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Tag: cell phone

FBI Launches New Cell Phone App to Help Identify Fugitives, Missing People

FBI cell phone app, via FBI.

FBI cell phone app, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has launched a new cell phone app, called FBI Wanted, that allows the public to view and search for fugitives, missing people and crime suspects, Homeland Preparedness News reports.

“Since the earliest days of the Bureau, when wanted flyers were tacked to post office walls, the public has played a vital role in helping the FBI and its partners locate criminals on the run and solving cases of all kinds,” Christopher Allen, FBI’s head of Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit, said. “This app is designed to put another digital tool in the hands of concerned citizens so they can help protect their families and communities.”

The public also may use the app to report suspicious activity.

“Thousands of cases have been solved over the years thanks to the watchful eyes of concerned citizens, and that has made the country a safer place for all of us,” Allen said. “The FBI Wanted app will help carry on this tradition of partnership. We encourage everyone to download it and report any pertinent tips to the FBI.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Seeks Audio, Video App for Agents, Informants to Use for Evidence

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is hoping to find a cell phone app that allows undercover agents and informants to secretly record audio and video that would be streamed back to government servers.

FedScoop.com reports the app will be used for “covert, evidentiary audio collection from smartphones” and will be streamed in courtroom-ready format.

“The basic capability will be audio, but GPS location information is also desired and eventually video capability,” reads a request for information’s draft technical requirements from the FBI.

The app would work on phones that run Android, iOS or Windows systems.

The FBI hopes to make the purchase by the end of next year.

Federal Agents Confiscate Cell Phones of Wall Street Journal Reporter

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

Maria Abi-Habib pictured on the left, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents detained a Wall Street Journal reporter and confiscated her two cell phones at a Los Angeles airport.

Maria Abi-Habib, who covers the Middle East, wrote in detail about the incident on Facebook.

“My rights as a journalist or US citizen do not apply at the border, as explained above, since legislation was quietly passed in 2013 giving DHS very broad powers (I researched this since the incident),” the reporter wrote on Facebook. “This legislation also circumvents the Fourth Amendment that protects Americans’ privacy and prevents searches and seizures without a proper warrant.”

She said the agents wanted her cell phone to “collect information.”

“That is where I drew the line,” Abi-Habib wrote. “I told her I had First Amendment rights as a journalist she couldn’t violate and I was protected under.”

A federal agent provided a document that shows the government has a right to confiscate phones within 100 miles of U.S. borders.

Other Stories of Interest

Judge: DEA May Not Track Cell Phones without a Warrant

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge delivered a major blow to the DEA’s use of Stingrays, which enable law enforcement to collect evidence by using fake phone masts.

U.S, District Court Judge William Pauley III said the use of Stingrays would violate the Fourth Amendment unless a warrant is granted, the Register reports. 

The decision comes after a Maryland judge made the same ruling in 2015.

“Absent a search warrant, the Government may not turn a citizen’s cell phone into a tracking device,” the judge said.

Stingrays enable authorities to listen to conversations and access information on phones.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Rev. Sharpton: FBI Director Was Wrong to Suggest Public Stop Recording Police

camera policeBy Rev. Al Sharpton
for Huffington Post

Last week a federal grand jury indicted officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott in South Carolina, on several charges including violating civil rights laws. During that same week, FBI director James Comey came out with more shocking statements claiming videos are somehow stifling police officers from doing their job and may lead to homicide rates and crime increasing. If Walter Scott’s tragic death were not caught on videotape, officer Slager likely would have never been charged and his family may have never known the truth. Reducing crime and keeping communities safe is what we all want, but if we are to ever separate good cops from the bad ones and reform policing in this country, we must push for more videotaped evidence and transparency (as a start), and not blame videos. New technology should be embraced instead of scapegoated.

