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All About Guns Cops You have to be kidding, right!?!

Couple finds fully-automatic M16s in storage cases bought online ONLY ON ABC13: The ATF’s search unfolded Monday afternoon in a Richmond-area storage facility. By Miya Shay


The building is located across from Piney Point Elementary, but it is unclear if the school has had to evacuate.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Federal authorities are trying to figure out how at least a dozen fully-automatic M16s ended up among military surplus equipment sold to a Houston couple.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) executed a search warrant in a Richmond-area storage facility on Monday afternoon. However, that only came after the couple voluntarily notified authorities of their highly-unusual find.

Last week, the couple, who run a side hustle of buying surplus lots, dividing up the products, and reselling them on eBay, received delivery of 108 storage cases sold by a government surplus website. Over the weekend, a friend helped the couple stack and store the cases. As a thank you, they gave one of the cases to the friend.

When that friend opened the case, he realized it was not empty. Inside were 12 fully-automatic M-16s, all of them still with various tags designating the military branch and name of service members who handled the weapons.

“We just purchased these cases. We never expected anything in there,” said the husband, who did not want to be identified. “Supposedly, the sender should check every single box to make sure there’s nothing dangerous or anything.”

“It’s just a case, everybody can buy it online,” the wife said.

Unsure of what to do, the couple reported the M-16s to authorities. Within hours, ATF and FBI agents seized the one open box with the 12 weapons. Shortly thereafter, the ATF obtained a search warrant for the couple’s storage unit. They spent most of Monday on location, going through the boxes.

ABC13 was the only news outlet on scene. We observed agents opening, closing, and stacking multiple gun cases.

“It’s incredible. It’s surreal,” said Greg Fremin, a one-time Houston police captain and Marine.

ABC13 reached out to Fremin, who is now a faculty member at Sam Houston State University, about how dangerous it is to have random military equipment floating around.

“It’s unbelievable to think military-grade weapons would be shipped in containers across state lines. It’s pretty shocking,” Fremin said. “One of the strictest things we have in the military is weapons accountability. So these weapons are missing somewhere from a U.S. armory, and somebody doesn’t know it. That’s the scary thing about that for the U.S. military right now.”

He continued, “For these boxes to have M16s in them and be shipped to a public destination, not only is it shocking it’s a federal crime.”

Exactly who’s legally responsible for the gross mistake is uncertain. ABC13 contacted the online website that sold the gun cases. The company has since pulled all the other cases that were also for sale offline as it conducts an internal investigation. A representative from the company told ABC13 that it directly contracts with the Department of Defense to sell surplus equipment, which would not include any weapons.

The ATF confirms it’s investigating along with the FBI but will not say how many weapons were recovered. ABC13 can confirm the number is at least a dozen, but unknown how many other boxes also contained M16s.

“We are good citizens” the wife said, adding she’s now reluctant to buy military surplus equipment and fearful to run afoul of the law.

Categories
Cops You have to be kidding, right!?!

Stuff like this really worries me!

Scrolldrop libertarianmeme

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Art Cops Well I thought it was funny!

Dirty Harry got a new toy!

Categories
All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" California Cops You have to be kidding, right!?!

Los Angeles County Creating ‘Buffer Zones,’ Demanding Gun Shops Keep Fingerprint Logs by S.H. BLANNELBERRY

 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is moving forward this week with plans to enact various gun control measures that will chill the 2A rights of law-abiding gun owners and place an undue burden on responsible gun dealers.

Among the ordinances included in the motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn are:

  • A ban on the sale of .50 caliber handguns and .50 caliber ammunition
  • The creation of “buffer zones” between gun stores and “sensitive areas” (schools, daycares, parks, etc.)
  • To make all Los Angeles County property a gun-free zone
  • Require gun stores to keep a fingerprint log, submit sales reports and inventory reports in real-time to the county board, install security cameras, limit minors’ access and provide gun owners with information about the local laws.
  • Deny sales to individuals on the federal government’s no-fly list

“When I was in Congress, we responded to horrific mass shootings with little more than moments of silence and thoughts and prayers,” said Supervisor Hahn in a press release.

