Sen. Wyden confirms that police Stingray cellphone surveillance gadgets disrupt emergency services

Cops use Stingrays—fake cellular towers that fool cellphones into connecting to them instead of the real thing—to track people and hack into their devices. Sen. Ron Wyden, in a publicized letter to the U.S. Department of Jusice, exposes the fact that these devices disrupt and disable attempts to call emergency services.

Senior officials from the Harris Corporation—the manufacturer of the cell-site simulators used most frequently by U.S. law enforcement agencies—have confirmed to my office that Harris’ cell-site simulators completely disrupt the communications of targeted phones for as long as the surveillance is ongoing. According to Harris, targeted phones cannot make or receive calls, send or receive text messages, or send or receive any data over the Internet. Moreover, while the company claims its cell-site simulators include a feature that detects and permits the delivery of emergency calls to 9-1-1, its officials admitted to my office that this feature has not been independently tested as part of the Federal Communication Commission’s certification process, nor were they able to confirm this feature is capable of detecting and passing-through 9-1-1 emergency communications made by people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled using Real-Time Text technology.

The EFF:

It is striking, but unfortunately not surprising, that law enforcement has been allowed to use these technologies and has continued to use them despite the significant and undisclosed risk to public safety posed by disabling 911 service, not to mention the myriad privacy concerns related to CSS use.

It's a cliché, but it's true: the cops are out of control. Read the rest

For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority

If someone has been trashing your Detroit gas station for an hour, and cops still haven't responded, chances are your business hasn't enrolled in Project Green Light. Read the rest

Santa Cam knows when you are sleeping AND awake

Your kids thought that Elf on the Shelf was a dirty snitch, but just wait until they get a load of this Santa Cam.

For just $19.99 you can further perpetuate one of the world's biggest lie to children, the existence of Santa Claus. Because, that jolly guy in the red suit knows when you are sleeping and he knows when you are awake, with or without this (dummy) cam.

Santa can "check-in" from the North Pole to see when kids are kind to others, listen to their parents, and make good choices!

But wait, there's more! The let's-normalize-survelliance cam comes with the book, The Santa Cam Saves Christmas.

A big thanks to SF Slim! Read the rest

Business is booming for the surveillance state

Surveillance companies like Axon hope to turn every law enforcement officer into a data-gathering drone for a bodycam surveillance database they privately control. Now ShotSpotter, a listening technology that triangulates gunfire in "urban, high-crime areas," announced a planned IPO. Read the rest

Randomly Generated Catalog of Creepily Nondescript Domestic Surveillance Equipment

The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.

Carry the frustration of injustice in this game about racist police violence

Akira Thompson's striking work challenges one of the biggest misconceptions about police violence against black people in America, and offers privileged players the chance to experience the truth.

Texas releases full police dashcam video of Sandra Bland's arrest

The Texas Department of Public Safety has just released what is said to be a complete and unedited police dashcam video recording of the arrest of Sandra Bland. An altercation begins around 9 minutes in. Read the rest

WATCH: Police hose down crowd of sports fans with pepper spray and tear gas

Revelers in Ohio get treated to a chemical hosedown by heavily militarized police. Read the rest

WATCH: authorities obsessed with inspecting people's anuses

The case of Timothy Young made national headlines in 2012 when New Mexico police anally probed him in search of drugs (no contraband was found). His ordeal was the result of a false positive alert by a drug-sniffing police dog. Incredibly, the same dog was involved in a case involving another New Mexico resident that resulted in forced rectal exams that uncovered no drugs. That case ended with authorities paying a $1.6 million settlement (Young's case is still pending).

Although presented as impartial and infallible, it turns out that such dogs are not only often poorly trained, they are frequently wrong.

Read the rest

Police arrest North Carolina man for distributing voting rights leaflets

“They said they would charge me for distributing literature...” Read the rest

Buttle/Tuttle mixup: Cops tell innocent woman she is dead, then throw her in jail

Shannon Renee McNeal (right), a 42-year-old woman, has filed a lawsuit against St Louis police and court personnel after they falsely arrested her on felony drug possession charges that were meant for Shannon Raquel McNeal (left), who was 13 years younger. The booking officer at the jail acknowledged that Shannon Renee McNeal's fingerprints didn't match the wanted woman's (who, incidentally, had been dead for three months before the warrant was approved) but jailed her anyway, using the "not my problem" excuse.

A county clerk also allegedly confirmed the officer’s mistake, but Shannon Renee McNeal was still transferred to the city’s department of corrections and assigned a caseworker. After the caseworker also confirmed she was not the suspect, McNeal was allegedly told to retain her own attorney -- which she could not afford -- or notify prosecutors herself.

The suit states that McNeal was kept in jail for two days despite the multiple confirmations of her innocence, during which time she was sprayed with pesticides that burned her stomach and back, before being released on the orders of Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley.

McNeal was fired from her job from the mistake and has to pay to get her named expunged from public databases that falsely claim she has a criminal record.

Insane case of mistaken identity: Woman arrested, told she’s actually dead, jailed anyway Read the rest

10 facts about the SWATification of the US

SWAT team raids in the US have gone up 25-fold since 1980. Time's recent article about the militarization of the police reports that "the federal government has funneled $4.3 billion of military property to law enforcement agencies since the late 1990s."

