish farm RYAN W. MILLER | USA TODAY A fake tiger caused a real headache for a Scottish farmer and local police after a 45-minute showdown turned out to be a sham. Scottish authorities said Tuesday that officers had an armed standoff with a stuffed tiger over the weekend. "It's true — our officers had a roaring shift on Saturday night," the North East Police Division wrote in a Facebook post. The incident began when Bruce Grubb, 24, thought he saw the large cat lurking on his farm in Peterhead, Scotland and quickly called police. Officers arrived at the scene but remained in their vehicles to figure out the best strategy, the Scottish Sun reported. "I had absolutely no doubt it was real," Grubb told the newspaper. "I got a hell of a scare. I was worried it was going to eat all my cows before police managed to shoot it." After a still, nearly hour-long stare down with the alleged beast, Grubb inched closer in his truck, only to discover the animal was a stuffed toy. Police said armed officers were sent to the scene "as a contingency," but were not deployed. "Until you know exactly what you are dealing with, every option has to be considered," Peterhead Inspector George Cordiner said. Grubb, who was hosting a small party at the time, denied that alcohol impaired his judgment and said he hadn't drank because the 200 pregnant cows on his farm "could drop at any time." "I was stone cold sober, drink had nothing to do with me thinking it was real," he told the Sun. Despite the false alarm, police praised Grubb's decision to make the call when he thought he was in danger. "We appreciate that it was a false call made with genuine good intent," Cordiner said. Thinking the toy was placed on his property as a joke, Grubb said he doesn't know who put it there.
  21. Facebook is one social media platform where people from all walks of life share pretty much everything about their life, from work and school to events and adventures. It’s a giant database constantly feeding and growing on personal information. By the end of the first quarter of 2018, Facebook had more than 1.9 billion active users around the world. It should therefore come as no surprise that requests for Facebook data from government agencies have also skyrocketed with time. Law Enforcement Agency Requests for Facebook Data Continue to Rise According to the Facebook biannual report, which provides a good idea of how interested US law enforcement agencies really are in the data that Facebook users create on a daily basis, that interest is increasing. In fact, from the first half of 2013 to the end of 2016, the total data requests and accounts targeted by law enforcement agencies have more than doubled. What’s perhaps more alarming is that around 56 percent of all government requests accompanied a non-disclosure order that legally restrains Facebook from notifying the affected user. So, there is no way Facebook users would know if US law enforcement agencies either requested their data or if it has been compromised. According to the Facebook report, by the second half of 2016, Facebook received 14,736 search warrant requests, 6,536 subpoenas, 738 court orders (18 USC 2703(d)), 236 court orders (non-18 USC 2703(d)), 1,948 pen register/trap and trace requests, 1,695 emergency disclosures and 125 real-time wiretap requests. Action of ACLU against these Alarming Stats The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken notice of these stats. It has especially voiced concerns over the complete absence of disclosures that play an integral role in the transparency of the entire process. What is more disturbing, however, is that businesses have realized how big a gold mine social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter really are since they store everything they could possibly want to know about a potential consumer. By knowing about the personal information, geolocation, browsing habits, and likes and dislikes of Facebook users, businesses would be in a better position to tailor their ads according to their needs, tastes and preferences. So your personal data is literally up for sale to the highest bidder. Nicole Ozer, Director of Technology and Civil Liberties Policy at ACLU California, stated in a post on govtech.com that the legal framework of California has seen consistent progressive updates over the years, but federal communications privacy law is one area that still remains unchanged for more three decades. Ozer is quoted, “The federal law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, is supposed to … make sure there are proper safeguards in place for when the government can demand electronic information, including things like data from Facebook. That law has not been updated since 1986. In 1986, cellphones were the size of bricks, Mark Zuckerberg was still in diapers, the World Wide Web did not even exist.” She further states that owing to large loopholes in outdated privacy laws, many US law enforcement agencies continue to aggressively pursue myriad forms of digital communications with complete impunity and absolute disregard for user privacy. Of the various types of information available to be collected by law enforcement, Ozer believes there is one in particular that should concern Facebook users the most. There is information out there on the back end of platforms and services that is not easily visible to the public. “This data isn’t publicly available where you can just go onto Facebook; this is actually data held by the back end of the company and you are compelling it with a warrant or another type of legal