“I will not sit idly by when there is action that we can take to save lives,” she continued. “These gun violence prevention measures are commonsense and are under our authority at the County level to implement.”

Attorneys will be drafting up the details for each ordinance over the next three months.  Once finished, the completed drafts will come before the board for a final vote.

Hahn told Fox11LA that these “common sense gun regulations” are “just one piece of the puzzle.”

“If we move forward with implementing these “four common-sense gun regulations”, I hope others in our county will follow suit,” Hahn said.

Categories
All About Guns Cops

Thieves Plow Car Into Gun Stores, Steal 100 Guns in Two Days by S.H. BLANNELBERRY

 

Authorities in Detroit, Michigan are currently searching for a band of thieves that stole almost 100 guns in two days.

Surveillance footage shows the suspects entering the stores by plowing a vehicle right through the front entrance.

Once inside, the masked bandits smash and grab as many guns as they possibly can.  They’re out within minutes.

Police believe there are at least 8 perps involved in the heists that targeted gun shops in Westland and Dearborn Heights, over the weekend.

Spencer Wong, who owns the gun shop in Westland, spoke to ABC 7 Detroit about the robbery.

“We even have a barricade back here because we didn’t think anyone would be willing to drive through the front,” he said, about the security measures he already had in place at his store, Armed in Michigan.

Wong said they made off handguns and long guns worth thousands of dollars.

“They’ve sure been here because they got the good stuff. They got the expensive stuff,” he said.

The thieves also hit CC Coins, Jewelry and Loan in Dearborn Heights using the same tactics.

Altogether they snatched about 100 guns, approximately 50 from each shop.

SEE ALSO: Everytown Celebrates New Banking Codes to Track Gun Purchases, Monitor Gun Owners   

“They don’t care. They’ll just come. It’s kind of savage. They’ll do whatever they want. They don’t care,” Wong said.

Wong’s right.  They don’t care.  They will do whatever they want.  Yet, some politicians are convinced that if we just pass more draconian gun control that it will somehow stop these savages.

Maybe it’s worth asking specifically: Would universal background checks have stopped these thieves?  What about waiting periods or expanded red flag laws or new banking codes to track gun purchases?  Would they have made a difference?

No chance.  Someone willing to drive an automobile through a storefront doesn’t give a rip about what gun laws are on the books.  This is a point that is clear as day to everyone — well, everyone except those who want to destroy the 2A.

ATF is now offering a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those involved.  Call 888-ATF-TIPS if you know something.

Categories
All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Cops

Clearly… ATF Needs to Go as 4 Million+ Face Gun Registration by Lee Williams

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Flag iStock-mirza kadic 1371231628
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Flag iStock-mirza kadic

Washington, DC –-(AmmoLand.com)- According to an exclusive story published by AmmoLand News, the ATF is about to force millions of gun owners to register their pistol braces as short-barreled rifles, which will then be regulated by the National Firearms Act.

To be clear, this is exactly the type of jack-booted thuggery we’ve come to expect from a morally bankrupt federal agency, which has outlived its usefulness.

According to the AmmoLand News story, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) calls their monumentally stupid idea an “amnesty” because they won’t charge the normal $200 fee for an NFA tax stamp.

Wow. How magnanimous.

Of course, the Bureau’s new rule negates and invalidates all of their previous opinion letters, which told us it was perfectly fine and absolutely legal to install a pistol brace on our guns.

In other words, they told us we wouldn’t have to worry about politically motivated enforcement actions like this if we bought a brace, and an estimated 4 million plus people did.

Then, after Joe Biden declared war on guns, the ATF changed its mind and bent over. Now 4 million law-abiding folks are about to pay a steep price and face having their names entered into a national gun registration database.

