Sunday, March 16, 2014

Police tech roundup

Here are several items related to policing tech that caught my eye today:

Speeding and Tweeting
Cops in Keller, TX are posting on Twitter and Facebook where and when they'll be doing traffic enforcement in hopes that people who know they'll be there will avoid speeding in the first place. Seems like a sensible plan.

Police body cams and privacy
Grits is generally a fan of police wearing body cams because it generates better evidence in criminal cases and provides a prophylactic against wrongdoing. But there are a handful of legitimate privacy issues cameras bring with them - toilet time, talking to confidential informants, etc. - that are discussed in this article and especially, in much more detail, in the comments. Not insurmountable, but the issues need to be discussed as this tech become more widespread.

Utah Lege: Require warrants for location data, content
Utah this month passed several notable pieces of electronic privacy legislation, including a bill "to obtain the location, transmitted data, or stored data of an electronic device such as a mobile phone or laptop. The bill requires law enforcement to delete any data they collect that doesn’t pertain to the suspect named in the warrant. It also requires notification to the individual that the location or data was obtained, much like a person is served a copy of a traditional warrant when physical property is searched or seized."

The FBI and signals intelligence
Don't just worry about the NSA invading your privacy, worry about the FBI. This article from Foreign Policy delves into the FBI's growing domestic signals intelligence capacity aimed at foreign embassies, but the same tech could be and is used in domestic criminal investigations.

The 'spy in your pocket'
 Dave Lieber at the Dallas Morning News had a column last month about the nexus between government and commercial cell phone tracking. See also recent columns at Wired touting the benefits, or at least relevant benevolence, of the 21st century consumer surveillance society.

I spy with my little surveillance camera
Check out examples of concealed surveillance devices from the Middle East and Guantanamo Bay, the latter of which was used to listen in on conversations between prisoners and their defense counsel.


Anonymous said...

At first, I also thought that the lil ol Keller PD was doing the drivers a good solid by publishing a rolling road block in advance.

Then reality hit. Take in to consideration the percentage of people that plan their day via T & F. Then the percentage of people that don't. Fast forward to Operation Eagle and then jump on over to court day when the defendant(s) show up in mass to pay fines. Some will pay and go as some refuse to and wish to take it to a jury trial.

What's that got to do with tea? Nothing. It's about showing the jury(s) and judge(s) the evidence covering the published advance warning directed at the public. The problem is that everyone isn't a Twit or FB addict. Doesn't matter, the announcement will be consider justified in the art of collecting money from people doing as little as 5 mph over.

Please pay the clerk on the way out, thank you come again.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it the Keller Police Dept. a while back in the news regarding an officer writing a citation to a resident for holding a sign warning drivers of a speed trap ahead.

Despite the city, I believe the man took it to a jury trial and won.

*Cams - if you allow an officer to utilize an On / Off switch, you should consider saving taxpayers funds and go with cheaper alternatives like - sketch pads and pencils with erasers. If and when an officer has go to the potty and turns off the cam for privacy, the bad guys can take full advantage. If & when they turn it off to talk to snitches on the payroll, it's the cop's word against the snitch's when the report reads that a furtive move was met with force, or worse when someone feels like groping someone with an un-gloved hand.

Best to leave 'em on the entire work day and let the evidence be filed in the evidence room at the end of shift for no less than 130 days.

Unknown said...

Great list -- I'm especially interested in following how Texas law enforcement is going to impliment bodycams (or if they will).

- Michael Lowe
Texas Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney practicing in Dallas

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It was actually Frisco, not Keller, that went after the guy with the speed trap warning sign.

Anonymous said...

But doesn't the state already provide drivers with a warning....its called a speed limit sign, right?

Anonymous said...

Yes, and A YELLOW LIGHT. Wait, that light is not a necessary warning. We can just go from green to red. CRASH we just CRASH blame those CRASH guys that CRASH break the laaaaaww.

Gotta obey the laaaw - of physics. It's the dweep who tweaked the yellow light that broke the law.

Don't you just love the people who try to teach the lesson they themselves need to learn?