While homicide rates have increased in certain places, in cities like New York and many others, they have gone down. There is no conclusive evidence as to what is either causing or decreasing these rates, and definitely no evidence of a so-called ‘Ferguson effect’. For the director of the FBI to even insinuate that such a thing exists is irresponsible, dangerous and unacceptable. Secondly, videotaping police misconduct is adding to the enforcement of law, not taking away from it because police misconduct is in fact a crime. How can anyone say that citizens should not videotape crime and it be used against alleged criminals? When security and surveillance cameras are everywhere in order to catch the bad guys, we should utilize cell phone videos to do the same – even if those bad guys happen to be wearing a police uniform.

To read more click here. 

Guardian: Congress Finally Did Its Job Over Battle Between FBI, Apple

US CapitolTrevor Trimm
Guardian

Members of Congress did something almost unheard of at Tuesday’s hearing on the brewing battle over encryption between Apple and the FBI: their job. Both Democrats and Republicans grilled FBI director Jim Comey about his agency’s unprecedented demand that Apple weaken the iPhone’s security protections to facilitate surveillance. This would have dire implications for smartphone users around the globe.

Normally, congressional committee hearings featuring Comey are contests among the members over who can shower the FBI director with the most fawning compliments in their five-minute allotted time frame. Hard questions about the agency’s controversial tactics are avoided at all costs. But on Tuesday, in rare bipartisan fashion, virtually every member of the House judiciary committee asked Comey pointed questions and politely ripped apart his arguments against Apple.

One judiciary member questioned how the FBI managed to mess up so badlyduring the San Bernardino investigation and reset the shooter’s password, which is what kicked this whole controversy and court case in motion in the first place. And if the case was such an emergency, why did they wait 50 days to go to court? Another member questioned what happens when China inevitably asks for the same extraordinary powers the FBI is demanding now. Others questioned whether the FBI had really used all the resources available to break into the phone without Apple’s help. For example, why hasn’t the FBI attempted to get the NSA’s help to get into the phone, since hacking is their job?

Comey readily admitted that the San Bernardino case could set a precedent for countless others after it, and that it won’t just be limited to one phone, as the FBItried to suggest in the days after the filing became public. Comey said the FBI has so many encrypted phones in its possession that he doesn’t know the number (that’s not including the hundreds of local police forces that are itching to force Apple to create software to decrypt those as well). Comey also admitted under questioning that terrorists would just move to another encrypted device if Apple was forced to do what the government is asking, and that there are companies all over the world offering similar products.

More than anything, though, the members of Congress expressed anger that theFBI director didn’t follow through earlier on his stated intention to engage in a debate in Congress and the public about the proper role for encryption in society. Instead, he decided to circumvent that debate altogether and quietly go to court to get a judge to do what the legislative branch has so far refused to do.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

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Read CIA’s 1953 Report, ‘A Study of Assassination’

Why Airport Security Lines Have Grown Longer

Mysteries Remain in San Bernardino Terrorist Attack Because of Encrypted Phone

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

The San Bernardino couple who opened fire at a holiday party.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI still has many questions about the terrorist couple that opened fire and killed 14 people during a holiday party in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.

Did they get help from other terrorists? Were they planning to detonate a bomb at the Inland Regional Center where they opened fire? Were they planning other attacks?

Those questions, FBI investigators hoped, would be on a cell phone that belonged to the couple Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

But the FBI still can’t unlock encrypted data on the cellphone, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

“We still have one of those killers’ phones that we haven’t been able to open,” FBI Director James B. Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It has been two months now and we are still working on it.”

Encrypted cell phones have been a challenge for federal law enforcement who are trying to track suspected terrorists in real time, the FBI has said.

FBI Struggles to Crack Encryption of Cell Phones Used by San Bernardino Terrorists

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is struggling to crack the encryption of cellphone codes used by the husband-and-wife terrorist team that opened fire at a San Bernardino holiday party, killing 14 people.

The Press Enterprise said investigators also are having trouble locating the couple’s missing computer hard drive.

The highly encrypted phones used by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, have been too difficult to crack, said David Bowdich, FBI assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles office.

“As to those devices, obviously we’ve said from day one, the digital footprint is incredibly important for us to hopefully learn any contacts, any context, and ultimately any intent on their part,” Bowdich said. “I think that’s very, very important.”