ATF Funding Request for Pistol Brace Amnesty Screengrab
ATF Funding Request for Pistol Brace Amnesty

What does this have to do with reducing the skyrocketing violent crime rates plaguing Democrat-run cities across the country? Absolutely nothing. This is just another way for the Biden-Harris administration to screw over legal gun owners.

In fact, this won’t impact criminals at all – it won’t even slow them down. Do you think Joe or Kamala actually believe criminals will register their braced pistols? Of course, they don’t.

Once Biden shuffles off into history, I hope his replacement takes a hard look at the utility of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) because I certainly don’t see any. They have yet to focus on getting guns out of the hands of criminals because they’re solely focused on persecuting the law-abiding.

This plan could turn millions of gun owners into felons overnight. There’s a word for a law or rule that instantly criminalizes the law-abiding – tyranny – and tyranny is what we’ve come to expect from the ATF.


About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Categories
Cops Fieldcraft

Tech tool offers police ‘mass surveillance on a budget’ By GARANCE BURKE and JASON DEAREN

Local law enforcement agencies from suburban Southern California to rural North Carolina have been using an obscure cellphone tracking tool, at times without search warrants, that gives them the power to follow people’s movements months back in time, according to public records and internal emails obtained by The Associated Press.

Police have used “Fog Reveal” to search hundreds of billions of records from 250 million mobile devices, and harnessed the data to create location analyses known among law enforcement as “patterns of life,” according to thousands of pages of records about the company.

Sold by Virginia-based Fog Data Science LLC, Fog Reveal has been used since at least 2018 in criminal investigations ranging from the murder of a nurse in Arkansas to tracing the movements of a potential participant in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The tool is rarely, if ever, mentioned in court records, something that defense attorneys say makes it harder for them to properly defend their clients in cases in which the technology was used.

A cruiser sits in a parking lot outside police headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
Former police data analyst Davin Hall uses the Waze navigation app while driving through Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed).

The company was developed by two former high-ranking Department of Homeland Security officials under former President George W. Bush. It relies on advertising identification numbers, which Fog officials say are culled from popular cellphone apps such as Waze, Starbucks and hundreds of others that target ads based on a person’s movements and interests, according to police emails. That information is then sold to companies like Fog.

“It’s sort of a mass surveillance program on a budget,” said Bennett Cyphers, a special adviser at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights advocacy group.

_____

This story, supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is part of an ongoing Associated Press series, “Tracked,” that investigates the power and consequences of decisions driven by algorithms on people’s everyday lives.

____

The documents and emails were obtained by EFF through Freedom of Information Act requests. The group shared the files with The AP, which independently found that Fog sold its software in about 40 contracts to nearly two dozen agencies, according to GovSpend, a company that keeps tabs on government spending. The records and AP’s reporting provide the first public account of the extensive use of Fog Reveal by local police, according to analysts and legal experts who scrutinize such technologies.

Federal oversight of companies like Fog is an evolving legal landscape. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission sued a data broker called Kochava that, like Fog, provides its clients with advertising IDs that authorities say can easily be used to find where a mobile device user lives, which violates rules the commission enforces. And there are bills before Congress now that, if passed, would regulate the industry.

“Local law enforcement is at the front lines of trafficking and missing persons cases, yet these departments are often behind in technology adoption,” Matthew Broderick, a Fog managing partner, said in an email. “We fill a gap for underfunded and understaffed departments.”

Because of the secrecy surrounding Fog, however, there are scant details about its use and most law enforcement agencies won’t discuss it, raising concerns among privacy advocates that it violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin

AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin

What distinguishes Fog Reveal from other cellphone location technologies used by police is that it follows the devices through their advertising IDs, unique numbers assigned to each device. These numbers do not contain the name of the phone’s user, but can be traced to homes and workplaces to help police establish pattern-of-life analyses.

“The capability that it had for bringing up just anybody in an area whether they were in public or at home seemed to me to be a very clear violation of the Fourth Amendment,” said Davin Hall, a former crime data analysis supervisor for the Greensboro, North Carolina, Police Department. “I just feel angry and betrayed and lied to.”