process,” explained Ozer in the govtech.com post. “That third piece, the kind of legal process that is required for sort of accessing this very sensitive back-end data, that law has not been updated and it leaves a lot of gray areas, which can make users quite vulnerable.” Seeing how government requests for Facebook data have more than doubled in the last four years, this should leave a lot of questions on the minds of users of social media, the most important of which is, “How safe is our data on social media?” And the brutal irony about all this is that the personal data of Facebook users is being collected and scrutinized by the very people sworn in to protect them! In a Nutshell As digital communication connects the far corners of the globe, we are bound to see more and more people connecting to Facebook and other social media. And with this increase in users, a consequent increase in government requests for intelligence data seems inevitable. So, unless US states solidify their legal framework around digital privacy, bipartisan support at the federal level will continue to encourage law enforcement agencies to exploit loopholes. Source
  22. MENLO PARK, CA (WFSB) - An officer from Los Angeles County took to Twitter on Friday when Facebook users called for help to report that the social media website was down. Sgt. Burton Brink, the public information officer in La Crescenta, CA, posted a Tweet reminding people about the reasons for calling them for help. "#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don't call us about it being down, we don't know when FB will be back up!" he wrote. Users who tried to get on Facebook around noon EST were greeted with an apology. "Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can," the site posted. A message posted by a Facebook's developer around noon said the site "is currently experiencing an issue that is affecting all API and web surfaces. Our engineers detected the issue quickly and are working to resolve it ASAP. We'll update shortly." Facebook returned about an hour later. Source: http://www.wfsb.com/story/26174225/police-do-not-call-us-if-facebook-is-down
  23. A published report this weekend says that besides the NSA, local police are also spying on your cellphone calls. According to the report, local and state police are using new technologies to snoop in realtime. This allows the authorities to capture information on people even if they are not the subject of an investigation. Based on a study of 124 police agencies in 33 states, 25% of police agencies employ a method known as a "tower dump" that provides law-enforcement with information including the location, identity and activity of any cellphone that connects to a particular cell tower. The technology used by the police should be scary to those who guard their privacy. A device called the Stingray, which is the size of a suitcase, is placed inside a car that is driven around local neighborhoods. Basically a portable cell tower, Stingray tricks your cellphone into believing that it is a real tower and connects to it, giving the cops information and data. This equipment costs as much as $400,000, but is funded by the federal government thanks to anti-terror grants. "When this technology disseminates down to local government and local police, there are not the same accountability mechanisms in place. You can see incredible potential for abuses."-Catherine Crump, Attorney, ACLU While organizations like the ACLU are worried about the amount of data being collected by police without a warrant, the cops say that they need to mine this information to track criminals, terrorists and kidnappers. The fear is that in the course of sifting through data, the police will stumble on other illegal activities not listed in the court order. But most police officials say that they are interested only in the information generated by a targeted criminal or a victim. Once a tower dump reveals information, the police can refine the data by asking the courts to force the carrier's to release more information like addresses, call logs and texts. Any information that violates a person's constitutional rights will not be allowed to be used by the courts. The problem is that with the recent worry about NSA spying, most Americans are greatly concerned about what is being done with all of the data generated by their cellphone. How Stingray tracks your calls Source
  24. James Duane explains in practical terms why citizens should never talk to police under any circumstances. James Duane is an American law professor at the Regent University School of Law, former criminal defense attorney, and Fifth Amendment expert. He received some viral online attention for his "Don't Talk To Police" video of a lecture he gave to a group of law students with Virginia Beach Police Department Officer George Bruch. Using former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson as support of his "Don't Talk to Police" advice, Duane says, inter alia, that: even perfectly innocent citizens may get themselves into trouble even when the police are trying to do their jobs properly, because police malfeasance is entirely unnecessary for the innocent to convict themselves by mistake; talking to police may bring up erroneous but believable evidence against even innocent witnesses; and individuals convinced of their own innocence may have unknowingly committed a crime which they inadvertently confess to during questioning. Link: Backup link: http://www.sockshare.com/file/52821CC375D143BCEnjoy.
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