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Homeland Security To Scan Citizens Exiting US 676

An anonymous reader writes "The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers — including US citizens — was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants."

National Car Tracking System Proposed For US 563

bl968 writes "The Newspaper is reporting that the leading private traffic enforcement camera vendors are seeking to establish a national vehicle tracking system in the United States using existing red-light and speed enforcement cameras. The system would utilize Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to track vehicles passing surveillance cameras operated by these companies. If there are cameras positioned correctly the company will enable images and video to be taken of the driver and passengers. The nice thing in their view is that absolutely no warrants are needed. To gain public acceptance, the surveillance program is being initially sold as an aid for police looking to solve Amber Alert cases and locate stolen cars."

Shadow Analysis Could Spot Terrorists 245

Hugh Pickens writes "An engineer at Jet Propulsion Labs says it should be possible to identify people from the way they walk — a technique called gait analysis, whose power lies in the fact that a person's walking style is very hard to disguise. Adrian Stoica has written software that recognizes human movement in aerial and satellite video footage by isolating moving shadows and using data on the time of day and the camera angle to correct shadows that are elongated or foreshortened. In tests on footage shot from the sixth floor of a building, Stoica says his software was indeed able to extract useful gait data. Extending the idea to satellites could prove trickier, though. Space imaging expert Bhupendra Jasani at King's College London says geostationary satellites simply don't have the resolution to provide useful detail. 'I find it hard to believe they could apply this technique from space,' says Jasani." Comments on the article speculate on the maximum resolution possible from KH-11 and KH-12 spy satellites.

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From Salon.com: "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."

FBI's New Eye Scan Database Raising Eyebrows 229

mattnyc99 writes "The FBI has confirmed to Popular Mechanics that it's not only adding palm prints to its criminal records, but preparing to balloon its repository of photos, which an agency official says 'could be the basis for our facial recognition.' It's all part of a new biometric software system that could store millions of iris scans within 10 years and has privacy advocates crying foul. Quoting: 'The FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, which could cost as much as $1 billion over its 10-year life cycle, will create an unprecedented database of biometric markers, such as facial images and iris scans. For criminal investigators, NGI could be as useful as DNA some day — a distinctive scar or a lopsided jaw line could mean the difference between a cold case and closed one. And for privacy watchdogs, it's a dual threat — seen as a step toward a police state, and a gold mine of personal data waiting to be plundered by cybercriminals.'"

U.S. Confiscating Data at the Border 630

PizzaFace writes "U.S. Customs agents have long had broad authority to examine the things a person tries to bring into the country, to prevent the importation of contraband. The agents can conduct their searches without a warrant or probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. In recent years, Customs agents have begun using their authority to insist on copying data brought to the border on laptop computers, cell phones and other devices. The government claims that this intelligence-gathering by Customs is the same as looking in a suitcase. In response the EFF is filing a lawsuit attempting to force the government to reveal its policies on border searches. 'The question of whether border agents have a right to search electronic devices at all without suspicion of a crime is already under review in the federal courts. The lawsuit was inspired by some two dozen cases, 15 of which involved searches of cellphones, laptops, MP3 players and other electronics.'"
United States

All US Border Crossings Now Require A 'Terrorist Risk Profile' 710

conlaw writes with a somewhat intimidating Washington Post article. "The federal government disclosed details yesterday of a border-security program to screen all people who enter and leave the United States, create a terrorism risk profile of each individual and retain that information for up to 40 years ... The risk assessment is created by analysts at the National Targeting Center, a high-tech facility opened in November 2001 and now run by Customs and Border Protection. In a round-the-clock operation, targeters match names against terrorist watch lists and a host of other data to determine whether a person's background or behavior indicates a terrorist threat, a risk to border security or the potential for illegal activity. They also assess cargo."

U.S. Airport Screeners Are Watching What You Read 484

boarder8925 writes "Be careful what you read when you fly in the United States. What you read is being monitored by airport screeners and stored in a government database for years. 'Privacy advocates obtained database records showing that the government routinely records the race of people pulled aside for extra screening as they enter the country, along with cursory answers given to U.S. border inspectors about their purpose in traveling. In one case, the records note Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Gilmore's choice of reading material, and worry over the number of small flashlights he'd packed for the trip. The breadth of the information obtained by the Gilmore-funded Identity Project (using a Privacy Act request) shows the government's screening program at the border is actually a survelliance dragnet."

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito