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Tag: surveillance

Border Patrol to Test New, Smaller Drones at Tucson Sector

Drone via CBP.

Drone via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol hopes to add smaller drones to its surveillance arsenal and will begin testing the unmanned aircraft this month in the Tucson sector, Tucson.com reports

The agency uses bigger drones, but Border Patrol is looking for something that is small enough to easily transport and fly in hard-to-access areas.

Agents will test three series of drones: Puma, Raven and InstantEye Quadcopter.

The drones may also include sensors, infrared cameras and facial-recognition technology. 

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Finds No Evidence That Trump Or His Tower Were Wiretapped

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s claims in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped his phones are not backed by evidence, the Justice Department said in a court filing.

The discovery came in a Freedom of Information case involving the government transparency watchdog, American Oversight, which was seeking information about surveillance of Trump, his New York City tower and his presidential campaign, Bloomberg reports

“Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the Justice Department filing said.

Trump made the bold claim on Twitter, and it appears his source was Breitbart, a conservative media outlet that has become a propaganda tool for the alt-right.

“Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” Trump wrote on Twitter. ”Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The Justice Department wants the FOIA case to be dismissed since the records don’t exist.

Vintage FBI Surveillance Van Packed with Spying Equipment Sells for $18,700

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It certainly was a classic.

The 1980s-era FBI surveillance van included features such as a toilet, extra 12-volt vehicle batteries, TV monitors, video recording equipment, DVD players and hidden microphones on the exterior.

A North Carolina resident sold the 1989 Dodge Ram 350 on eBay for $18,7000.

1980s-era FBI surveillance van is for sale on eBay.

1980s-era FBI surveillance van is for sale on eBay.

Ginger Senfeldas said he bought the 1989 Dodge Ram 350 on a government auction website.

“We found out that there’s microphones as we took the side markers out of the van, and there’s microphones hidden in headlights and taillights. That’s why there’s little holes everywhere,” he said.

Senfeldas said there also were handcuffs, binoculars and leftover video from an old stakeout.

The van, which only had 23,5000 miles on it, received 47 bids before the auction ended at 7 p.m. Monday.

Vintage, 1980s-era FBI Surveillance Van for Sale on eBay

1980s-era FBI surveillance van is for sale on eBay.

1980s-era FBI surveillance van is for sale on eBay.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A North Carolina man is selling a 1980s-era FBI surveillance van on eBay.

Ginger Senfeldas said he bought the 1989 Dodge Ram 350 on a government auction website.

The van has custom features, including a toilet, extra 12-volt vehicle batteries, TV monitors, video recording equipment and hidden microphones on the exterior, CBS News reports

“We found out that there’s microphones as we took the side markers out of the van, and there’s microphones hidden in headlights and taillights. That’s why there’s little holes everywhere,” he said.

Senfeldas said there also were handcuffs, binoculars and leftover video from an old stakeout.

The auction on eBay , which ends Monday, reached more than $16,000 over the weekend.

Seattle Councilwoman Wants FBI, ATF Cameras Removed Because of Trump

Portland Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, via Wikipedia.

Portland Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Seattle councilwoman wants the FBI and ATF to remove cameras on city utility poles because of concerns with the Trump administration.

“I think it is totally unacceptable for the city of Seattle to be complicit in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies surveilling Seattle’s public spaces,” Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said, reports Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “As a sanctuary city, we should not be filming our general population and we certainly should not be sending that data to law enforcement agencies now being run by the Trump administration.”

The comments come after a U.S. District Court judge ruled last week that the city has no authority to release information about the cameras through public records requests.

Sewant is backing a proposal to require a warrant or council approval to erect cameras on the city’s utility poles.

Seattle Debates Removing FBI Cameras Under President Trump’s Administration

Seattle surveillance cameras, via Seattle City Council.

Seattle surveillance cameras, via Seattle City Council.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Seattle is considering removing federal surveillance cameras around the city to avoid potential misuse under President Trump’s administration.

The Seattle City Council plans to call for the removal of the cameras, which have been operating since at least 2015, Seattle Weekly reports. 

Leading the move is Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

“It is totally unacceptable for the City of Seattle to be complicit in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies surveilling Seattle’s public spaces,” Sawant said in a press release. “As a sanctuary city we should not be filming our general population, and we certainly should not be sending that data to law enforcement agencies now being run by the Trump administration.”

Among her concerns is “normalizing a Big Brother mentality.”

FBI’s New Surveillance Powers Raise Questions about Civil Liberties

Data securityBy Editorial Board
Orange County Register

The FBI quietly acquired sweeping surveillance powers, beginning Dec. 1, it had sought for years, and the change came without a single congressional hearing or vote.

Under a change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the FBI will now be able to obtain a single warrant from a magistrate that allows it to hack thousands – or perhaps millions – of computers across the country, or even outside it, in certain circumstances.

It would apply when technology like Tor or VPNs (virtual private networks) are used to hide the location of users, or when a computer is swept up in a “botnet,” a network of private computers infected by malware and controlled without the users’ knowledge, such as by an email spammer. “In these circumstances, law enforcement could remotely access, search, seize or copy data on computers, no matter where the computers were located and without providing notice to the users being searched,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation cautioned.

Previously, magistrates could only issue warrants for searches within their districts. Thus, the rule change raises fears about “forum shopping,” under which the FBI could seek warrants from magistrates known to hand out warrants with little scrutiny, even if no devices to be searched reside in their districts. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who led a bipartisan group of senators attempting to block the rule change the day before it went into effect, but was rebuffed by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called it “one of the biggest mistakes in surveillance policy in years and years.” Wyden contended that government hacking attempts could inadvertently damage personal computers and cellphones, hospital systems or even the power grid. “(I)nnocent Americans could be victimized twice – once by their hackers and a second time by their government,” he said on the floor of the Senate. “This rule change will give the government unprecedented authority to hack into Americans’ personal phones, computers and other devices.” Wyden was joined on the floor by Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana. “This proposed solution essentially gives the government a blank check to infringe upon our civil liberties,” Daines asserted. “Our civil liberties and our Fourth Amendment can be chipped away little by little until we barely recognize them anymore. We simply can’t give unlimited power for unlimited hacking which puts Americans’ civil liberties at risk.”

The rule change also illustrates an astonishing lack of oversight.

To read more click here.

FBI to Gain Authority to Hack Millions of Computers After Senate Failed to Stop Changes

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is about to get the authority to hack millions of computers under President-elect Donald Trump.

That’s because lawmakers at midnight failed to stop changes to the federal code of criminal procedure, Huffington Post reports. 

Starting Thursday, the changes allow a Department of Justice official to get a warrant that lets the FBI hack numerous devices by asserting that a single computer crime may involve million of networked devices.

Opponents of the changes said there’s no assurance from law enforcement officials that people’s privacy won’t be violated.

“At midnight tonight, this Senate will make one of the biggest mistakes in surveillance policy in years and years,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who tried with a Republican and Democratic senator to delay or rein in the new FBI powers. “Without a single congressional hearing, without a shred of meaningful public input, without any opportunity for senators to ask their questions in a public forum, one judge with one warrant would be able to authorize the hacking of thousands, possibly millions of devices, cell phones and tablets.”