Hall resigned in late 2020 after months of voicing concerns about the department’s use of Fog to police attorneys and the city council.

Former police data analyst Davin Hall quit the Greensboro, N.C., police force in part over its use of Fog Reveal, a powerful cellphone-tracking tool. “The capability that it had for bringing up just anybody in an area whether they were in public or at home seemed to me to be a very clear violation of the Fourth Amendment,” Hall said. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Former police data analyst Davin Hall quit the Greensboro, N.C., police force in part over its use of Fog Reveal, a powerful cellphone-tracking tool. “The capability that it had for bringing up just anybody in an area whether they were in public or at home seemed to me to be a very clear violation of the Fourth Amendment,” Hall said. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

While Greensboro officials acknowledged Fog’s use and initially defended it, the police department said it allowed its subscription to expire earlier this year because it didn’t “independently benefit investigations.”

But federal, state and local police agencies around the U.S. continue to use Fog with very little public accountability. Local police agencies have been enticed by Fog’s affordable price: It can start as low as $7,500 a year. And some departments that license it have shared access with other nearby law enforcement agencies, the emails show.

Police departments also like how quickly they can access detailed location information from Fog. Geofence warrants, which tap into GPS and other sources to track a device, are accessed by obtaining such data from companies, like Google or Apple. This requires police to obtain a warrant and ask the tech companies for the specific data they want, which can take days or weeks.

Using Fog’s data, which the company claims is anonymized, police can geofence an area or search by a specific device’s ad ID numbers, according to a user agreement obtained by AP. But, Fog maintains that “we have no way of linking signals back to a specific device or owner,” according to a sales representative who emailed the California Highway Patrol in 2018, after a lieutenant asked whether the tool could be legally used.

Despite such privacy assurances, the records show that law enforcement can use Fog’s data as a clue to find identifying information. “There is no (personal information) linked to the (ad ID),” wrote a Missouri official about Fog in 2019. “But if we are good at what we do, we should be able to figure out the owner.”

Fog’s Broderick said in an email that the company does not have access to people’s personal information, and draws from “commercially available data without restrictions to use,” from data brokers “that legitimately purchase data from apps in accordance with their legal agreements.” The company refused to share information about how many police agencies it works with.

“We are confident Law Enforcement has the responsible leadership, constraints, and political guidance at the municipal, state, and federal level to ensure that any law enforcement tool and method is appropriately used in accordance with the laws in their respective jurisdictions,” Broderick said in the email.

“Search warrants are not required for the use of the public data,” he added Thursday, saying that the data his product offers law enforcement is “lead data” and should not be used to establish probable cause.

___

Kevin Metcalf, a prosecutor in Washington County, Arkansas, said he has used Fog Reveal without a warrant, especially in “exigent circumstances.” In these cases, the law provides a warrant exemption when a crime-in-process endangers people or an officer.

Metcalf also leads the National Child Protection Task Force, a nonprofit that combats child exploitation and trafficking. Fog is listed on its website as a task force sponsor and a company executive chairs the nonprofit’s board. Metcalf said Fog has been invaluable to cracking missing children cases and homicides.

“We push the limits, but we do them in a way that we target the bad guys,” he said. “Time is of the essence in those situations. We can’t wait on the traditional search warrant route.”

Fog was used successfully in the murder case of 25-year-old nurse Sydney Sutherland, who had last been seen jogging near Newport, Arkansas, before she disappeared, Metcalf said.

Police had little evidence to go on when they found her phone in a ditch, so Metcalf said he shared his agency’s access to Fog with the U.S. Marshals Service to figure out which other devices had been nearby at the time she was killed. He said Fog helped lead authorities to arrest a farmer in Sutherland’s rape and murder in August 2020, but its use was not documented in court records reviewed by AP.

Cyphers, who led EFF’s public records work, said there hasn’t been any previous record of companies selling this kind of granular data directly to local law enforcement.

“We’re seeing counties with less than 100,000 people where the sheriff is using this extremely high tech, extremely invasive, secretive surveillance tool to chase down local crime,” Cyphers said.