End of the American Dream has assembled 10 facts about SWAT teams:

In 1980, there were approximately 3,000 SWAT raids in the United States. Now, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country. 79 percent of the time, SWAT teams are deployed to private homes. 50 percent of the victims of SWAT raids are either black or Latino. In 65 percent of SWAT deployments, “a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device” is used to gain forced entry to a home. 62 percent of all SWAT raids involve a search for drugs. In at least 36 percent of all SWAT raids, “no contraband of any kind” is found by the police. In cases where it is suspected that there is a weapon in the home, police only find a weapon 35 percent of the time. More than 100 American families have their homes raided by SWAT teams every single day. Only 7 percent of all SWAT deployments are for “hostage, barricade or active-shooter scenarios”. Even small towns are getting SWAT teams now. 30 years ago, only 25.6 percent of communities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team. Now, that number has increased to 80 percent. Read the rest

Albuquerque police chief OKs shooting of homeless man who ran from flash grenade

.picture { background-color: #FFFFFF; font: 12px/1.5em Arial; color:#888888; sans-serif; } .picture img { vertical-align:middle; margin-bottom: 3px; } .right { margin: 0.5em 0pt 0.5em 0.8em; float:right; } .left { margin: 0.5em 0.8em 0.5em 0; float:left; } Still image from a video that shows officers assaulting and then killing a mentally ill man who was illegally camping

Travel tip for Albuquerque visitors: When a gang of police officers unleash their attack dog on you and startle you with a flash-bang grenade, stand very still. If you try to back away, Police Chief Gordon Eden has given the officers permission to shoot you on the spot.

The Albuquerque Police Department has been under federal review by the U.S. Department of Justice since 2012 when the agency’s record of shooting 25 suspect – 17 fatal – garnered national attention. The department has added 11 more shootings to that list since the end of 2012. Albuquerque officers have shot more persons than the NYPD, a department serving a city 16-times larger, since 2010.

Albuquerque cops assault and kill camping homeless man Read the rest

Nevada deputy who took $50,000 from a man ordered to return it

In September 2013 Tan Nguyen was pulled over by Nevada Deputy Sgt. Lee Dove for driving 78 MPH in a 75 MPH zone. Deputy Dove asked Nguyen for permission to search the car and Nguyen consented to the search. (Big mistake. He should have done this instead.) Deputy Dove found $50,000 in Nguyen's briefcase and confiscated it. Deputy Dove did not charge Nguyen with any crime. Nguyen asked Deputy Dove not to take his money, which he said was casino winnings. According to Nguyen's lawsuit, Deputy Dove "threatened to seize and tow his car unless he 'got in his car and drove off and forgot this ever happened.'" This photo of Sgt. Dove with the money he took was posted to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department's Facebook page.

This story has a happy ending. Nguyen sued the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and got his $50,000 back, plus $10,000 to pay his lawyer. The Humboldt County District Attorney issued a laughably stupid statement that tried to deflect the blame from the sheriff's department over to the liberal media elite, which had "unfairly criticized the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office as the Sheriff's Office was acting in accordance with the law as they understood it and was not responsible for any procedural defects following the seizure of assets."

A Driver Had $50,000 Seized By A Nevada Cop, But Wasn't Charged With A Crime. Now He's Getting His Money Back Read the rest

Militarized police kill 80-year-old man in his own bed. No meth found

Zach Weissmueller says:

A few years ago, I shared with you a video about the pattern of police raids on private property happening in California's Antelope Valley.

Well, a rather tragic and infuriating story brought me back to the desert. It's the story of Eugene Mallory, an 80-year-old retired engineer, whose home was raided by the LA County Sheriff's Dept. (which has been at the center of a number of scandals in recent years), in search of meth. No meth was found, but Eugene Mallory was shot dead in his own bedroom.

This video takes you inside Mallory's home, to the scene of the incident, and scrutinizes the Sheriff Department's official account. How was a warrant obtained, but not a single shred of evidence pointing to meth production found on the property? Why did deputies first claim Mallory was charging at them and then change their story? Why did one officer only yell "drop the gun" after he had already shot Mallory six times?

Police Shoot, Kill 80-Year-Old Man In His Own Bed, Don't Find the Drugs They Were Looking For Read the rest

Ukraine slides into full-blown dictatorship with brutal new law

(click for full)

Despite the valiant efforts of the motley opposition in Ukraine, the tame Ukrainian Parliament has passed a brutal law that slides the country into full-on dictatorship. Forbidden under the new law on penalty of high fines and imprisonment: driving cars in columns that are more than five vehicles long; setting up an unauthorized sound system; distribution of "extremist opinion"; "mass disruptions" (10-15 years imprisonment!); collecting information on police or judges; and more.

The new law also demolishes the trappings of democracy: you can be convicted in absentia based on unsubstantiated hearsay; MPs can be arrested during plenary sessions; the state can order arbitrary Internet censorship; and legal service of documents now consists of signatures or "any other data." Read the rest

Federal Court: No suspicion needed for laptop searches at border

A US Federal Court sided with the "DHS Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact Assessment of its electronics search policy, concluding that suspicionless searches do not violate the First or Fourth Amendments. The report said that a reasonable suspicion standard is inadvisable because it could lead to litigation and the forced divulgence of national security information, and would prevent border officers from acting on inchoate 'hunches,' a method that it says has sometimes proved fruitful," said the ACLU in a statement following the decision.

In other words, hunches, top secret secrets, and the fear of getting sued trump the Bill of Rights. I feel safer!

ACLU: Court Rules No Suspicion Needed for Laptop Searches at Border (Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

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