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Posted inSurveillance and Privacy

Rare case sheds light on cellphone surveillance device

Flickr/jtrout FBI investigators used a court order authorizing access to cellphone customer data to quietly deploy a powerful surveillance technology known as “stingrays,” privacy groups contend in a new court filing [PDF] that claims the devices are overly invasive. Your cellphone can be singled out by its international mobile subscriber identity, or IMSI, which then makes […]

Posted inCriminal JusticeLocal Law EnforcementSurveillance and Privacy

Amid drone debate, police spend millions on spy planes

A Pilatus PC-12 NG Spectre in flight.Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. While the nation disputes if, when and where the government should use drones over U.S. soil, Texas state police are taking their surveillance efforts to the next level. In a little-noticed July purchase, officials at the Texas Department of Public Safety inked a $7.4 million contract […]

Posted inLocal Law EnforcementSurveillance and Privacy

Private companies pitch Web surveillance tools to police

Surfing the InternetBrian Lane Winfield Moore/Flickr Private tech firms have found a new market for their sophisticated software capable of analyzing vast segments of the Internet – local police departments looking for ways to pre-empt the next mass shooting or other headline-grabbing event. Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites are 24-hour fire hoses of raw […]

Posted inCriminal JusticeSurveillance and Privacy

DEA installs license-plate recognition devices near Southwest border

Interstate 19 in Arizona, heading toward the U.S.-Mexico borderKen Lund/Flickr In their unending battle to deter illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism, U.S. authorities already have beefed up border security with drug-sniffing dogs, aircraft  and thousands more agents manning interior checkpoints. Now, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has decided it wants more, and the Justice […]

Posted inCriminal JusticeLocal Law EnforcementSurveillance and Privacy

Police, lobbyists defeat bill to regulate license-plate scanners

Security guards at the Arden Fair mall in Sacramento see this visual interface after digitally scanning a license plate.Courtesy of Steve Reed Under pressure from law enforcement lobbyists and private industry, a California lawmaker has abandoned his effort to restrict how personal information on the whereabouts of drivers generated from high-tech license-plate scanners can be […]

Posted inCriminal JusticeLocal Law EnforcementSurveillance and Privacy

Court decision on police GPS spying lacks clarity, experts say

DNY59/ A critical Supreme Court ruling at the intersection of modern technology and privacy leaves open whether police can still track the car or cell phone of a suspect without threatening their constitutional rights, according to a new report [PDF] from the Congressional Research Service. Investigators in 2004 secretly affixed a tracking device to the car […]