A crime scene unit van sits outside the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department in Wentworth, N.C., on Saturday, July 23, 2022. The rural county of just 91,000 residents subscribes to the powerful Fog Reveal service, which gives police the power to track cellphones, sometimes without a warrant. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

A crime scene unit van sits outside the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department in Wentworth, N.C., on Saturday, July 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

One such customer is the sheriff’s office in rural Rockingham County, North Carolina, population 91,000 and just north of Greensboro, where Hall still lives. The county bought a one-year license for $9,000 last year and recently renewed it.

“Rockingham County is tiny in terms of population. It never ceases to amaze me how small agencies will scoop up tools that they just absolutely don’t need, and nobody needs this one,” Hall said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Kevin Suthard confirmed the department recently renewed its license but declined to offer specifics about the use of Fog Reveal or how the office protects individuals’ rights.

“Because it would then be less effective as criminals could be cognizant that we have the device and adjust their commission of the crimes accordingly. Make sense?” Suthard said.

Fog has aggressively marketed its tool to police, even beta testing it with law enforcement, records show. The Dallas Police Department bought a Fog license in February after getting a free trial and “seeing a demonstration and hearing of success stories from the company,” Senior Cpl. Melinda Gutierrez, a department spokeswoman, said in an email.

Fog’s tool is accessed through a web portal. Investigators can enter a crime scene’s coordinates into the database, which brings back search results showing a device’s Fog ID, which is based on its unique ad ID number.

Police can see which device IDs were found near the location of the crime. Detectives or other officers can also search the location for IDs going forward from the time of the crime and back at least 180 days, according to the company’s user license agreement.

The emails and Fog’s Broderick contend the tool can actually search back years, however. Emails from a Fog representative to Florida and California law enforcement agencies said the tool’s data stretched back as far as June 2017. On Thursday Broderick, who had previously refused to address the question, said it “only has a three year reach back.”

While the data does not directly identify who owns a device, the company often gives law enforcement information it needs to connect it to addresses and other clues that help detectives figure out people’s identities, according to company representatives’ emails.

It is unclear how Fog makes these connections, but a company it refers to as its “data partner” called Venntel, Inc. has access to an even greater trove of users’ mobile data.

A lamp shines outside police headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. The city recently let lapse its contract for Fog Reveal, a powerful cellphone-tracking tool that some advocates fear violates people's privacy rights. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

A lamp shines outside police headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. The city recently let lapse its contract for Fog Reveal, a powerful cellphone-tracking tool that some advocates fear violates people’s privacy rights. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Venntel is a large broker that has supplied location data to agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI. The Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog is auditing how the offices under its control have used commercial data. That comes after some Democratic lawmakers asked it to investigate U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s use of Venntel data to track people without a search warrant in 2020. The company also has faced congressional inquiries about privacy concerns tied to federal law enforcement agencies’ use of its data.

Venntel and Fog work closely together to aid police detectives during investigations, emails show. Their marketing brochures are nearly identical, too, and Venntel staff has recommended Fog to law enforcement, according to the emails. Venntel said “the confidential nature of our business relationships” prevented it from responding to AP’s specific questions, and Fog would not comment on the relationship.

While Fog says in its marketing materials that it collects data from thousands of apps, like Starbucks and Waze, companies are not always aware of who is using their data. Venntel and Fog can collect billions of data points filled with detailed information because many apps embed invisible tracking software that follows users’ behavior. This software also lets the apps sell customized ads that are targeted to a person’s current location. In turn, data brokers’ software can hoover up personal data that can be used for other purposes.

Prior to publication, Fog’s Broderick refused to say how the company got data from Starbucks and Waze. But on Thursday, he said he did not know how data aggregators collected the information Fog Reveal draws from, or the specific apps from which the data was drawn.

For their part, Starbucks and Waze denied any relationship to Fog. Starbucks said it had not given permission to its business partners to share customer information with Fog.

