Items tagged with law-enforcement

You might think that a criminal planning a bank robbery would at least do a little research beforehand; rule numero uno is that you never rent the getaway vehicle in your own name. An alleged bank robber named Luca Mangiarano clearly didn't do his research. Police allege that 19-year-old Mangiarano robbed a BBVA Compas bank located in downtown Austin, Texas on December 18th. According to a bank teller, a young man in a black hoodie walked up to her station and handed her a note that demanded cash. She gave the man the money he asked for, and the man turned and walked out of the bank. Another bank employee saw a person fitting that description exit the bank and climb aboard an Uber Jump scooter... Read more...
Is the Uber you just hailed trying to evade the police? It appears that Uber was using a tool called Greyball to elude law enforcement investigations and irate intrenched competition like traditional taxi companies. Greyball utilizes data collected from Uber’s app in order to root out and circumvent law enforcement officials. The tool is part of the program “Violations of Terms of Service” or VTOS that was originally created by Uber to get rid of people it believed were using the service incorrectly. Greyball is predominantly used outside of the United States, but was approved for use by Uber’s legal team. Uber’s use of Greyball was revealed by four former and current anonymous Uber employees... Read more...
Last summer, we learned about a super-invasive piece of hardware called "StingRay" which law enforcement can put to use to keep an eye on cellular communications in a given area. Since then, those who make use of StingRay have wanted nothing more than for us to forget about it, and in some cases have tried to deny its existence or use. Thankfully, we're smarter than that. To recap, StingRay is a suitcase-sized device that law enforcement can pack into surveillance vehicles. These vehicles would be able to communicate with real cellular towers in the area, and in effect act as a proxy. Even if you're not actively using your phone, your signal could potentially pass through a StingRay... Read more...
The NYPD is reportedly testing Google Glass for use with its patrol officers. “We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we’re trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes,” a “ranking New York City law enforcement official” told VentureBeat. That sounds tame enough until you cross-reference that tidbit with the fact that facial recognition software (NameTag) exists for the high-tech specs. Ostensibly, then, police officers could identify you--whether or not you’re a criminal or engaging in suspicious activity--without you knowing it. Privacy mavens will no doubt hit the roof, but while it’s... Read more...
Like many other tech companies, Apple is publishing a data request transparency report so its users will have a better sense of the number of inquiries law enforcement makes about the company’s users and their data, and like those other companies, Apple is somewhat hamstrung, bound by law to keep details about many of the requests confidential. “At the time of this report, the U.S. government does not allow Apple to disclose, except in broad ranges, the number of national security orders, the number of accounts affected by the orders, or whether content, such as emails, was disclosed,” reads the report. Apple is clear that it’s against this practice, calling it a gag order.... Read more...