The idea of weaponized drones might sound like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie, but you might end up seeing it in the real world before you know it. Following the passage of a new bill in North Dakota, police in that state now have the green light to launch and use drones armed with a variety of non-lethal weapons, including rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and tasers.
There are good police officers, and there are bad ones — it’s like anything else. Good cops devote their lives to protecting law-abiding citizens, and they work within the confines of the law. Bad cops cut corners, abuse their power and operate with reckless abandon. Unfortunately for a 22-year-old Philadelphia man identified as Tyree Carroll, he encountered about a dozen officers who fall into the latter group earlier this year. More →
A new spy tool that’s being referred to as StingRay or KingFish is a sophisticated cell phone spying and tracking tool that’s so secret that it requires law enforcement agencies to sign non-disclosure agreements before buying one. Equally disturbing is its price: The New York Times reports that one device costs $502,000, followed by $42,000 in yearly charges. All this money and police aren’t even allowed to explain to taxpayers why they need to spend so much on technology that can potentially infringe upon their privacy even when used for legitimate purposes. More →
It might not come as much of a surprise, but another police officer has been convicted of wrongdoing.
Ars Technica reports that Sean Harrington, a former California Highway Patrolman (who has since resigned from the force), pleaded no contest after being charged with criminal felony charges for stealing and distributing naked photos from two arrested citizens’ phones. He will not serve any jail time. More →
There has been plenty of negative press surrounding law enforcement in the United States over the last year, but it doesn’t look like 2015 is going to be any less controversial.
USA Today reports that at least 50 law enforcement agencies have secretly purchased advanced radars for their officers which could potentially allow them to see through the walls of our homes without first obtaining a search warrant. More →
Following a number of widely publicised police incidents that were followed by public uproar, there is currently a hot debate surrounding the use of body cams by law enforcement. The general stance of people arguing for the use of body-mounted cameras by police officers is that if cops aren’t doing anything wrong, they shouldn’t have to worry about their actions being recorded.
Now, video footage recorded by body cameras is directly responsible for charges being filed against two Albuquerque, New Mexico police officers in the killing of a mentally ill homeless man. More →
Now that police in New York City have started wearing body cameras, Funny or Die has decided to have some fun at New York’s finest’s expense by making a satirical video of “leaked footage” from one officer’s first day on the job wearing a camera. More →
Swedish authorities have reportedly secured warrants and are planning to raid The Pirate Bay. Unnamed Pirate Bay team members speaking with TorrentFreak claim to have learned that the raid is currently being planned by Swedish police, and they expect the operation to target Pirate Bay servers and the site’s new .se domain. Law enforcement officials in Sweden first raided The Pirate Bay in 2006, and the company’s founders were eventually sentenced to jail and forced to pay millions in fines. The service remained online, however, and it is still operational today. “The Swedish district attorney Fredrik Ingblad initiated a new investigation into The Pirate Bay back in 2010. Information has been leaked to us every now and then by multiple sources, almost on a regular basis. It’s an interesting read,” The Pirate Bay said on its blog. “We can certainly understand why WikiLeaks wished to be hosted in Sweden, since so much data leaks there. The reason that we get the leaks is usually that the whistleblowers do not agree with what is going on. Something that the governments should have in mind – even your own people do not agree.” More →
Legislation signed by President Obama directs the Federal Aviation Administration to allow remotely controlled drones to be used by law enforcement agencies, DGR News Service reported. Within 90 days, police and first responders will have the authority to fly unmanned drones weighing less than 4.4 pounds at altitudes under 400 feet, with drones of all sizes to be permitted by the FAA by September 30, 2015. Previously, the use of drones was restricted in civilian airspace due to safety concerns surrounding the obstruction of larger aircraft. Successful lobbying of drone makers, however, was able to overturn the ruling. More →
Police in Abu Dhabi and Dubai said the number of reported traffic accidents plunged during Research In Motion’s recent three-day BlackBerry outage. According to The National, accidents fell 20% in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim from the Dubai Police department said his force saw the largest decrease among young drivers and men. “The accidents that occur from the use of these devices range between minor and moderate ones, but at times they are deadly,” Tamim explained. “Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we’re really glad about that,” Brigadier General Al Harethi, from Abu Dhabi’s police department said. “People are slowly starting to realize the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working.” According to The National, there is typically a fatal accident in Abu Dhabi every two days and an accident every three minutes in Dubai. More →
This whole lost iPhone 5 prototype story just got whole lot more interesting. According to SF Weekly, six investigators claiming to be members of the San Francisco police department descended upon one Bernal Heights, San Francisco man’s home in search of a lost iPhone 5 prototype that CNET originally reported had been left in a bar. The scary part? The SFPD confirmed the investigators weren’t police officers at all. Instead, it appears as though they may have actually been members of Apple’s security team allegedly impersonating police officers. Read on for more.
UPDATE: The San Francisco Police Department has now confirmed to SFWeekly that it did in fact assist Apple security with the search. An update can be found here. More →
In response to the arrests of LulzSec member Topiary and Anonymous PayPal hackers, members of the AntiSec initiative have infiltrated 50 police departments across the United States and stolen 10GB of data. According to a release put out by the group, which includes members from Anonymous and LulzSec, the data includes “private police emails, training files, snitch info and personal info on retaliation for Anonymous arrests.” It also includes social security numbers, address information, passwords, credit card numbers, training files and more. “We hope that not only will dropping this info demonstrate the inherently corrupt nature of law enforcement using their own words, as well as result in possibly humiliation, firings, and possible charges against several officers, but that it will also disrupt and sabotage their ability to communicate and terrorize communities,” a recent press release said. The data was stored on a single server and the hackers said it took less than 24 hours to infiltrate and copy the information. In a release posted on PostBin, the AntiSec movement called on other hackers to join in and “make 2011 the year of leaks and revolutions.” The group also told the government to give up and said “you are losing the cyberwar, and the attacks against the governments, militaries, and corporations of the world will continue to escalate.” More →