“Starbucks has not approved Ad ID data generated by our app to be used in this way by Fog Data Science LLC. In our review to date, we have no relationship with this company,” said Megan Adams, a Starbucks spokesperson.

“We have never had a relationship with Fog Data Science, have not worked with them in any capacity, and have not shared information with them,” a Waze spokesperson said.

___

Fog Data Science LLC is headquartered in a nondescript brick building in Leesburg, Virginia. It also has related entities in New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.

It was founded in 2016 by Robert Liscouski, who led the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division in the George W. Bush adminstration. His colleague, Broderick, is a former U.S. Marine brigadier general who ran DHS’ tech hub, the Homeland Security Operations Center, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A House bipartisan committee report cited Broderick among others for failing to coordinate a swift federal response to the deadly hurricane. Broderick resigned from DHS shortly thereafter.

In marketing materials, Fog also has touted its ability to offer police “predictive analytics,” a buzzword often used to describe high-tech policing tools that purport to predict crime hotspots. Liscouski and another Fog official have worked at companies focused on predictive analytics, machine learning and software platforms supporting artificial intelligence.

“It is capable of delivering both forensic and predictive analytics and near real-time insights on the daily movements of the people identified with those mobile devices,” reads an email announcing a Fog training last year for members of the National Fusion Center Association, which represents a network of intelligence-sharing partnerships created after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Fog’s Broderick said the company had not invested in predictive applications, and provided no details about any uses the tool had for predicting crime.

Despite privacy advocates’ concerns about warrantless surveillance, Fog Reveal has caught on with local and state police forces. It’s been used in a number of high-profile criminal cases, including one that was the subject of the television program “48 Hours.”

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In 2017, a world-renowned exotic snake breeder was found dead, lying in a pool of blood in his reptile breeding facility in rural Missouri. Police initially thought the breeder, Ben Renick, might have died from a poisonous snake bite. But the evidence soon pointed to murder.

During its investigation, emails show the Missouri State Highway Patrol used Fog’s portal to search for cellphones at Renick’s home and breeding facility and zeroed in on a mobile device. Working with Fog, investigators used the data to identify the phone owner’s identity: it was the Renicks’ babysitter.

Police were able to log the babysitter’s whereabouts over time to create a pattern of life analysis.

It turned out to be a dead-end lead. Renick’s wife, Lynlee, later was charged and convicted of the murder.

Prosecutors did not cite Fog in a list of other tools they used in the investigation, according to trial exhibits examined by the AP.

But Missouri officials seemed pleased with Fog’s capabilities, even though it didn’t directly lead to an arrest. “It was interesting to see that the system did pick up a device that was absolutely in the area that day. Too bad it did not belong to a suspect!” a Missouri State Highway Patrol analyst wrote in an email to Fog.

In another high-profile criminal probe, records show the FBI asked state intelligence officials in Iowa for help with Fog as it investigated potential participants in the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Not definitive but still waiting to talk things over with a FOG rep,” wrote Justin Parker, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, in an email to an FBI official in September 2021. It was unclear from the emails if Fog’s data factored into an arrest. Iowa officials did not respond and the FBI declined to comment.

___

Metcalf, the Arkansas prosecutor, has argued against congressional efforts to require search warrants when using technologies like Fog Reveal.

He believes Americans have given up any reasonable expectation of privacy when they use free apps and likens EFF’s objections to tech like Fog to a “cult of privacy.”

“I think people are going to have to make a decision on whether we want all this free technology, we want all this free stuff, we want all the selfies,” he said. “But we can’t have that and at the same time say, ‘I’m a private person, so you can’t look at any of that.’ That just seems crazy.”

Although he is not an official Fog employee, Metcalf said he would step in to lead training sessions including the tool for federal prosecutors, federal agencies and police, including the Chicago Police Department, the emails show.

That kind of hands-on service and word-of-mouth marketing in tight-knit law enforcement circles seems to have helped increase Fog’s popularity.

The Maryland State Police is among the many agencies that have had contracts for Fog Reveal, and records show investigators believed it had a lot of potential.

