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Tag: database

Columnist Argues Congress Should Get Rid of Beleaguered DEA

Bill Piper
The Seattle Times

Note: Piper is the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Already plagued by scandals, the agency has recently been revealed to be collaborating with the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on unsuspecting Americans. More than 120 groups from across the political spectrum and around the globe have called on Congress to hold hearings on the DEA.

There is no doubt the agency should be reformed. It is also worth asking if it should continue to exist.

According to a Reuters investigation, the DEA has been gathering information from other agencies, as well as foreign governments, for years. The DEA has also been collecting its own arsenal of data; constructing a massive database with about 1 billion records.

This information is shared in secret. By hiding the origins of its data from defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges, the agency and its partners effectively are undermining the right of the people it targets to a fair trial.

To read more click here.

NSA’s Surveillance of Domestic Calls Was Permitted by Secret Court in Mid-2000s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A secret court played a major role in the NSA’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decided in the mid-2000s to broaden the definition of “relevant,” which allowed the collection of millions of people’s phone records.

The information includes the phone numbers and locations of all domestic calls, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some attorneys are unsettled by the decision.

“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. If a federal attorney “served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court.”

FBI Is Scanning Driver’s License Images to Make Potential Matches

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is scouring state databases of driver’s license photos to search for face matches of criminals, WND reports.

“A probe photo refers to the photo of the subject of an active FBI investigation that is submitted for search against a photo repository,” states the FBI’s agreement with Illinois, which is nearly identical to agreements with other states.

“The anticipated result of that search will be a photo gallery of potential matches. These potential matches (candidates) will be forwarded to the FBI, along with any associated information stored with the photo.”

The database allows the FBI to use facial recognition systems.

Sen. Graham Blames Information Sharing on Failure to Detect Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects

Steve Neavling
ticklthewire.com 

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham sharply criticized law enforcement’s information-sharing system during the probe into the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, Business Insider reports.

Graham said the system should have picked up on the suspicious activity of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Graham also urged federal agencies to “up our game.”

“When one of these guys goes into the system and they leave the country, we need to make sure where they’re going and interview them,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“And when somebody in the database like this begins to openly interact with radical Islamist websites, an FBI agent should knock on his door and say, ‘You told us before that you wanted to be an Olympic boxer. You love this country. What the hell is going on here? We’re watching you.'”

ATF Seeks Mega Database to Consolidate Personal Information About Suspects

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF is hoping to acquire a mega database that would allow agents to quickly draw connections between suspects’ names, phone numbers, social security numbers and utility bills, the Huffington Post reports.

As it is, agents must analyze data largely by hand because the information is stored in separate locations, consuming time that could be spent investigating the suspects.

ATF is seeking proposals for “a massive online data repository system,” Huffington Post reported.

The idea is to drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to track down data on suspects.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Begins to Install $1 Billion Face Recognition System

Courtesy of RecognitionSource.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is preparing its newest weapon against crime – a $1 billion national facial recognition system.

The Next Generation Identification program, which is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2014, matches surveillance images of known criminals, reports CNET.

The system is designed to compare a photo to the FBI’s database of mugshots to identify suspects.

It’s unclear how accurate the program is, but some civil liberties groups worry the program could add innocent people to the database of mugshots, according to CNET.

FBI Seeks Information on Collecting Tattoo Information

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI wants to begin using tattoo identification to track down criminals and learn more about them, MSNBC reports.

The plan is to add the data to the bureau’s Biometric Center of Excellence, which creates information such as fingerprints, irises and DNA.

The idea is to help identify perpetrators through body art and to understand more about tattoo affiliations, according to MSNBC.

Some tattoos, for example, show whether some people are members of a gang.