Items tagged with law-enforcement

While a push toward privacy is great for the average person, it is also simultaneously great for criminal gangs. Using secure messaging systems, these gangs can secretly communicate plans for drug shipments or killings worldwide. However, if law enforcement is inside these messaging apps, then the criminals can be caught easily. It appears the FBI did exactly that by running a “secure” messaging system leading to the seizure of hundreds of millions in drugs, weapons, cars, cash, and cryptocurrency. This sting operation saga started in 2018, when law enforcement agencies took down Phantom Secure, which made custom encrypted devices for criminals. In this operation, AP News reports... Read more...
In an investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, four people have now been indicted for bribery associated with obtaining a concealed carry gun license. One of those four people indicted is Apple’s Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer. The court date is set for January 11, 2021, and all four could face prison time, should they be convicted. Thomas Moyer joined Apple in January of 2006 and worked up the ranks to Head of Global Security in November of 2018. On his LinkedIn, he describes his position as being “responsible for strategic management of Apple's corporate and retail security, crisis management, executive protection, investigations, and new product... Read more...
From personal devices to more broad applications, facial recognition and AI are becoming a large part of all types of technology and applications. Earlier this year, Amazon banned law enforcement from using its facial recognition software. The hope was that legislation could be passed to prevent law enforcement's use of facial recognition, but that has not happened yet, and it seems to be a widespread issue. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has now issued a ban on the use of commercial facial recognition software for police work. According to Buzzfeed News research, the use of facial recognition in law enforcement is a massive problem, with more than 2,200 agencies using software such... Read more...
Amazon says that customer data requests from law enforcement agencies around the United States increased significantly during the first half of 2020. Amazon unveiled statistics on the number of customer data requests from government agencies during its latest transparency report published late last week. The figures provided showed that it received 23% more subpoenas and search warrants, and a 29% increase in court orders this year than in the first half of 2019. Requests included data collected from the Amazon.com retail storefront, Echo devices, and tablets in the Kindle and Fire ranges. Amazon also notes that requests for data from the company's cloud services, Amazon Web Services, also increased... Read more...
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...