“Companies have receptors all over. Malls, shopping centers, etc. They’re all around you,” wrote Sgt. John Bedell of the Criminal Enforcement Division, in an email to a colleague. The agency purchased a year of access to Fog in 2018.

“Picture getting a suspect’s phone then in the extraction being able to see everyplace they’d been in the last 18 months plotted on a map you filter by date ranges,” wrote Bedell. “The success lies in the secrecy.”

Elena Russo, a spokesperson for the agency, confirmed it had a Fog license previously but that it had lapsed. “Unfortunately, it was not helpful in solving any crimes,” she wrote in an email.

Still, as more local policing agencies sign up for Fog, some elected officials said they have been left in the dark. Several officials said there wasn’t enough information to grasp what services Fog actually provides.

“Who is this company? What are the track records? What are the privacy protections?” asked Anaheim council member Jose Moreno, remembering his confusion about Fog during a 2020 council meeting. “That night our chief had very little information for us.”

In Anaheim, the Fog license was paid for by a federal “Urban Area Security Initiative,” DHS grants that help localities fund efforts to prevent terrorism. A police spokesman said the department has not used it.

Defense attorneys worry there are few legal restrictions on law enforcement’s use of location data.

It’s a gap police agencies exploit, and often don’t disclose in court, said Michael Price, litigation director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Fourth Amendment Center.

“(Fog) is exceedingly rare to see in the wild because the cops often don’t get warrants,” said Price.

“Even if you do ask for (information) sometimes they say ‘We don’t know what you are talking about.’”

Privacy advocates worry Fog’s location tracking could be put to other novel uses, like keeping tabs on people who seek abortions in states where it is now illegal. These concerns were heightened when a Nebraska woman was charged in August with helping her teenage daughter end a pregnancy after investigators got hold of their Facebook messages.

AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin

AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin

Government’s use of location data is still being weighed by the courts, too. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have been.

Nearly two years after walking off the crime data supervisor job with the Greensboro police force, Hall still worries about police surveillance in neighboring communities.

“Anyone with that login information can do as many searches as they want,” Hall said. “I don’t believe the police have earned the trust to use that, and I don’t believe it should be legal.”

___

AP National Writer Allen G. Breed contributed from Greensboro, North Carolina. Dearen reported from New York and Burke reported from San Francisco.

___

This reporting was produced in collaboration with researchers Janine Graham, Nicole Waddick and Jane Yang as well as the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center Investigations Lab and School of Law.

Categories
Cops

A Fake Cop Pulled Off The Greatest Heist in Japanese History…

Categories
All About Guns Cops

I feel safer already!

Categories
A Victory! All About Guns Cops

Attempted carjacking suspect shot with own gun after victim gains control in Philadelphia driveway

The Philadelphia Police Department is investigating a shooting where an attempted robbery victim gained control over a suspect and shot him.

According to police, the attempted robbery occurred on the 8000 block of Rodney Street in a driveway at 11:24 a.m.

Authorities say a 69-year-old man was unloading groceries from his car when a 24-year-old suspect approached him, saying, “This is a robbery,” and pointed a gun at him.

After a struggle over the weapon ensued, the victim was able to gain control of the gun, which discharged one time, grazing the suspect in the abdomen, according to police.

Neighbors reportedly heard the struggle, and immediately called police.

Police say they do not believe the victim was targeted during the incident, and say the suspect was likely just “cruising” the neighborhood.

“See someone by themselves and take an opportunity,” said Philadelphia Police Capt. John Walker.

Officials say the suspect was transported to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he was placed in stable condition. Police say the victim sustained an injury from a bite on his hand, but he did not seek medical treatment.

Walker commended the victim’s “courage,” however, he says he does not recommend fighting back in every situation.

According to authorities, police recovered the weapon used and the suspect is under arrest. FOX 29’s Kelly Rule reports the suspect will be charged with robbery, carjacking and other crimes.

Walker later confirmed the victim will not be charged.