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+ - Police fight to keep use of Stingrays secret

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The New York Times looks at how local police are fighting to keep their use of cell phone surveillance secret, including signing NDAs with Stingray manufacturer Harris Corp and claiming the documents have been lost. It's part of a broader trend of local agencies adopting the tactics of covert intelligence groups as they seek to adopt new technology in the digital era."

+ - ICE tells reporter its secretive drone program isn't newsworthy->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Wondering how Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses drones along the border? ICE says you shouldn't be, declaring the topic "isn't news" anymore. The agency rejected a FOIA request fee waiver regarding Operation Safeguard because the program, started in secret 12 years ago, is no longer new.

A March 3 letter signed by an ICE lawyer defined “news” as “information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.” Hard to see how the government's drone program, even if it is over a decade old, doesn't hold current interest, but maybe a useful example of what happens when you let agencies dictate what is — and isn't — news."

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+ - US Marshals Service refuses to release Stingray info — that's already publ->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The US Marshals Service is known to be one of the most avid users of StingRays, and documents confirm that the agency has spent more than $9 million on equipment and training since 2009.

But while it appears the USMS is not under any nondisclosure agreement with the device manufacturer, the agency has withheld a wide range of basic information under an exemption meant to protect law enforcement techniques — despite the fact that that same information is available via a federal accounting website."

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+ - "Next time I'll try a bus!" The best of the DOT's aviation consumer complaints->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Last July, MuckRock user Curtis Raye requested all aviation consumer complaints in the categories of "customer service" and "discrimination" made to the Department of Transportation in March and April of 2014. Just last week, the response came back in the form of 166 case histories — and while some serious incidents are mentioned, the overwhelming majority are decidedly not-so-serious. Read on for some of the best ones."
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+ - When it comes to surveillance gear, many police ignore public records laws in fa->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "What should take precedence: State public records laws, or contractual agreements between local police, the FBI, and the privately owned Harris Corporation? That's the question being played out across the country, as agencies are strongly divided on releasing much information, if any, on how they're using Stingray technology to collect and monitor phone metadata without judicial oversight."
Link to Original Source

+ - FBI can't find its drone privacy reports->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Programs run by the federal government are typically required to undergo a Privacy Impact Assessment if there's a chance they'll veer into monitoring the activities of citizens: The assessments help balance the risks and benefits of the program, and help guide any oversight to prevent abuse.

But despite being legally mandated, the FBI and Justice Department have had a tough time producing the assessments done in conjunction with the Bureau's domestic surveillance drone program, first telling privacy advocates to file a FOIA request, and then rejecting that request, before ultimately claiming they now simply can't find the documents altogether."

Link to Original Source

+ - NYPD creating fake social media profiles to track loud parties, underage drinkin->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Is that Facebook friend request from the cute girl in third period, or an undercover officer looking to bust up the next high shool kegger? That's the question more students in New York City might be asking, as newly released documents from the NYPD recently disclose its process for agents creating undercover social media aliases with the aims of uprooting terrorist plots, tracking "political activity," and other nefarious crimes like underage drinking or pre-meditated loud partying.

Fake profiles must be approved by bureau brass, unless it would "seriously impair" an investigation or risk life or pproperty damage."

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+ - Plan C: The Cold War plan which would have brought the US under martial law->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under marshal law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to "subversive" organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack.

There was no Plan A or B."

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+ - FBI confirms open investigation into Gamergate->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism — even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics"
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+ - Every weapon, armored truck, and plane the Pentagon gave to local police->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway, but now you can after MuckRock got the Department of Defense to release the full database, letting anyone browse what gear their local department has received."
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+ - The DOJ worked with local PDs to get around state asseThe DOJ wot seizure limits->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Civil forfeiture allows police to seize cash, cars, houses, and more, all without law enforcement even needing to charge, let alone convict, suspected drug dealers with a crime. While those who have had their assets seized have judicial remedies, the lower bar for confiscation has enough states concerned that they've placed severe limits over what and how much local police can take. New documents and data, however, show that the Justice Department has partnered with local police in order to get around these state laws, with the federal government acting as a "proxy" — in exchange for a cut (often around 20%) of the proceeds."
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+ - Before using StingRays, police must sign NDA ... with FBI

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Advanced cell phone tracking devices known as StingRays allow police nationwide to home in on suspects and to log individuals present at a given location. But before acquiring a StingRay, state and local police must sign a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI, documents released via a MuckRock FOIA request indicate. As Shawn Musgrave reports, it's an unusual setup arrangement for two public agencies to swear each other to secrecy, but such maneuvers are becoming more common."

+ - Documentary on Erds-Bacon closes in on its Kickstarter goal->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "The intersection between pop culture and nerd culture can be narrowed down to one number: The number of steps between any given person and both prolific actor Kevin Bacon and prolific science paper author Paul Erds. Now the steps for a documentary to find (or create) the lowest Erds-Bacon is about to be one shorter as the film Erds-Bacon closes in on its Kickstarter goals, with just over 24 hours left to go."
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+ - Two years of data on what military equipment the Pentagon gave to local police->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear."
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+ - San Jose police apologize for hiding drone program, halt until further review->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "As part of MuckRock's Drone Census, the San Jose twice denied having a drone in public records requests — until the same investigation turned up not only a signed bid for a drone but also a federal grant giving them money for it. Now, almost a full year after first denying they had a drone, the department has come clean and apologized for hiding the program, promising more transparency and to pursue federal approval for the program, which the police department had, internally, claimed immunity from previously."
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